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CounterSpy Review

Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
August 19, 2014

Being a fan of stealth, I have no problem with trial-and-error and strategic planning. I don’t require a more fast-paced blend of action and stealth to keep my attention. However, one has to admit that pure stealth games do suffer from pacing and balance issues almost by default, just because it’s difficult to maintain any sort of momentum. Dynamighty solves that problem with the slick, well-designed CounterSpy , which keeps you playing with its nicely balanced presentation of gunplay and sneaky maneuvering.

The cel-shaded graphics and 1960s theme greatly enhance the player’s interest and immersion, as the environment continues to please throughout. This is one of those procedurally generated games, in that going through it a second time will present you with fresh obstacles (although, as I will address in a minute, the changes aren’t exactly drastic). I haven’t seen a cel-shaded presentation in a while, and I’d forgotten that when done correctly, it can really shine. It also fits the game’s style perfectly; it doesn’t appear outdated, but it does fit the date in question, if that makes sense.

The audio takes advantage of the time period by utilizing a retro soundtrack featuring some smooth jazz, and the effects straddle the line between goofy and intense. The sound simply strikes a nice chord, bolstering the player’s enjoyment of the environment and adding some era-specific goodness. Combine this with the classic 60s style – from the uniforms of the enemy to the Socialist propaganda – and you’ve got a distinctly attractive package that stands alone. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, either, as the game has a dry sense of humor that will make you grin.

CounterSpy is simultaneously accessible and surprisingly robust. On the one hand, just about anyone can pick it up and play, immediately understanding the basic premise: A spy must liberate sensitive information from a heavily guarded area, and he can snap necks in the shadows, pop heads like watermelons with his trusty silenced pistol, or, if necessary, engage in a serious firefight or two. Being spotted isn’t the end of the world, as it is in some stealth adventures, but you’re still encouraged to approach each situation with a calm hand and a cool head. There are no overly complex gameplay mechanics that can hinder the game’s streamlined nature.

The only downside to this unique presentation is when you opt to use walls as cover, which changes the perspective. This can be a little confusing at first and difficult to get used to, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker. You just have to realize that with a shifting perspective, you can’t act too rashly. This drawback actually plays into the game’s theme, which I don’t mind in the least. That being said, there were times when the perspective shift left me momentarily confused, which gave the enemy the upper hand. That’s why it needs to be mentioned. Other than that, the control is spot-on.