Now You See Me…

Warp might be as unusual for a puzzle game as much as our pint-sized, traffic cone colored protagonist is for a hero, but the game’s ability to make you think combined with its unique game play dynamic revolving around teleportation makes this a surefire winner overall.

You play as an unnamed alien who has been the latest in a long line of captures by a covert government organization who dissects and analyzes creatures such as yourself. Unlike those who have come before you though, you have a lot more fight in you than they would realize and after running through a humiliating obstacle course, unleashes your fury on them in ways they could not imagine.

Using your teleportation powers, which you can upgrade over the course of the game by finding “grubs”, a nutritious pink slime that our nameless hero loves, and some ingenuity, you try to work your way through the underwater base and escape to freedom. Some of these upgradeable powers include casting an “echo” or ghost of yourself to draw attention of guards away from particular paths, or launching items like barrels across the room once you have teleported into them. Your main ability though will always be your ability to ‘warp’ through walls, into objects to hide in, or into people to make them explode from the inside out and carve yourself a gory path out of the base.

Each level offers different challenges, usually centering on your expanding repertoire of powers and building on all of them until reaching the climactic final level. This natural progression makes sure that the game does not give you too much too quickly and helps keep the addiction level at a nice even pace as you take on challenge after challenge laid out before you.

The stealth aspect is also a twist thrown into this game that really amps it up though and helps develop a protagonist who never speaks. Your objective after all is to escape this government base and you must work your way past soldiers with guns and automatic robotic turrets whose sole purpose is to put you down. So finding the quiet, efficient way to take them out first is just as much of a challenge as the physics based puzzles you’ll encounter.

There are a few minor flaws with Warp though that hold the game back. The first is the fact that although the game has some very fun and inventive boss battles that will test your abilities like no other moments in the game, there are very few of them and you wish there could be more. Also, even though the base is entirely connected, you really cannot backtrack with upgraded powers to go back and find collectibles you may have missed along the way and completionists may find that aspect irritating.

The worst part of the game though comes in the later levels where all the tight puzzle design through about 90% of the game seems to unravel before your eyes and a randomness that relies more on luck than on skill seems to take hold. This can lead to some frustrating deaths as you must walk a very fine line through trap-laden corridors.

All in all though, Warp can be a lot of fun and if you look at the collectibles as a part of the replay-ability for the campaign and combine that with the nine timed challenge maps with online leaderboards then Warp definitely has enough to offer to be worth your 800 MSP. I think puzzle fans will be pleasantly surprised by the stealth based conundrum solving throughout the game and with its high level of polish should be near the top of their downloadable title lists.

SUMMARY:  This inventive and unique puzzler is so much fun for the price that a few irksome late game flaws can be forgiven.

  • THE GOOD: Inventive blend of puzzle and stealth elements provide unique experience
  • THE BAD: Late game puzzles seem to rely more on luck than skill like some kind of carnival game
  • THE UGLY: Bouncing human body parts after tearing them apart from the inside-out

SCORE: 8.0

Warp is available on Xbox 360 (XBLA), PS3 (PSN), and PC. Primary version reviewed was on Xbox 360.