Gaming Week 51: Gunpoint (PC)

Gaming Week 51: Gunpoint (PC)
Giving you the freedom to take on most missions how you’d like is a core strength of Gunpoint, allowing you a sense of strategy in an otherwise typical platforming game.

I’ve had Gunpoint on my radar for a while now, learning about it whilst it was still in development, and going so far as to show my friends and family what little footage I had found as I thought it was a genius concept. After finally getting it around my Birthday a month ago, I jumped in without hesitation, eager to immerse myself in this sublime and wonderful creation.

Gunpoint is a 2D platformer with strategy mechanics, which sounds like a weird combination until you see how flawlessly they’re pulled off. You play as Richard Conway, a private eye investigator who is forced into his line of work after purchasing some Bullfrog trousers which malfunction and put him at the scene of a crime. Through clearing his name, Conway is lead deeper and deeper into a rabbit hole, one in which innocent bystanders request Conways assistance to clear their name, whilst others use conway to set these assassinations up. It’s a lovely convoluted story that’ll keep you hooked until the end (unless you don’t enjoy reading).

The screenshot above is the games cross link view, which allows Conway to set up traps and rewire entire buildings. It’s this unique element which makes Gunpoint special, allowing a player to go about getting to the objective however they please, from elaborate traps that require a lot of rewiring, to going in guns blazing, the choice is yours.

Each level of Gunpoint consists of a building (or many buildings) that you must infiltrate to get to your end objective. This can be done as you’d like, with the use of different gadgets you purchase throughout the duration of the campaign. The most useful gadget by far is the Crosslink, a gadget that allows you to see all the wired components in the building, and rewire them to suit your needs. This brings about a new layer of gameplay, one in which you have to think your way through a level instead of jumping on every enemy and punching them to a pulp (as fun as this may be). You can wire light switches to trigger an electrical outlet, meaning when you switch off a light to another room, the guard that tries to switch it back on will be in for a shock. It’s extremely satisfying when a plan like this pays off, and one that may require some replays in order to find the best approach to getting to your end objective and getting out of there without being spotted.

The story of Gunpoint unfolds through scenes like the one above. You get to choose your responses throughout the whole campaign, meaning there are times where you may see different missions depending on who your snuggle up to.

The campaign is charming and witty, making for an enjoyable 2 hours of your time. It’s short, possible too short, meaning you’ll be yearning for more by the end of it, so you’ll probably want to replay missions you didn’t A+ first time, or even play the campaign all over again with different dialogue options keeping you entertained for hours. The replayability is fantastic, with Gunpoints level editor sure to keep many players entranced and being creative for a long time after the campaign is finished.

Gunpoint’s levels are enjoyable and short, each one giving a new challenge and a new insight into how to use the Crosslink successfully. When you first start using the cross link, levels are made up of simple light switch puzzles to open doors for you to then jump on the guards and take them down, but soon evolve into complex traps that’ll test your wits. Each level has some le-way, so you don’t have to be amazing at timing jumps or crosslinking switches, which is a nice change of pacing in an otherwise familiar setting.

The AI isn’t intelligent, and is there just to add another layer to the puzzles, but are enjoyable cannon fodder for the entertaining take downs you can perform. Knocking enemies out is strangely satisfying, with each click repeating the mesmerising sound of punching a guard whilst he’s down, it’s entrancing, and damn right sadistic. The enemies get stronger as the game goes on, with some minor variances between guards making gameplay a little more challenging, but still easy overall. By the end of the game, you’ll have encountered 3 different enemies: Normal Guards, Heavy Guards, and spy ops guards, all of which have their own abilities, and all have to be taken down differently.

Buildings vary in shape and size, with multiple cross link colours to unlock and different ways to approach the same objective. Your freedom to tackle any problem as you please with the tools provided is one of the most satisfying things about Gunpoint.

The soundtrack of Gunpoint is astounding, produced by Ryan Ike, Francisco Cerda and John Robert Matz, it really helps to bring the game alive with a noire feeling. It’s hard to describe how perfectly these men have nailed noire, so follow the link below to hear a sample of their work:

The pixel art graphics may not be to everyones taste, but the general atheistic of the game holds up, with levels detailed enough to portray real office blocks. One thing that may be worth considering for those of you with high res displays is to lower the resolution the games rendered at. I found playing at 1080p far too small, so had to drop the settings down to 1440×900 to get a more comfortable experience.

So in conclusion, if all I’ve said so far hasn’t convinced you to buy Gunpoint so far, I don’t know what will. It controls beautifully, with every jump, punch and smash feeling satisfying. Its strategy/puzzle mechanics are amazing, allowing you to take on any level time and time again with a ¬†different outcome. The only thing I can possible say against Gunpoint is how short it is, which speaks volumes to how enjoyable the game is and how much more I’d have loved to play.


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