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Warp (PC) artwork

Warp (PC) review


"That second part makes Zero less of something that escaped out of a Cartoon Network special and more of a psychotic killer that will hold no remorse if it will end with him escaping captivity."



It's not easy being an alien in today's world. From days of yore, people were afraid of green and grotesque creatures that could do stuff to them, usually involving placing stuff in their arse. Fear of the unknown was implanted within us through the media, be it from Mulder and Scully that wanted to see if the truth was really out there, or from Will Smith dressed in black who nodded his head in rhythm with a creature that was made out of teeth.

W.A.R.P has the usual premise. In some unnamed area, a team of scientists and soldiers find an alien and bring him to their underground base. Unlike the usual process where aliens experiment on us, here the case is reversed, as scientists like to poke and probe the little fellow to see what makes him go.

That brings us to the protagonist of this title, a cute little alien named Zero who looks more at home in some family friendly cartoon then in a role of a blood thirsty creature out to get us all.

At the beginning, he is released so that his motoric capabilities can be tested which serves as a tutorial ground where you can get acquainted with controlling him. Of course, this would be one very depressive title if all that you could do within it was parade in front of the human scientists. So soon enough, a mysterious object enters Zero's body and changes his colour into orange. Besides that aesthetic change, Zero starts displaying a most unusual ability of short range teleportation, be it through thin walls or into various objects. By objects, it must be stressed out that besides various canisters, barrels and an occasional turret or two, humans also fall in this category.

In case of choosing that option, things can play out two ways. Either you use the human host as an easy obstacle, from which you can teleport immediately, which will end up with said human feeling a bit disoriented for a short amount of time, or you can start vibrating inside of said host which will ultimately lead to an explosion of body parts and gore. That second part makes Zero less of something that escaped out of a Cartoon Network special and more of a psychotic killer that will hold no remorse if it will end with him escaping captivity.

And escape is what the goal of it all is. Over the journey through various areas and floors of the base, Zero will meet all sorts of creatures, most of which are hostile towards the little guy. An exception is the voice that leads Zero, giving him hints and tips that will tell him of the awful experiments done on other aliens and how evil the human race really is.
Of course, Zero will have to do a lot if he wants to escape this place.

Since he is not a super hero, he dies just like everyone else from a single bullet, so his teleportation power will come in handy if he wants even the slightest chance of escaping.

The whole title is made to look like one gigantic puzzle, and each room is unique in it' s own way as it presents a new challenge that Zero needs to pass in order to progress further. For instance, in one area perhaps the easiest solution is just to teleport inside of your enemies, blow them into bloody chunks and continue onward, but sometimes it's not as simple as that because the opponents are anything but harmless. There are two kinds of human enemies, soldiers and scientists. The scientists are not much of a threat on their own since they are deathly afraid of Zero, but they are fast and will sound an alarm that will bring death and carnage soon enough on Zero's trail. Soldiers are much more lethal and come in various combinations, from simple grunts to specialised units that have shield's around them that prevents Zero from teleporting.

To counter that, teleportation is not all that Zero has going for him. As he advances through the facility, he will learn other "tricks". One of them is the ability to create an "echo" of himself that is made out of some odd energy and has a limited area where it can go, but it can pass through walls and other obstacles that prevent Zero's physical body from accessing. The echo can serve to distract enemies away from Zero, and later on he can even learn how to use the echo to take hold of an object, and by pressing a single button the object that was possessed will change places with Zero's physical body, giving him the ability to pass through places that he couldn't before.

The third trick Zero can learn is "launching" an object that he is inside of with great speed. That will help him if he needs to press a button that is too far away from him for instance, but it also has combat uses. One well aimed barrel at your enemies is all that you need to have the same effect that a bowling ball has on bowling pins.

All of his abilities Zero can upgrade at various checkpoints where the game is automatically saved in case you had enough of W.A.R.P for one day, or if Zero perishes. Upgrades are made by spending grubs that are thrown all over the various rooms, and the challenge is usually getting them since they are well hidden. If he manages to do that, Zero can become faster, more silent or warp around with greater effect.

When one first lays his eyes on W.A.R.P, it would be easy to think that it was some odd Portal knock-off because the art style alone is very similar. Once you scratch the surface, however, someone would think that the world was designed by Apple. Locations are very clean, even when covered in gallons of human blood. Everything has it's place and reason to exist.

Trapdoor, the development studio behind the title managed to present everything that was needed with a minimalistic approach that combines action and stealth elements without which you can not really hope to succeed.

Of course, it's not all fun. The A.I is wonky at best since you can usually use the same cheap tricks of getting through enemy obstacles. The audio department is pretty poor as well, and it seems like they didn't really know where it was headed, since the music tries to take some initiative to show the importance of what is happening on screen, but it's done like the rest of the title. Minimalistic, and sometimes it seems, without too much effort.

Still, the greatest complaint is certainly for the owners of the PC version because you can't change the button layout on your keyboard. It's stuck on default, and no matter how stupid you think those default settings are, you can't do anything to change it.

All in all, it can be said that W.A.R.P is an interesting and endearing title that has a few bugs that prevent it from being great. A nice main character that just wants to get out and is not afraid to kill anything in it's path, interesting puzzles that can be completed in various ways and enough action going on when you are tired of using your grey matter.

W.A.R.P is not especially long, so if you enjoy a mix of stealth and action, there is no reason to turn on your Playstation 3, Xbox360 or PC and try out Zero's adventures.

Rating: 8/10

darketernal's avatar
Community review by darketernal (March 27, 2012)

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