Warp revolves around a fun idea, the kind of idea you could image being born over beer and pizza.
Gamer Designer 1: “So, what if there was an alien and he was captured by these asshole” scientists?”
Gamer Designer 2: “Yeah! And he can, like, warp places, and solve puzzles and stuff!”
Gamer Designer 3: “Wait! What if he could, like, warp into someone?”
All: “…and make them explode! AWESOME!”
Warp sees you star as a little alien creature named Zero. After being captured and experimented on in an underwater facility, you manage to escape your immediate confines and run amok. You then sneak your way through a series of rooms and corridors. You achieve this primarily by using your ‘warp’ ability, which allows you to teleport past doors and walls or even into objects to hide.
One thing you discover early on is your ability to warp inside a person (or object) and “frag” them. Wiggling the control stick vibrates your target until it explodes. It’s a little shocking the first time a person swells, bursts and paints the immediate area with blood and limbs. As the game progresses, you unlock other cool powers which allow you to project your image, trade places with people or objects and eventually teleport into items and fire them off in a direction of your choosing.
You can improve your skills by finding purple slugs, which can be spent at upgrade stations. Bonuses for sale include improved running speed, faster warp recovery, and the ability to have slugs show up on your map. Eventually you gain additional talents that can be combined with existing ones to solve new problems or retry challenges you may have been forced to skip.
Navigating the environment is straightforward, with your next objective clearly indicated on your map. The base has multiple levels and you need to revisit some locations either as part of the plot or to use newfound abilities to access previously unassailable areas. You can’t jump, but that doesn’t stop you from traversing platforms, conveyors and gantries.
The controls for Warp are simple and generally easy to use. It can get a bit tricky when you need to use several of your abilities in quick succession. If you have butterfingers like I do, you may get frustrated with some sequences, but a little perseverance will see you through. In certain cases aiming in a particular direction (to warp or launch an object) can take some fiddling.
You encounter several boss fights. These are fun but difficult trials that force you to use the tricks you’ve learned up to that point. Even if you die many times, you are never harshly punished. You can simply try the fight again from the start.
In addition to the core gameplay, you can tackle several tough challenge worlds that test your abilities to the limit as you try to complete them within designated time frames. Here you can earn trophies (bronze, silver and gold) and additional slugs. If you’re able to score higher than a bronze (which is what you get for completing a challenge in any amount of time) you can go ahead consider yourself a better Warp player than me.
The game has a wonderful cartoony look to it. The graphics are crisp and clean and the base looks exactly like you may imagine an undersea science facility would look. Some areas are white and sterilized, while others are gritty and industrial and still others are run down or abandoned. Zero could have come right out of a children’s cartoon, with his rounded body and spindly legs. The game features some decent lighting and water effects too. The sound, with its gibberish dialogue and occasional singing from the guards, also adds to the atmosphere.
Warp is a great little downloadable title. It’s fun and challenging and its cute environments are lovely to look at. It does a fine job of mixing puzzle elements with stealth and frantic warp action. Even if you don’t have a penchant for blood and teleportation (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) this one is well worth a look.