Now You See Me, Now You Don’t! – Warp Review
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360 console.
What do you get when you mix a small orange alien, teleportation, and an underwater science facility? Answer: the latest game from Trapdoor, entitled Warp. This fun little puzzle game is the first title from this year’s Xbox Live Arcade Block Party, and what a beautiful start it is.
Players take control of the alien, Zero. This cute little fellow has been captured by scientists from the planet Earth, and is now being experimented on. However, our tiny hero has something the humans weren’t counting on: the ability to teleport. Using this ability early on, Zero (with your help) manages to escape confinement. He is then contacted by another alien who, through telepathy, aids him in his quest to get out of the facility.
To be honest there isn’t much story to be found here, aside from the simple “go here, grab this, now go there.” The reason for the apparent lack of story seems to be an attempt to focus on the entertaining gameplay. In Warp, players will use Zero’s teleportation skills to navigate the science labs and solve various puzzles. These brain teasers can get fairly complex, forcing players to think outside the box to avoid seeing the “loading checkpoint” screen again and again. At first, players may only use the Warp ability, but eventually you learn the powers of Echo, Swap, and Launch, to help Zero evade dissection.
Zero’s most basic power, Warp, allows him to teleport a short distance in the direction of choice, passing through any thin object in the way. That’s not all it can do, however; it can also be used to warp inside of certain objects, and even people. Teleporting into things like barrels can help Zero hide from enemies, and if players chose to move around rapidly while inside a set piece, Zero will supercharge it, causing an explosion that stuns anything within range. If he happens to be inside a person, they will detonate in a violent, bloody mess. Perfect for the gore hounds!
The Echo power creates a spectral copy of Zero that can be used to distract enemies or make them to fire on other foes or objects. When coupled with the Swap ability, players can use this ghost of Zero to swap places with an object or person. While inside of something, the Launch ability can be used to shoot said item like a cannon. Each of these skills has a time and a place, and using them together and in creative ways will be key to your success. Overall, gameplay in Warp is stellar and contains incredible amounts of fun.
Warp also features a few RPG elements: along the way, you may run into small, bumpy, purple creatures called Grubs. These are tasty treats for aliens, and can be collected and used to upgrade Zero in various ways, such as making his steps silent or allowing his powers to recharge more quickly.
Need more Grubs? Players will find several challenge rooms around the facility that will yield an extra snack or two upon completion. These events give Zero tasks such as warping to the exit or killing all humans as fast as possible. While there is no time limit, beating certain scores will give better rewards. Doing so can be very difficult, so only those who are up to the challenge need apply.
Visually, Warp is quite soft on the eyes. The title’s graphics are strong for an arcade game, with solid animation and pop-free textures. Each character and object has been well-crafted, and is very smooth around the edges. While roaming the facility, players are also treated to interesting layouts and rooms, with impressive underwater tubes that function as elevators. Zero, himself, is an interesting little creature, and his bright orange and black colours add a vibrant contrast to the sterile white of the labs.
From an audio perspective, Warp has some ups and downs. On the plus side, power sound effects make very unique and strange noises, giving the game some out-of-this-world qualities, and the sound of a human exploding is a squishy crash that’s sure to bring a smile to certain players’ faces.
On the downside, scientists and soldiers have about two voice actors between them, meaning that players will be hearing the same person every time they run into a character. This wouldn’t be so bad if the scientists themselves weren’t slightly annoying; hearing them around every other corner quickly becomes tiring, even if they do deliver a funny line occasionally. Warp’s soundtrack is also a bit on the average side and is fairly unmemorable, often being absent from most puzzle areas.
Of course, due to Warp’s puzzle nature, I found this to be a good opportunity to create my own soundtrack, streaming music from either my PC or Zune. This helped me concentrate and took the edge off harder puzzles that I found myself constantly reattempting.
Upon escape, Warp is a title that is sure to appeal to puzzle fans, both casual and hardcore. Such a fun little puzzle game is a perfect start to the XBL Arcade Block Party, and is a great addition to any gamer library. Warp is available now on the Xbox 360 (800 MSP), and will be available for PSN and PC on March 13 for around $10. If you’re a fan of games like Portal or The Maw, then this is a game you need to pick up!
Final Score: 4.25 / 5.0 and a teleporting alien… Hey, where’d he go?!
About This Post