[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Trapdoor” publishers=”Electronic Arts” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”February 15, 2012″]
Warp is the first title to be released in Microsoft’s 2012 House Party event. Developed by Trapdoor Inc and published by EA Partners, Warp is described as a Sci-Fi Stealth-Action title. A better description would that it is one part Metroid-vania, two parts Metal Gear Solid, one part ‘Spolsion Man, and one part Portal. Trapdoor has definitely mixed together gameplay elements much in the fashion of a Long Island Iced Tea. As any 20 something that is a connoisseur of Applebee’s and California Dreamings can tell you…there are good Long Islands and bad Long Islands. With the outstanding pedigree of gaming influences, has Trapdoor delivered us a game made from top shelf goods or are have they gone the route of the drunken bum and mixed together a drink with the mostly empties in a dumpster?
Warp has the player portraying Zero, a transparent orangish alien that has been abducted by evil humans and trapped in an underwater research facility. The title comes from Zero’s main ability of being able to warp into items and people. The game revolves around Zero trying to escape using his unique abilities such as warping, fragging, echoing, swapping, & launching. Warp is actually rated M for Mature. It is safe to say that this has more to do to exploding people and a bit of foul language and less to do with the cute humorous puzzler side of the game.
The game’s world is viewed from a top down perspective as Zero puzzles his way to escape similar to 2d side scrolling ‘Splosion man. The map structure is very reminiscent of Metroid and Castlevania games where places are locked until you get a certain upgrade or power. The game tries to pressure the player to using a stealth approach when dealing with humans but it’s more fun to warp into them and do what the game calls frag which is essentially shaking the left stick until the item Zero is in blows up. The perspective and this ability to run and gun or go stealth feels like the early Metal Gear Solids. Beyond warping and fragging, another big ability is to echo yourself. Echoing essentially creates a decoy that can distract or lure enemies. Swapping is an ability that will allow you to swap places with an object rather than just teleport into it. Launch is another warp add-on ability that allows you to send what you are warped into flying at a wall or enemy or whatever else may be in front of you. These skills allow you to fight the enemy and solve puzzles.
The puzzles start off easy and progressively get harder and some require the line of thinking used in Portal. An early example of a puzzle has a testing area showing the results of lasers on various barrels and the next section has you having to warp into the appropriate barrel to survive a conveyor belt route covered in lasers. Achievements tend to have obscure descriptions but most appear to be for collectibles and progression. Collectibles consist of grubs, which are used as a currency to upgrade Zero’s abilities. Destroying photo canisters is a strike back against the bad guys. There are also challenges to be mastered (bronze,silver, and gold ratings) based on Zero’s abilities.
The controls are simple. Left stick moves the character and the A button warps them towards the location the stick is pointing. Other controls come into play as abilities are gained, but they are no more complicated. Graphically the game looks good for an arcade title and is on par with recent titles over the past couple years. It has a cartoony 3D feel to it reminiscent of The Maw. The audio was satisfactory and nothing really stood out. Sounds Effects, music, and voice acting are all in the right places. Unfortunately the big downside is that by the time you really get into the game it is over after a few hours.
It is obvious that Warp has been influenced by some big hits, but it does keep it’s uniqueness by the way it mixes those influences together into a smooth single experience.. It is a solid game with plenty of content to keep you busy for a few hours.