Game Journal – Valiant Hearts

Designer/Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier

Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One, iOS, Android

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Game Location: Variable

 

Explanation

Valiant Hearts is a side scrolling puzzle adventure that tells the story of the soldiers during The Great War (aka WWI). The player takes the role of four characters throughout the game: Emile, Karl, Freddie, and Belgian nurse Anna. Emile is the main character in the story and he joins the military to find his son-in-law Karl. An unfortunate circumstance of the story is that Emile is a Frenchman and his son-in-law Karl is German. The German army conscripts Karl into service and forces him to fight against the people he has lived with for many years. During Emile’s journey he meets an American soldier named Freddie. The soon discover that they are both seeking the same people. Eventually Anna, a Belgian nurse becomes a playable character and as a group Emile, Anna, and Freddie attempt to find Karl while defeating Germans and saving each other. The gameplay is quite robust for a side scrolling puzzle adventure game. Throughout the game the player is tasked with solving puzzles that require reflex, timing, pattern memory, and reasoning. The player almost always unarmed, receiving the required equipment when and only when they need it to advance the game. A dog is also provided to the player to aid them in retrieving items required for advancing the game.

 

Screenshot

As players proceed through the game they encounter items that reveal facts about The Great War. The facts often reveal the horrendous conditions that soldiers had to face while fighting in the trenches. While following the story of the characters players are placed into high-profile situations and events that occurred during the war like the battle at the Marne, the battle of the Somme, and the Nivelle Offensive. The game progresses through a myriad of backdrops and scenarios ranging from dank and

Valiant-Hearts-facts

bleak destroyed cities to bright and colorful county sides. The image above shows an example of an information snippet provided to the player during gameplay. Below is the scene of a zeppelin crash were the player controls Anna who is hot on the trail of Karl and has tracked him to this crash site.valiant-hearts-0002

 

Strategy

  • To discover all of the objects the player should always progress left in each area first. By doing so they will typically discover one or two items that they may have missed if they had progressed to the right as is the natural tendency of the typical player.
  • The game does a good job of showing the player the attack pattern of the enemies they encounter. In order to progress steadily the player should take a moment when encountering a new situation to study the pattern of the enemy.

 

Dynamics

  • Because the character is only able to utilize one item at a time it is often in the player’s best interest to pick up whatever item they come across as it is more often than not the item they will need to solve the next puzzle.
  • When the player is assisted by a dog they can give an item to the dog and leave it in his care for the duration of a level. That way they can call the dog at any time and swap items.
  • When going for 100% completion of the game the player need not worry about getting every item in every level on their first play though. The game will allow the player to replay any level or mission again after they have played through the game.
  • During the driving scenes in the game the bombs typically land on the quarter notes of the song being played. The machinegun fire often comes during times in the song that use 1/16th notes.

 

 

Additional Notes

I found this game to be compelling in both story and gameplay. Aesthetically the game is amazing. I spent a good 20 minutes when I first started playing the game trying to determine what type of design they used to create the scrolling backdrops. At first I thought that they were using flat 2D backdrops and a parallax algorithm to move the background appropriately but then I saw the side of a building coming into and going out of view. That led me to wonder if they were using 3D assets in the background and 2D assets in the foreground. After a bit more studying I determined that they were utilizing a combination of 3D and 2D assets in both the fore and background. That is not to say that they were though. If the game was utilizing dynamic 2D lighting techniques it could very well be completely 2D. But I will stick with my combination theory.

 

Similar Games

While I am hard pressed to find games just like Valiant Hearts a few do come to mind.

Never Alone (Kisima Innitchuna)

Dust: An Elysian Tale

Bastion

 

Design Ideas

This game is almost too good for me to get any ideas from it. If I were to make a side scrolling adventure game I would want it to have a compelling story, an amazing soundtrack, and relatable characters. If I had to choose something I would say that this game gives me the idea of making more games about events that people are likely undereducated in. I think as a platform, Valiant Hearts is right on the money with a game that can be just as fun as it is educational. If educational game designers took a page out of Valiant Hearts playbook I believe they could successfully transition from mostly boring games with good ideas to good games with good ideas and a good method to convey educational lessons to people of all ages.

 

Game Journal – Hollywood Stock Exchange (HSX)

Designer/Developer: Max Keiser and Michael Burns / HSX

Platform: Web Browser

Original Entry Date: May 6, 2014 – May 7, 2014

Game Location: http://www.hsx.com/

 

Explanation

The Hollywood Stock Exchange is a multiplayer online virtual stock market in which players buy and trade stocks in actors, movies, TV shows, and other entertainment based stocks. Players use virtual money called Hollywood Dollars (H$) to trade their stock with. Players start with 2 million H$ and can buy stocks in whatever they desire. Purchasing a stock occurs when a player chooses either the trade button next to a stock or the buy button within the stock detail screen. Purchasing a stock requires players to select an amount they wish to purchase and the value of the purchased stocks is removed from the player’s cash total. This places the stock in the player’s portfolio for quick and easy monitoring. Selling is the same. The rules for the game are simple: Buy and Sell whatever pleases you. The point of the game is simple too; make as much money as possible.

