Warp

Overview

Teleporting seems to be a very uncommon power within video games, and when it is done, it is never done to a particularly high standard. Warp puts you in the shoes of a little alien that has crash landed on earth and has been captured by some shady government agencyfor experimentation. The game revolves around the uses of teleportation and trying to escape from captivity, whilst getting bloody, bloody revenge on the way.

Gameplay

Warp is a puzzle game at heart but offers little challenge, for the most part. To begin with you have one power: teleportation. You can teleport through walls into objects and then jump between other objects. While inside of things you have the chance to expand them causing them to explode stunning any enemies nearby. This is more fun when you do this inside a human body as the results offer a good helping of gore with large blood splatters over the walls and body parts flying around the room. As you progress you acquire more and more variants on your original teleportation, best of which allows you to swap objects physical locations with others and even putting one inside another causing the one on the outside to expand and explode. Again this is hilarious when humans are involved.

Warp XBLA Screenshot
Warp XBLA Screenshot

Though while these base elements are good in themselves, the part where you actually play isn’t quite so hot. AI occasionally doesn’t spot or respond to you when standing right in front of them and getting stuck on objects causes frustrating deaths. Many times did I complete a puzzle accidentally when I teleported into and then out of something, which would in turn place me on top of scenery that allowed me to progress when I shouldn’t have. Being stuck on objects also becomes a problem when fighting the games bosses, which in themselves are difficult and frustrating, as the games one hit kill becomes quite a bother when you can’t move. Most of the game comes down to trial and error, which you would expect out of a puzzler, but when you are being artificially hampered the games fun levels drop.

Warp XBLA Screenshot
Warp XBLA Screenshot

There are a lot of collectables in Warp, which gives you a good reason to come back and play through the game again, even with the fun puzzles. Challenge rooms also bolster the playtime slightly, offering you more collectables for your troubles. Upgrades come from finding them and while they aren’t necessary, they definitely make things easier, especially the ones that make you quieter allowing you to slip passed unheard when usually enemies would turn around and shoot you instantly.

Graphics

A cartoony protagonist contrasts the sometimes dark and gritty environments of the late game, but early on he fits in really well. Low screen resolution, poor anti-aliasing and texture resolution bring down the overall presentation slightly, but the game runs at a steady frame rate until the end of the second to last chapter, where I experienced frequent and debilitating drops that made the game near unplayable. However by the start of the next the frame rate had smoothed out and was easily playable again. The voice acting was also enjoyable (even though all the scientists are voiced by one person and the same with the guards) and often brought a chuckle. The bosses dialogue however caught a nerve quite often and made me want to kill him more. Lastly, the soundtrack was rather forgettable, as well as rarely audible which was disappointing. Most of this could be excused due to it being an Xbox Live Arcade game, but comparing it it to some of the more recent games released on the downloadable platform, it seems odd that more couldn’t have been gotten out the of the audio and visual presentation.

Warp XBLA Screenshot
Warp XBLA Screenshot

Fun Factor

Other than the boss battles, Warp is a really fun game, while it lasts, as it can be completed in a single play session or two at a push. This could be seen as good, as it is a rather addictive game that keeps you engrossed in its world, but it is also very short, which is a shame to say the least. Coupled with the games rather low difficulty level, as most challenges can be completed very quickly and only a small few asking more then 5 minutes of your time to think it through, the games length really does come into question.

Warp XBLA Screenshot
Warp XBLA Screenshot

Overall

Despite its length, occasional frustrating parts, less than stellar visual quality and odd gameplay anomalies, Warp is an enjoyable romp that will keep you playing until its conclusion. If you are looking for a new portal, this isn’t it, but if you are looking for an interesting puzzler that doesn’t overstay its welcome then you’ll enjoy warp, even if 800msp is a little steep for how long it lasts.