Bond, 8-bit Bond

Gunpoint-title

Coming off of last weeks review, I decided to give another Humble Bundle 12 game a go, this time with Gunpoint. Made by Suspicious Developments, Gunpoint, is a stealth puzzle game with a murder mystery thrown into the mix. You’re Richard Conway, a freelance spy, espionage expert, and hat fancier. Testing out your new bullfrog trousers you … jump out a window. Talk about jumping right in … Your neighbor, Selena Delgado, sees this, and gives you a call as she has a mission for you. Before you can get to her, another spy kills her and bullfrogs away. You run from the seen of the crime, getting caught on camera in the process [what a spy you are]. Melanie Rooke, Selena’s employer, gives you a call to hire you for a number of missions to get Selena’s killer.

The story is simplistic, but not exactly linear. There are optional missions, and there are choices for you to make [Team Rooke Firearms!]. Even your interactions with other characters is not a set script that you get dragged through. Conway is an extension of yourself, and you can be as serious or as snarky as you want to be, which I absolutely love. If I’m going to be a freelance spy, I’m going to be the sassy one that punches lines instead of people. The writers of Gunpoint also poke some fun at themselves. In one of my favorite dialogue choices during a mission brief, you can reply with, “I kind of lost the plot two missions ago”. However, if you keep track of the plot points you’ll be rewarded with a better picture of this world with competing technology companies, adulterous CEOs, and inexplicably magical fall damage reducing trench coats. You’ll also begin to really hate the antagonist of the game. I’m not going to spoil the ending, but there are eight achievements purely on how you handle the bad guy, so have fun with the bastard. I took a page from the Harrison Ford School of bad guy management … and shot them. It was quite effective…

han-solo-greedo
… and badass. Did we mention badass? Damn we look good.

Despite being 2D, the level design couldn’t be less linear. Within the first few levels, you get familiar with the bullfrog trousers, cross wire system, and wirejack, all instrumental parts of your kit to break into secure facilities to steal and hack. This is where the game becomes about brains and not brawn. Conway is deathly allergic to bullets, and one good shot will down him.  In most levels you can find creative ways use the environment against the variety of guards. Your take down options increase as you progress through the game and buy new upgrades for your kit. Everything from “accidental” electrical shock to hitting them in the face with a door, is at your disposal to get to your objective. Alternatively, you could just straight up murder them, by repeated punching or knocking them out of a two story window. There is a gun upgrade for you murder happy folk, but it’s not as OP as you’d think. Gunpoint takes the realistic approach to gun violence, when you fire one bullet, the police will come in 60 seconds to gun you down. Yeah, unlike everything GTA has taught you, crime pays.

There are so many pathways to your objective, that you will most likely spend the first few minutes of the level planning out your Oceans 11-esque heist, and that’s why I love this game! It’s such a satisfying feeling to plan out every move, and wander into the most secure building in the game and never be noticed. It made me feel like a cross between Batman and Liam Neeson. The power trip was insane, and comparable to if you were to play Dishonored.

Gunpoint-screenshot
Dishonored … with a lot more wiring involved

I don’t think the game would have been as invigorating if it wasn’t for the music and art style. Gunpoint has a very film noir feel to it … well like 8-bit film noir, which is less bits than Watchdogs, but more fun with those bits. There are a lot of browns, grays and blues, and everything feels clean and futuristic, but the music, a very nice jazzy blues, brings it back to the film noir feel. I would love to have a a tour of the full open world of Gunpoint, but bringing it to the 3rd dimension would ruin the flow of game play. All of a sudden your bullfrog leaps miss target, you’ll have to add more guards, and soon you have a cluttered mess instead of a sweet little package. Gunpoint stays on target for what it’s experience is all about, and I appreciate that.

While I do love this game, and have started another play through to get the achievements I missed, it does have the same failure as Gone Home; it’s really short. Don’t get me wrong, like a ferrero rocher, Gunpoint left me wanting more, but without a additional content or a sequel lined up, I only have this one tasty treat and that makes me sad.  I would highly recommend waiting for this game to go on sale to pick it up, purely for that reason, don’t overpay for a single chocolate treat. If you love stealth and puzzles, hell, even chess, you should pick up this game. It’ll get you thinking, and soon you’ll start looking at buildings in your town, wondering, can I break into that?

swat day 2
Oh shit the Police are … nevermind I think we got this

 

2 comments

  1. Note that Gunpoint does allow you to create your own levels and share them with the world! While there won’t be a direct storyline correlation, you at least get the fun puzzle aspect.

    Also, someone is working on the game Ronin right now, which apparently plays very similar to this!

    Like

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