Most games usually have a clearly defined good verses evil theme, and over the many years of releases, the vast majority of the time, humans traditionally fall on the good side, and aliens usually tend to be bad. However, the Trapdoor developed Warp flips the standard convention around and puts players in control of an adorable alien trying to escape a mysterious test facility run by devious humans. One look at the game's star, Zero, and it's easy to see who was crafted as the adorable "good guy" and why the heavily armed guards and test-conducting scientists are the "bad guys."
Warp plays out as a top-down action/puzzle game with elements of stealth mixed in for good measure. Zero is tasked with working his way through the maze-like laboratory and escaping with his life. From the start he is equipped with the ability to warp through doors and walls, and into objects such as canisters and humans, which helps him allude and destroy his captors. Along the way he is guided by the telepathic voice of another alien trapped inside the compounds that guides Zero on his journey, ultimately hoping that both can be saved in the end. Along the way our lovable alien expands his feature set beyond just warping by finding other alien abilities throughout the facility and adding them to his arsenal of skills.
Well Designed, Cross-Genre Fun
Not too deep below the surface of Warp is a fundamentally sound, and enjoyable stealth/action/puzzle game, the likes of which you probably haven't seen in a long time. Trapdoor has done a great job of blending those three genres together and creating a game that doesn't suffer from trying to spread itself too thin. Figuring out how to escape the complex without getting shot is genuinely fun, mostly because getting from point A to point B is never as easy as it looks, but it's also never so challenging that you can't figure it out. Ultimately, the gameplay is well balanced, making it an experience that should appeal to fans of any of those genres.
A Solid Pace
The other abilities that Zero can absorb throughout his escape add immensely to the game, allowing him to access new areas and solve tricky puzzles on his way to the exit. Every ability builds on the last, and they are expertly spaced throughout the game allowing for enough time to master each ability before acquiring the next. In addition to that, Zero can expand his skill set by seeking out grubs that allow him to upgrade his abilities, making his trek just a little bit easier. There are even challenge chambers peppered throughout the building that let you test your skills, and allow you to unlock even more grubs.
The Bells and Whistles
Trapdoor did a great job of crafting a really entertaining downloadable game, but it's the downloadable part that holds it back a bit. The in-game action is crisp, but the cutscenes remind you why lip-syncing is so important, because none of Warp's characters have it. Also, as you play the levels, you pick up on some chatter from the scientists and the military, but it's really just one guy doing all of the voices, save for the bosses'. It's not a huge thing, but it's a level of polish that keeps the game from being truly great.
Warp isn't the first game where you play a character to wake up confused in a laboratory, but it may be one of the best. The gameplay is addictive, the story and characters are amusing, and in the end it's just a fun game. While it may not have the special touches of larger scale releases, it's still a solid game to spend a few evenings with, if for no other reason than making defenseless scientists explode from the inside out is a key gameplay mechanic, and that never gets old.