 

Screenshot

HSX SS1
This screenshot as seen from a multiple monitor point of view shows the basic game screen available to the player. The left side shows the players Portfolio which contains all of the purchase and sale information that the player has performed. It also shows the daily gain and loss of value for any of the purchased stocks. On this screen players can check their trade history, orders, virtual banking history, leaderboards, net worth history, and their personal profile. If a player selects a stock from the list they are sent to a page similar to the one on the right, which is for the top MOVIESTOCK security named ECHO. On this screen the player can see a chart representing the current trading value of the stock for that particular security. Below the graph is a chart that shows the High and Low trading values for week, month, season, and year. It also contains information about the movie like the distributor, director, cast, and even the trailer for the movie if it is yet to be released like in the example above.

Strategy

Strategy in this game is extremely complex. It mirrors the difficulty of the real stock market. But there are still strategies that can be used to affect gain and profit for the player.

  • Buying
    • Buying stock on movies that are hyped is a good way to earn cash. The further out (lower the stock costs) the better. Purchasing stock at a lower cost is almost always a better idea than waiting for it to inflate exponentially just to crash on opening weekend.
  • Selling
    • This takes practice but simply put selling is where you make your profit. If a stock has risen in value since you purchased it selling will gain you your money back plus that additional revenue. That being said, waiting to sell is usually a good idea while stock price is climbing, but can also break you if everyone else sells out beneath you.
  • Short
    • Taking a short is similar to profiting on somebody’s failure. If you believe a movie is overhyped or destined to fail then taking a short out on it is a good idea. You will profit from the crash of the film.
  • Cover
    • Covering, simply put is selling your shorts after they have earned you money.
  • Arman Khodaei has more tips on when to sell and how to earn H$ in the article located here: http://www.ehow.com/how_6196472_play-hsx.html

 

Dynamics

  • Because the game data is populated by the players, anticipating what a stock will do is near to impossible.
  • Scoring is based on the amount earned over the players starting 2 million H$. Therefore, getting on the scoreboard requires players to really understand what they are doing and earn H$. This can be frustrating for beginning players.
  • Because the stock market updates and resets between midnight and 2 AM, there is a lot of time to do research, but not much else. There seems to be a lot of down time in this game.

 

Similar Games

Virtual Stock Exchange (VSG), the Stock Market Game (SMG), the World of Warcraft Auction House. Both VSG and SMG are clones of the stock market. They allow players to dabble in economics without putting real money up while learning, similar to HSX. HSX reminds me of the auction house in World of Warcraft because it is a system of supply and demand run by the players. People can flood the market with an item which drives down the price of it much like flooding a stock will lead to many people selling the stock, thus driving the price of it down eventually. Both games require the player to know when to buy and when to sell in order to affect profit.

 

Design Ideas

It may be interesting to apply a stock market type of situation to an MMO style game along with the standard auction house mechanics. This could really lead to an interesting economy within a virtual world by allowing players greater choice in their method of play and mode of earning income.

Game Journal – A Force More Powerful

Designer: Ivan Morovic

Platform: PC

Date: May 8, 2014

 

Explanation

A Force More Powerful is a simulation about nonviolent conflict. The player attempts to solve 10 different real world scenarios by using nonviolent tactics in an attempt to sway the government or political parties of the local government into affecting positive change. The goal of the game is to win civil liberties for the people, things like earning human rights, removing corrupt regimes/dictators, and earning rights for minorities and women. Almost the entire game takes place within a notebook in which the player makes strategies with which to affect change. Each scenario has specific goals that the player must achieve to complete the scenario successfully. The strategies that a player uses can either work successfully, rallying people to your cause or they can backfire which can have adverse effects on the mission.

 

Screenshot

AFMP SS1

The notebook in the picture is where a player selects the tactic they wish to use. Notice that the options available to the player range from attacking to communicating. The right side of the page shows a detailed description of the action that has been selected. The tactics available depend on the tactician selected which is shown at the bottom of the screen. In this example the tactician is Nadia and one of her tactics is to organize a concert to increase awareness of the issue at hand. Notice that the tactic may cost money and time.

AFMP SS2This affects the conflict and the actions taken significantly as players cannot take action if they have to little of either. The second image shows a small cut scene of the action that was selected. This shows the people rallying at the concert but also shows that the support is relatively low as the amount of people is fairly sparse. Cut scenes are important in this game as they progress the situation by providing the player with a sense of achievement for all of their planning. But they can also go wrong. Some cut scenes will show the organizers being attacked or worse going wild and starting riots of their own volition. Here the concert is small, but peaceful.

 

Strategy

  • Timing is Everything
    • Using the right tactic at the right time is important in this game. If the population is already on alert using the wrong tactic can result in riots or military presence. Staging a concert for example while emotions are running high is likely to result in a violent conflict, which the player it attempting to avoid if at all possible.
  • Choosing the right activist
    • Players have a range of organizers (activists) to choose from. But not all activists are created equal. Some are overly passive and rely on Kum-Ba-Ya tactics resulting in no significant progress. Others are overly aggressive attempting to attack the delivery of supplies to the government in attempt to slow their progression. Choosing the activist that utilizes right amount of force without being violent is critical.

