Game Review: Gunpoint

“A 2D game about rewiring things and punching people”

Those are the words of Gunpoint designer and writer, Tom Francis and they sum up both the game and its dry wit quite well.It’s a story of corporate espionage and betrayal but delivered with levity and charm that makes it a joy to play and even replay. Gunpoint is not, as the name suggests a shooter. No, this is a puzzle game at its core challenging players to break into buildings, manipulate the world, and occasionally throw someone out a window.

Narrative

Gunpoint brings the trench coat wearing private eye into a more modern era. Our protagonist, Richard Conway, is drawn into a cat and mouse game of corporate espionage. Sneak, hack, and push the occasional guard off a building to unlock the mystery. Set entirely at night and almost always when it’s raining you can almost hear the monologue:

The rain was comin’ down like all the angels in heaven decided to take a piss at the same time. When you’re in a situation like mine, you can only think in metaphors.” – Max Payne 2

Gunpoint Game dialog Screenshot

While the content of the game draws heavy influence from the old film noir detective genre, the game’s writing takes a lighter approach.  Players can choose their dialog in each missions prologue giving you the option of keeping it professional or playing up that detective flair. Gunpoint is very cleverly written and self-aware. The game frequently comments on the player’s decisions and offers achievements that acknowledge the failings of both the player and the game.

Gameplay

Between the witty dialog and puzzles, Gunpoint proves a lot of fun to play. As the complexity of the puzzles increases, players are forced to think and act with speed as timing becomes very important. Failure will sometimes leave you stunned but you’ll want to keep trying until you have discovered every avenue for completing the levels; from the most straightforward to the most convoluted BECAUSE YOU CAN.

The mechanisms are straightforward and the control scheme is natural leaving players only having to worry about which way to get to the mission objective. Players navigate the game’s protagonist through buildings to hack computers and then navigate him out again to the nearest public transit, likely because there is not a lot of profit in the private eye game. Players progress by creating or changing dependencies of various switches and panels.

Gunpoint Game Screen Shot Gameplay

Obstacles such as trigger-happy guards and locked doors will attempt to slow Conway down, however, line up the right sequence and he can breeze past all of it. Or just throw him through a window and see how it goes.

The story is only about three hours long however for those completionists out there, there is basic replay value inherent in collecting achievements and earning that A+ on every level. That is the kind of stuff you can take pride in on your Steam Profile. Gunpoint gives you more than though. It features a comprehensive level creator mechanism that allows you to recreate any asset you experienced in the game. You can create your own levels and challenges or download maps created by other players, currently, there is a library of over 2000.

Gunpoint Game Level Building

Performance & Graphics

This 2D puzzler is very much at home on the PC. FPS fans will feel right at home adapting their WASD keys to help Conway get around. The games primary mechanic, his mechanical leaping pants are controlled with the mouse, click, aim, and release to launch him up walls, through windows and into guards. Don’t worry if the first few times you overshoot your objective, Conway seems immune to the devastating effects of the pavement.

The controls become second nature very quickly as the complexity of the levels increases. Ultimately this game is about puzzle solving and leaping around serves only to facilitate that.

The pixeled art style gives the game a fun retro vibe but still provides quite a bit of detail for the various levels. For a game set entirely at night, there is a lot of color that really jumps out at you as you hack your way through builds and solve puzzles.

Audio

Simple but effective smooth jazz suite accompanies the game and it serves Gunpoint’s Noire detective vibe well. Available with the special edition if ambient jazz is your thing.

Final Thoughts

Gunpoint Game acheivement example

This indie gem is for any who enjoys a quirky sense of humor and puzzle solving. It is especially worth a look if you enjoy taking the time to create your own levels in games. This game offers a lot of personality in its simple but incredibly well-crafted package. The community aspect of building and sharing new levels inside of Steam’s workshop gives the game longevity. The film noir atmosphere, along with its smooth jazz soundtrack makes it relaxing to play through, the dynamic puzzles keep you engaged, and the writing keeps you entertained.

Score: 9


Gunpoint –  is available on Steam

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