Friday, May 11, 2012

Review: Warp (PS3)

Adorable and he makes people explode? Sold.
EA's Warp is a pretty unique game. One part puzzler, one part stealth adventure, and one part action- and all tied together with a really nice (somewhat old school) coat of paint.

Things start off with an alien abduction- but it's one that has an interesting twist. Kinda like in Super 8, Warp's abduction is human on, well, little orange guy. And he's got one goal- to make his way through an underwater military research facility to freedom. But things are not as easy as it might sound.

See the alien in Warp isn't loaded for bear with guns, doesn't wield a plasma sword of any kind, and lacks any sort of claws and/or teeth. So what to do? Well, he can warp. Yes the title of the game is also the main means of evasion and attack that you have at your disposal. Pretty much the only means actually.

Warping can zip you past armed guards, through walls, and into objects... or people. While warping into an object can make you as unnoticeable as hiding in an oddly placed cardboard box, warping into humans can dizzy them- or blow them up in a shower of blood and gore. Yes, really.

It's almost an odd juxtaposition for the game since it's not really all that bloody of a title. I mean we're not talking about Splatterhouse here. I have to admit though, it's extremely fun to blow up some of the belligerent guards instead of sneaking past them. And that's not that you have to by the way- it's entirely possible to play through Warp's campaign without firing a single shot, so to speak, though I imagine it'd be a whole lot more difficult.
You can use a double to make people shoot each other- fun!
That's mainly because Warp is no pushover. It's not mind-numbing hard, but it will definitely get the old noggin cranking. Although there are definite moments of action throughout, most of the game is a puzzle-type affair. Solving how to get from room to room and floor to floor without getting shot and killed (and you only have one hit-point by the way) can be quite challenging, not to mention fun.

Adding to that fun are the graphics because Warp is no slouch in the looks department either. While it may not be stunning, the game takes a more tried and true three-quarter view approach to it's maps and it works really well. Although there is the occasional camera tomfoolery, I really liked the isometric viewpoint and was reminded of a Portal infused Zelda on numerous occasions. I say Portal since the game is set in a medical research facility and therefor is mostly sterile looking, much like the white/grey/black palate featured in the Valve classic.
Prepare to get creative


Controls are simple as can be too and that's a very good thing. Movement around the base is fluid and the mechanics of warping into your chosen object or past a guard are as easy as a button press or two. Once warped into something, you eventually have the option to blast said object across the room... or make it 'splode. Needless to say, there are a lot of things you can do with that, and there are a lot of very cool things going on in Warp.

I also liked a good deal of the sounds in the game. The diminutive star of Warp has a series of chortles and chirps that he both mumbles to himself and another alien prisoner who serves as psychic guide through the facility. The best way to describe it I can come up with is like an Ewok meets a Mogwai (from Gremlins). It's cute but never really got on my nerves like I assumed it might (so maybe the Ewok reference isn't that great). The guards and other humans are similarly well voiced and are decidedly cartoon quality evil.

Make it past 'em or make 'em go splat? Up to you.
There's much to like about this game and, if you haven't figured it out by now, I enjoyed the heck out of it. It just does so many things right that it's easy to forget the (very) few things that it does wrong. It is a little on the short side and some of the levels are not the greatest in their design, but it's a fun ride while it lasts and blowing up baddies never never gets old.

- Jason M




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