Graphics:
8.2
Gameplay:
8.8
Sound:
8.7
Control:
8.3
Replay Value:
8.5
Overall Rating:
8.5
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Curve Studios
Developer:
Curve Studios
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Stealth/Action
Release Date:
July 23, 2013


I never would’ve thought to combine stealth and platforming. From a logical standpoint, it doesn’t make much sense. After all, platforming is often about nonstop gameplay that relies heavily upon fast reflexes and lots of practice. Stealth is about patience, timing and tact. So how can the two possibly coexist? Well, developer Curve Studios has found a way and the result is pretty freakin’ awesome. The two distinct gameplay elements counter each other in a positive, unique way and the result is both innovative and downright special.

The graphics aren’t exactly retro but they embrace a certain old-school visual style, which is reminiscent of the days when 2D platformers dominated the industry. The new high-definition graphical display isn’t rife with vibrant color and admittedly, there isn’t a lot of palette diversity. But that’s okay, because darkness is your friend in the world of stealth and besides, don’t forget that you’re a drone. You don’t have a personality and fittingly, neither does your environment. There is, however, plenty of detail and the effects accentuate the action with understated flair.

“Understated” is a perfect word to describe the audio, by the way. And again, that’s fitting considering the nature of the game. The soundtrack is actually great, because it’s not intrusive and it matches the odd mix of urgency and stealth. It has this charming, tongue-in-cheek quality, too, which I happen to enjoy. Much like the visual effects, the sound effects give the experience a little extra zing. Getting zapped by a laser is comically shocking, for example, and the score always seems to know its role. In other words, the developers understood that the soundtrack needed to be both subtle and high-quality.

The premise is simple— you awaken as a nameless drone with Sam Fisher-esque night vision goggles, and you must find a way to escape your high-tech prison. There are 80 unique levels to attempt and eventually conquer, and some of those levels are ingeniously designed. The presentation is fantastic as the sheer amount of effort expended to create an engaging, addictive, and challenging yet accessible game is notable. Shadows dominate the area and you must take advantage of each to survive. At the same time, because they mixed in a faster-paced platforming mechanic, the fusion of those elements is endlessly fun.

It’s a really intriguing style and I haven’t made such a statement in some time. To add to the creepy décor, there’s an anonymous watcher who seems to taunt you everywhere you go. You’ll see mocking jibes written on walls and some of them are just plain insulting. Strangely enough, though, the farther you go, the more that watcher appears to be quietly optimistic about your escape. Speaking of which, you may come across other drones who will assist you in your desperate quest, which adds another dimension to the gameplay. You will also unlock a variety of gadgets that will become invaluable in certain situations.