Game Review - Gunpoint on PC

Written by Wolffeman on February 28, 2017 @ 4:31 pm

If you enjoy games such as Deadbolt and Mark of the Ninja where basic stealth mechanics are blended with puzzle ones, you will almost certainly enjoy Gunpoint, an indie game that I picked up on sale last year for £1.50. If you are a fan of games with stealth mechanics that are fleshed out further like Dishonoured and the Deus Ex games, you be tempted to give Gunpoint a miss, but there are still plenty of mechanics despite this that make Gunpoint an overall brilliant game for fans of puzzle and stealth games alike.

It's main mechanic, "crosslinking" means that your character is able to rewire objects by hacking them. This mechanic means that there are several ways to clear missions. For example, if there is a locked door in your way, you could simply rewire the light switch next to you to open the door, or you could be slightly more creative by turning off the lights to bait a guard into pressing the light switch, then rewiring the light switch to the door to open it. This mechanic is very satisfying as most of the time, I found myself finding strategies just by experimenting with the rewiring mechanic. This is also helped by there being no intrusive and mundane tutorial sections. Instead you have the choice to be guided through a short and basic tutorial for a specific item. The rest is left up to you.

-The art style (pixel graphics) are similar to those shown in games like Hyper Light Drifter and Papers Please, and is a very beautiful and minimalistic depiction of a cyberpunk style city.
-The upgrade system, while being very basic is also very rewarding. Without spoiling much, many gadgets that make your missions easier and more satisfying can be purchased. Some examples include the ability to hack plug sockets so you can electrocute guards who walk past them, the ability to jump through windows without making any sound and the ability to hack enemy guns. You would think that with the eventual progression of upgrades, the missions would become easier, but many of your gadgets drain the charge on your battery meter meaning that the strategic use of these gadgets is better than running in and using all of them.
-You can complete most levels with your basic equipment (although some later missions require specific items) although they are much harder this way. This means that specific missions are rarely tied to one specific mechanic and there are many ways to carry out your mission as I mentioned before.
-Although the game can be completed in around 3 hours, I believe that the starting price of the game (around £6.99) is worth it since the game is extremely replayable. I have played through the game twice in the last 6 months and plan to again soon. The missions can be replayed to get a better score in aspects such as the amount of noise you make, if you were seen during your mission or not and whether you killed guards or knocked them out. Furthermore, there is a level editor that functions really well, meaning that after you have played through the main story, you can play and create levels in the Steam Workshop.
-For people who don't really care about this stuff, then ignore this. The soundtrack to Gunpoint is one of my favourites of all time. It is a perfect blend of electro music and jazz and I sometimes listen to it to relax. Because the sound effects in each level are limited, the music is not background music, but rather part of the level itself.
-As for the story, it's not Mass Effect but there are a few choices in dialogue that will change the outcome of the story. Most exchanges are done through text conversations and you have the choice to respond to characters seriously or jokingly, often with fourth-wall breaking lines. Although these exchanges mostly do not affect the story, the dialogue is well written and witty.
-Speaking of funny things, the achievements in this game are actual achievements you have to go out of your way to complete. In the first playthrough of the game, you will likely only get a few, but they are very creative ones. One example of this is if you kick down a door and knocka guard over, you are rewarded with an achievement appropriately called "Open Door Policy".
-The story is simple, yet satisfying. The plot uses many standard spy film tropes but manages to hold up because of the witty protagonist and the interesting cast of characters you are speaking to.

-The autosave feature, where when you die, lets you continue from a choice of three points in your mission, some recently and some a few minutes ago. Becuase there is no icon or autosave animation, you sometimes do not know where you will respawn.
-The atosave feature also sometimes decides to save right when a guard would spot you if you were not paying attention, so when you reload it, you instantly die.
-I encountered probelms in my playthrough where I would clip through walls when I jumped at them, meaning I had to restart the mission again. Although this only happened twice, it was very annoying to have to restart becuase of a glitch I had no control over.
-Becuase the story is presented through text, you have to be paying attention to follow the story. Normally this is fine as you are only reading short messages, but sometimes you are faced with a large chunk of text to read. This meant that the story was more convoluted than I would have hoped.

Overall, Gunpoint does very well at blending puzzle and stealth gameplay into a strategic and methodical game. The writing is hilarious and the pixel art visuals look great. Only a few technical problems and bugs stop this game from being perfect.

Gunpoint gets a 9/10

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Game Information

Suspicious Developments
Suspicious Developments
Platformer, Puzzle, Strategy
NA Release Date
June 3, 2013
MVGL User Score
Ryan Ike, John Robert Matz, Francisco Cerda
Official Website
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