One of the more intriguing games I had a chance to pick up and play this weekend at PAX East was by small developer Trapdoor. It’s called Warp, and just casually walking by the kiosk, one might get the impression that Warp is just another game trying to capitalize on the draw of a cute character solving puzzles, but you’d be very wrong.
Warp is sort of an action/puzzler that plays out form a top-down third-person view. The short demo available at PAX started with our small alien character being held deep inside a lab… presumably the lab that gave him the ability to warp through walls and into small objects. The warping ability is clearly the focus on gameplay and the short demo showed some creative uses for it. Our main character moves through the lab by warping through walls and doors. A small reticule is placed on the ground showing where we will warp, allowing for some precisions rather than just relying on players to make the judgment on whether or not they are facing the correct direction. Warp also allows players to target and warp into objects that are roughly the same size as our protagonist. Once inside the object, shaking the left thumbstick back and forth caused it too explode. Targeting objects wasn’t perfect and there was no way to lock-on to targets, but the developer assured that tweaking and adjusting of the targeting was still going on. Even now it wasn’t much of an issue, so I would think that with a little work it should turn out very well.
After the demo quickly taught the mechanics of Warp, we were sent off to find our way out of the lab by avoiding lab workers and armed guards. The demo did a great job of showing interesting ways of dispatching your captors, and it’s also where Warp sheds its cutesy persona. When we first encounter a doctor in the lab we were able to warp into him, do some thumbstick wagglin’ and watch him explode into a bloody mess. Limbs flew everywhere and blood stained any nearby lab equipment. It was an odd twist. Later we were able to jump into a small electrical box and electrocute two nearby guards. Then, just because I felt like it, I was able to warp into their lifeless bodies and explode those. The developer couldn’t help but chuckle as he watched me do this. There was another room which I could move entirely through without killing anybody. Once inside an object players can then target and warp into any other object within range, including guards. If enemies notice one of their buddies being killed by our character they’ll open fire on the possessed target, so stealth definitely has its place here.
Warp was certainly one of the more interesting titles I saw at PAX East. It will be a downloadable game, and I’ve done nothing to veil my love of these types of smaller titles. So I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this one. Warp will be available for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.