Warp my frustrations away, please.
I was drawn to Warp by it's puzzle mentality and cute, murderous protagonist. This is Trapdoor’s first game released, so I honestly didn’t have any expectations as far as quality goes. Warp is a game that is parts puzzle and stealth and really gives you many options to advance through the underwater research facility. I feel like it’s a solid game, but it’s not all double rainbows and waving bears, though. There are a few things that put down my appreciation of what could have been an excellent puzzle game.I enjoy how the game begins with scientists putting Zero through mundane tests for the purpose of more science (I assume) and you have to do these tests to progress. They’re not challenging at all and a small child could figure them out, but it helps add to the narrative and sell that you’re just this little dude in a some science facility just trying to escape. After a little testing, Zero regains his ability to Warp and starts murdering his captors. In response, the inhabitants of the underwater research facility start freaking out, setting off alarms, and closing off exits. Bad for them, but good for you that they aren’t prepared for a dude that doesn’t acknowledge the existence of doors. Well, doors that are normally thickness. Thick doors still block his path.
Warp is entertaining enough, with the basic ability of warping letting Zero get inside of stuff or people and then blow them up. This gives a nice explosion of blood (if you're choice was to explode a human) and has a nifty visual effect of the blood that will be all over Zero and falls to the floor when he teleports again. Satisfying your Satsui no Hado isn’t the only use of warping. The player is given many options with the warp ability, some of them optional upgrades that add some variety to blowing dudes up and making some sections easier to handle. So the way I played the game and the way you may play the game could differ dependent on which upgrades we choose.
Warp isn’t incredibly difficult, though. I never got stuck for too long at any point in the game, which is fine because advancing does require enough thought that I wasn’t bored throughout the game. Getting through the facility starts out easy enough, but be forewarned, the scientist are studying Zero even as he escapes. Early on, the player sees a cutscene that shows the scientists are watching Zero when you (and the scientists) discover his aversion to water. Seeing this makes the world that more believable and creates precedent for the scaling difficulty as you make it further through the facility.
Speaking of believability, Trapdoor has a real great sense of place with Warp. Everything feels connected and persistent in the underwater facility. You see a lot of places that you can’t reach quite yet as you’re escaping, but you’re given the ability to reach them and reasons to return to them as you get closer to Zero's goal of escaping. It’s one of my favorite parts of the game and I adore games that achieve this (see: Super Metroid).
That main thing about Warp that frustrates me is the last level. It takes place on a submarine. Everything that’s going on is just fine and par for the course with the game, except the addition of physics to mimic the sub rocking back and forth from the currents. These physics can be unpredictable and make some parts very frustrating. Like if you need to warp inside a barrel. Sometimes you’ll warp into the barrel and it’ll fall off the edge and you’ll die. Sometimes you’ll miss warping to it. This was a source of much anger during the final level and boss.
Overall, I feel that Warp is fun and has a wonderful premise, but doesn’t quite live up to its potential because of that issue, the fact that it’s a little too easy, and some other bugs, like when I couldn’t warp into a barrel that I needed to warp into to progress and had to restart the game to fix it. If you really, really enjoy puzzle games and unique mechanics then I can feel alright suggesting Warp to you, otherwise you can sit this one out and grab it when it’s on sale later on in the year. There’s plenty coming out this month and next to occupy your time and money.