Held at Gunpoint

There’s a lovely new game that came out very recently.  It’s called Gunpoint.  Perhaps you may have heard of it…

Gunpoint offers a breaking and entering puzzle game with an emphasis on rewiring and manipulating the systems of your targets, all accompanied by the chill lounge music that plays in your most noir dreams, filled with bass and sax and meandering piano over gentle snares.  Every so often you’ll get a little bit of xylophone (and an occasional hit of synth or guitar).  Seriously, the music is simply delightful.  If you like quiet noir lounge music, you should go and listen to that, regardless of your interest in the rest of the game.

The game offers a great deal of enjoyment, though it is rather brief at the moment.  Hopefully the easy availability of a level editor will solve that issue.  Besides which, calling the game short hardly does it justice.  I called the music noir, but the plot of this game would fit in the best Humphrey Bogart movie, if Humphrey Bogart had a trenchcoat that would let him fall from any height, trousers that would launch him up the sides of buildings, and the wherewithal to infiltrate secure buildings, rewire their electrical systems, and hack their computers.  You can play it as Sam Spade as you like.

I’d love to tell you about the story that this game builds, and the seamless way that it develops from the very first mission, but thinking back on my own joy of discovery I realize that I don’t want to ruin it for you.  Suffice to say that the tale which develops is convoluted and fascinating, with enough interaction to keep you hooked in.  The writing is exceptionally witty as well, and I actually laughed out loud several times while reading the delightful repartee.  You’re given the opportunity to be as serious or flippant as you desire, a smart mouthed spy-for-hire blazing your way through webs of intrigue.  Or you can play it cool and collected, as you see fit.  I haven’t gone back and replayed the whole game yet, so I’m not sure just how much might change based on what I say in my conversations with my clients, but I’m certain that there are at least a few levels which I’ll uncover if I take a different path.

This game’s interface and presentation are incredibly slick and extremely well put together, and I wish more games were built like Gunpoint.  If you don’t want to pay attention to anything but the gameplay, you don’t have to.  You can skip through anything you don’t want to read.  If you’ve bought some piece of equipment, odds are you can return it.  Or even try it before you buy.  And if a poor choice in a mission has lead to your demise, there’s a bevy of reload options available which allow you to avoid having to replay the entire level.  I suffered a little with that reload mechanic actually, because I’d gotten used to Hotline Miami’s reflexive tapping of ‘R’ (which in Gunpoint restarts the whole level rather than taking you back a few seconds), but that’s my own fault.  This does make the game a bit easy at times, since you’ll be able to retry without penalty and perhaps even abort the mission and reequip yourself with more appropriate gear, but the game is just too damn satisfying for me to really care much about that.

I’d still love to see more challenges which require a more complex application of my various freshly-bought nifty gadgets, but the truth is that Gunpoint already stands out from the crowd in my mind.  I’ll just have to wait for more levels, or make my own.

I think you should go try this game out.  And you really haven’t much excuse, since you can play a free demo (either from the Gunpoint site or through Steam).

Drop some thoughts here, especially if you have your own opinions on this game!

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