Review: Gunpoint is proof that good things come is small packages
I've fallen out of a window before. That's a lie, but for the purpose of this intro, let's just go with it, kind of like how comedians always say “I was at the mall the other day.” Anyway, I've fallen out of a window before, but it's never led to a captivating, puzzling adventure in the world of espionage. Luckily, that's exactly what happens in Gunpoint, a 2D noir-style puzzle-platformer that engulfs you in the world of corporate espionage and a murder mystery dipped in humor. Okay, smothered in humor.
Everything from the puzzle mechanics and art style to the dialogue and gadgets feels incredibly original. You play as Richard Conway, a freelance spy with trousers that allow him to leap extraordinary distances and fall without getting hurt. After being framed for a murder, a CEO of a gun manufacturer contacts him to tell him she knows he's innocent. The 11-mission campaign takes you into the world of murder, affairs and conspiracies. It's an incredibly fun and forgiving story with some of the best comedic dialogue that I've seen in a game. And though it's over too soon – the campaign takes about three to four hours to complete – it's an awesome ride.
The missions offer a deep and versatile mix of puzzle gameplay and platforming. What makes the puzzles unique is the ability to hack doors, elevators, cameras and light switches to do what you need them to do with the Crosslink device. Need a locked door open? Hack it and rewire the elevator button to open the door. There's little punishment to messing up or getting killed by security, as you can just go back five seconds and try something different. It's very forgiving and wants you to experiment. Difficulty certainly increases, but so does your ability to think through the challenge presented to you.
Money you get from completing missions goes towards new gadgets and abilities, like a pistol or the ability to jump through glass and muffle the sound so that security isn't alerted. You can also upgrade Richard, like his jumping charge up and distance he can jump.
The whole game is a gem, polished to a shine with smart and witty dialogue, presented through texts and emails and really great pixel art. Everything just works in Gunpoint. And though it's a short game and I wish there was more to the campaign, there is a level editor that allows you and other Gunpoint players to design their own levels using all of the tools they encountered in the game. It might be a short game, but at least those three hours are tons of fun. I mean, I might only last three minutes, but that doesn’t mean those three minutes aren't amazing... amirite?