This generation, we’ve seen a lot of genres combine to form something new. However, very few copies ever truly take a risk, but this is not the case for WARP. By combining puzzles with stealth, can this weirdly unique title stand out or was it better on paper than in practice? Let’s see what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of WARP.
One of the highlights for Warp, is the simple fact that it’s different. You play the game as “Zero”, a mysterious alien that’s being studied by humans. Obviously you’re not too thrilled with the situation, so you try to escape. Guided by a mysterious figure, you must transverse the building and find your way out.
While it might sound cliché here, it’s actually surprisingly different. To find the exit, you’re going to need to master your warp ability. This ability allows you to quickly transport through thin walls or into objects. As you progress, you will unlock new skills like swap and echo. These tools offer various methods to clear every puzzle. Solutions can range from just being stealthy; to creating an echo (shadow clone) and having enemies shoot each other. Your only limit is just how creatively you play the game.
The story of Zero the alien, is just what his name implies, nothing. WARP tries to expand on the premise, but never moves past the basic concept. Pretty much, you crash land somewhere that speaks English. This place apparently is some sort of alien research lab and is underwater. From here, it’s a straight shot to the end. The story does end; although it offers nothing of value either. While it is understandable why WARP has no actual story, the lack of any explanations might be a turn off.
Believe it or not, WARP is an M rated title. This is almost entirely because of how you kill humans. You see, similar to how you can warp into items, you can do the same for humans. This will stun them, so you can sneak by. However, you’re also able to kill anyone while you’re inside of their body. Going this route, will cause the person to explode into blood. There are less brutal methods of killing, which you can unlock, but this will most likely be a main element. While it didn’t bother me, I can easily see others disliking it, so keep this in mind. Also, don’t forget that you’re always welcome to figuring out a nonlethal approach.
Glitches and Lag
WARP is a very simple looking game, so seeing lag is quite unusual. In any case, in my experience, I found the game to lag during more “intense” moments. Things like hitting a checkpoint, would result in a slight slowdown. Additionally, a few more active locations would lag if you introduce too many new elements. This was the case for me when I had to get past three turrets. I was trying to make a path with barrels, but they just wouldn’t line up right. After getting a few barrels on screen, the frame rate would start to become quite dodgy. Some areas are better than others, though it was a common occurrence.
Beyond the lag, the game has some glitches. Since some later stages are very tedious, you’re more goal oriented. I found myself occasionally glitching enemies in walls and such. This happened next to one of my checkpoints, which almost required me to restart the whole game over the repeated deaths.
Finally, it would seem that the leaderboards either syncs poorly/rarely or is glitch prone. Many challenges show no one with a clear time and others missing times. According to the game, only one person has apparently completed it. I can tell you for a fact I also have, although I’m still listed as “no time”. Many of my scores are vastly inaccurate and even one of my scores from nearly a day ago isn’t listed.
Poor Gameplay Design / Controls
WARP suffers from cookie cutter gameplay. Once you figure out how a mechanic works, it becomes a go to move. Many of the missions cycle similar objectives, coupled with the same locals, with the same basic end result. How you play will affect the staleness to a degree, though you’ll most likely experience this at some point. Thankfully, there are unique puzzles, though there are far and few between.
As mentioned earlier, stealth is required to survive. However, as time progresses, it becomes harder to remain stealthy. For instance, on the last floor I tried to swap with a turret. Moving my echo over his line of fire, will result in it dying and moving him out of range, will cause it to disappear. Now when you go to swap, it’s the same input as warp. This means if something kills your echo, then Zero will perform the action. It became a common occurrence to fail these events, and then kill myself because I was trying to swap. This happens in other regards and will become annoying at more difficult parts.
Many of the most difficult moments, are trying to get collectibles. Each collectible is important, because it allows you to buy new skills. One of those skills is a map, which shows you every location. This can oddly enough be obtained from the start, although it is hardly helpful. While knowing where is fantastic, the when and how are not included. Since the story has you doing laps in various areas, you will most likely pass several impossible collectibles. Transversely, if you have the map, it will list many you can’t get till the end of the game. This can become incredibly frustrating to deal with, because at a certain point you won’t be sure if you don’t get the puzzle or you can’t do the puzzle. This problem is only increased as collected items don’t cross between games. The trophies still might ding, but most likely you’ll need to collect them all again.
It took me 3 hours and 47 minutes to complete the game. This time is also inflated by side tasks, like collectibles. I would wager it’s easily doable in 3 hours or less depending on skill. After you finish the game, you’re left with two choices. You can either play a new cycle trying to get every collectible if you need it or trying to finish the challenges.
Unlike the campaign, getting gold on a challenge is brutal. Many of the stages need to be done flawlessly or you’ll end up failing. Some of the later challenges get some pretty unrealistic objectives. Each stage is several times harder than the campaign and shouldn’t be attempted, unless you’re certain you can win. Besides challenges, there’s virtually nothing past the campaign.
WARP is a cool concept, but it could have been more fleshed out. Many of the mechanics are cool, though they don’t evolve into more complex tasks. In the end, WARP is a weird game about an alien that enjoys killing people. It might be fun for a day, but don’t expect any long term playability.
[Editor’s Note: WARP was reviewed on the Playstation 3 hardware. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]WARP Review,