gunpoint 04 Jun

Stealth fans, rejoice! There is another “must have” stealth game to add to your list.

This one, however, is not your standard shadow skulker. This is more of a wall climbing, window crashing, light switch rewiring, face puncher.

Gunpoint is the debut indie game from Tom Francis, where you play as Richard Conway, a freelance spy, and bring down crime and corruption by breaking and entering into highly classified areas, hack into computers, and steal away into the night.

You’re equipped with a special pair of frogpants that enable you to leap great distances and fall from any height without taking any damage. If you’re moving fast enough, you can break through windows, catch unsuspecting guards and knock them out, or send them falling to their demise. You can also climb any wall or ceiling, making you a veritable webless Spider-man.

But Gunpoint isn’t just about staying out of sight. It’s about gaining access, and solving Rube Goldberg-esque security puzzles. By using a wire jacker you can redirect the flow of electricity from one object to the next, as long as they stay within the same-colored circuit. A red light switch on one floor, can open doors or call elevators on a completely different floor which may, in turn, give you access to manipulate blue, yellow, or green colored circuits. But the answer isn’t always that simple. You may have to intentionally set off alarms to alert guards, to have them flick a switch that may open a door that you otherwise couldn’t access. It’s a brilliant puzzle system and easily one of the high points of the game.

Successful missions are graded and given cash based on difficulty and performance. Before the start of each mission, Conway can upgrade his jumping skills, or buy new equipment meant to make his sneaking and face punching a little easier.

There is a short branching story to be found within Gunpoint with plenty of twists and turns and clever dialogue to keep most readers entertained. If not, the game doesn’t punish you for skipping the text, and in fact, at several points, makes a few witty jokes about forgetting the storyline and only playing the game for the monetary reward.

Once you complete the game, which, sadly, will only take a few hours, you can try to complete previous missions with better times with quieter execution, and alerting or killing fewer guards. And if that doesn’t get your furtive black heart pumping, then you can tinker with the game’s intuitive and inclusive level editor so you can create devious stealth puzzles for the world to enjoy.

The pixel art design of Gunpoint is desktop background-worthy, and the jazzy soundtrack accentuates the trenchcoat and fedora-wearing gumshoe noir motif perfectly.

Gunpoint absolutely nails almost everything in its execution. Fantastic concept. Wonderful puzzles. Charming pixel art. Clever writing. Great music. Intuitive controls. We only wish it could have been a little bit longer, but with any luck, the market will be flooded soon enough with community-created levels. For its price at $9, you can get it DRM-free directly from the developer’s site. And if you’re uncertain if this type of game is for you, there is a demo available.

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Title: Gunpoint
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Developer: Tom Francis
Publisher: Tom Francis
Release Date: June 03, 2013
Price: $8.99
Rating: 5 out of 5 “Worth Buying / Worth Trying”