This week I have punched a man’s head into mush, got told to “grow a dick and go fuck myself” and pushed someone out of a window.
After, somewhat accidentally, playing two walking simulators in a row. I decided to choose a game that, as far as I know, is all about gameplay: Gunpoint. Which, it turns out is a 2D stealth game
that revolves around hacking, sneaking, punching and jumping through windows. You are tasked by people of questionable morality to sneak into buildings that are crawling with guards, steal/hack stuff and get out.
The graphics are basic, but clean. There isn’t a lot of detail in the models or the background. But the main protagonist has a lot of character as he flies through the air, punches people and climbs up walls. He always looks so stoic and serious despite the ridiculous things you can do. It is rather humorous. There isn’t much story, at least none that is particularly interesting outside of a couple of pastiches of hard-boiled detective films. But it has some neat writing which can be rather funny (and very liberal with the swear words, which I appreciate). It is ultimately just an excuse to go from level to level.
The hacking that you do mid-mission is where the game gets really cool. The basic idea is that you can connect switches – and later on, guard’s guns – to objects of the same colour. The object will then react when you press that switch. It is easy to grasp but can be rather difficult to master when you try to combine several objects to react at once whilst juggling other switches and objects of different colours. For instance, you can wire a camera – disconnecting it from an alarm – to a door instead so whenever it detects you the door opens. Or you could connect it to the
door, the lights and a trap door over the other side of the level so when it sees you, the lights go out, the door opens as does the trap door, causing a guard to fall to his death. Great fun. At no point did I feel that the game was unfair as every mistake was my own.
The actual stealth in this stealth game is almost non-existent, which is certainly not a criticism. When you are seen, you are pretty much dead as they shoot you almost instantly. What stops this from being annoying is the small levels and, crucially, the very generous auto-saving. When you die, a box pops up with a list of auto-saves that were made seconds before you died and you can choose how far back you want to go. It eases the difficult until Gunpoint is almost trivial.
And that is it. There isn’t much more to say about Gunpoint. It is game that is filled with charm and is thoroughly enjoyable to play. Plus, thanks to Steam Workshop, you can easily make and upload you own levels or download other people’s creations. This keeps the game feeling fresh long after you have finished it.
Next up: Max Payne 3