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Gunpoint Review - Futuristic, Puzzle-Platforming Noir

Marshall Lemon | 3 Jun 2013 17:00
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One of the strongest points in Gunpoint's favor is that all options are equally valid, rewarding you with badges that reflect your playstyle, as well as equipment upgrades and in-game currency. You can spend this money on additional items, usually gadgets that increase your stealth capabilities, and replay the levels to try a wildly different approach. It's very satisfying to look back at your badges to see how much of the game you've completed without being seen or heard, and it's effortless to dive back in to grab any badges you'd previously missed.

Gunpoint's story, outside of a few unexpected scripted sequences, largely takes the form of between-mission briefings with Conway's clients. Each briefing is conducted from a distance by secure text messages, while Conway is given various dialogue options to act as responses. These multiple-choice segments create some amusing character interactions, but more importantly, reflect the noir-themed personalities Conway might embody. You can play him as the cool, calculating professional, the slightly bumbling private detective, or the hero with a heart of gold, all within the same story campaign. Then there's the clients themselves, few of which seem to have your best interests at heart. Each character you interact with has some connection to the central plot's murder, so taking on their cases while their motivations are a mystery adds quite a bit of dramatic tension. Conway also has the option of lying to clients about his discoveries, usually if what he finds seems to implicate him in a crime. That's not to say the story sequences are especially deep; your briefings won't directly impact gameplay, except for a single branching path that alters Gunpoint's final mission. Regardless, the tone of the briefings matches the noir aesthetic so well that they're worth reading for at least a playthrough or two, while those who prefer gameplay can skip the story entirely.

When it comes to faults, Gunpoint doesn't have any mechanical ones to speak of. Its controls and mechanics are easy to grasp, the difficulty is well-balanced, and the platforming, stealth, and puzzle elements all fit together nicely. Any key issues one has with the game will probably be ones of subjective taste instead of objective criticism. Conway can be killed in a single shot, but frequent, optional autosaves prevent that from being a burden. The campaign is only three hours long, but that's only a problem when you don't want to stop. (A robust level editor also allows for the possibility of additional, third-party content.) Some advanced equipment mechanics are tricky to grasp at first, but you won't need them all to complete the game, and there are tutorial missions to practice with. Even if you hate puzzles, the game's hardest challenges are reserved for secondary quests, so you can still breeze through the game's platforming elements in an afternoon. Gunpoint provides enough varied gameplay options that fans of all its genres will find something to love, and hopefully gain an appreciation for new mechanics in the process.

Bottom Line: Gunpoint is a short, well-crafted title that combines film noir, stealth, and hacking puzzles into a incredibly fun gaming experience. No one mechanic or playstyle takes precedence over the others, but all are equally balanced and fun to play around with.

Recommendation: If you're a fan of any of the aforementioned genres, this game deserves your immediate attention.

Game: Gunpoint
Genre: Action
Developer: Suspicious Developments
Publisher: Suspicious Developments
Platform(s): PC

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