Tuesday, March 15, 2011

PAX Picks: Warp

Warp might be my favorite game shown at PAX. Though I'd never even heard of it before, it caught my eye on the show floor. Additionally, there was no line at all to play it — unlike Portal 2, LA Noire, and 3DS. The demo could be played through in under five minutes, but it totally demonstrated how the core mechanic of warping works. It also showed off the various uses of the warp, while simultaneously hinting at future uses that would be required in later challenges. To say the game is like "Metal Gear Solid if Snake could warp" would be accurate, although that probably oversimplifies it a bit.

You play as a little orange guy (see screenshot above), an alien that has been locked up in some sort of high-security facility. That small, bright dot in front of him is where he can warp to. There's only one button used in the demo, the warp button. Because you can warp, it is trivial to bypass walls and locked doors. Enemies patrol the area and can kill you almost instantly upon sight. You can avoid them altogether via stealth, or you can teleport into them. While in an enemy, other enemies cannot see you. You also immobilize that enemy while you are inside him, and even for a brief period after you warp out. You can jump from enemy to enemy in order to quickly escape unseen. You can also kill enemies by getting inside them and then shaking the left analog stick.

You are also able to warp into certain objects, generally those about the same size as your character. This includes power generators that supply warp-resistant barriers. When you arrive at such a barrier, you'll need to find the power source, warp into it, and shake the left stick to destroy it. You can even use these explosions to knock out or kill enemies. In fact, the last scene in the demo is a cliffhanger in which enemies are shown surrounding themselves in warp-resistant shields. Luckily, the room is full of power sources to leap between and explode.

I'm a big fan of stealth-based games, so this game seems to be just my style. I love the ability to warp in quick succession through walls, enemies, and obstacles. If the developers are able to extend the uses of the warp throughout the game, it will definitely be a must-have title.

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