Dynamics

  • Players are restricted to the strategies of their selected activists. This can turn a peaceful organization into a full on riot.
  • Tactics are limited by the cash a resistance organization has, making every decision a critical one.

Additional Notes

I really appreciate the way that this game takes a Sim-City/Sims approach to broach the topic of oppression and non-violent conflict. The concept is well laid out and the message it sends is very clear. Players can learn how to be active and aggressive with their actions without becoming violent. Seeing the results your decisions produce has a strong lasting impact on the player and reiterates the struggle that real people go through in similar situations around the globe.

 

Similar Games

People Power – This game forces the player into position as the leader of a popular movement. Players use nonviolent strategies as they battle the police, armies, bureaucracy, and the media. It is an evolution of A Force More Powerful and was created using feedback from the prior game.

 

Design Ideas

This game raises interesting ideas about developing more games based on real world conflict and adverse situations ideas would be games involving the survival of the holocaust for instance, living through the battle of Normandy, living with prejudice, or just surviving with nothing. Though some games like this exist, I believe making an example of the past so that players can learn for the future is an important concept and should be utilized more often. I don’t believe that obscuring the past and draping it with a cover is conducive to the evolution of people. With the increased attention games are receiving in today’s society it may one day become the medium of choice to teach difficult to grasp concepts to those who would otherwise never be exposed to them.

Game Journal – GeoGuessr

Designer: Anton Wallen

Platform: Web Browser

Date Played: May 6, 2014

Game Location: http://www.geoguessr.com/

 

Explanation

The game is a simple point and click game. The player is provided with an image of some random place in the World. They may look around and even follow the road forward or backward. Using just the image available the player must attempt to figure out where the image was taken in the World. Then the player clicks on a map in the upper right corner of the screen to make a guess. Scores are provided based on how close the guess was to the actual location. This is repeated 4 more times for a total of 5 rounds. Players may create challenges and issue them to friends for an added level of fun. They may also race against the clock to see just how fast they really are.

 

Screenshot

GeoGuessr Screenshot

This image shows the play UI for the game. The two arrows near the bottom center are your navigation arrows. They allow the player to travel up and down the road (to a certain extent). Zooming and looking can be performed with the tool in the upper left corner or by using the common mouse functions like click, drag, and scroll. The map in the upper right corner is for making a guess at the location of the image. It too can be zoomed and panned. Beneath the map is the points earned last round, total points, and the round identifier. There is also a reset button that will snap you back to where you were in the image when you first saw it. Across the top of the screen are the Help, Feedback, Share, and Set Time Limit/Create Challenge buttons. The white oval in the center of the image is the mouse indicator, it changes based on the terrain and action you may perform. For example, when it is an oval clicking will cause the image to “jump” to that position, but you are still restricted to the road for the point of view.

 

Strategy

This game focuses on finding clues about your location. This can be done in many ways:

  • Identifying foliage
    • Knowledgeable players may use the plant life in the image to determine the location or the region in which the image was taken.
  • Determine Driving Direction
    • Looking almost straight down a player will see the blurred out vehicle that takes the pictures. While the vehicle is not visible, the blur is, and players can determine what the front of the vehicle is to determine driving direction. Looking for the side view mirrors helps a lot (this is not always possible).
    • After determining driving direction players can determine which side of the road the vehicle is traveling on, narrowing the possibilities somewhat.
  • Find a vehicle
    • Finding a vehicle can be very helpful. Players can look at the shape of the license plate to determine if they are in Europe or not (European plates are long rectangles mostly).
  • Find a road sign
  • Mile Markers
    • Sometimes they will have the mile and highway identifier on them (unless blurred out).
  • Speed Signs
    • They may identify the highway, but at the very least they will show MPH or KPH which can narrow the results.
  • Street Sign
    • Finding the name of a street can be helpful; it may even provide a language key to the puzzle.
  • Distance Signs
    • This is the ultimate find. They may literally tell you the city, the highway, or nearby towns relative to the image position.
  • Get Familiar with Google Street View
    • Will Oremus suggests getting familiar with Google’s Street View Map. It shows where street view has been, narrowing your search significantly. It is good to know that almost all of Asia is “unviewed” as well as half of South America and most of Africa (2013).

 

 

Dynamics

It is difficult if not impossible to receive the maximum score of 32395 because the location selection is VERY sensitive. A player must be within 9 meters of the image location to receive a perfect score per turn (6,479 pts/round).

The unlimited amount of traveling a player is allowed paired with the lack of a time limit in standard play lends itself to cheating via Google searching.

It seems to be impossible to score 0 points, meaning that no matter where the location is a player will receive some sort of score even if they guess in Antarctica repeatedly.

 

Similar Games

GeoGuessr (Android, clone made by Felipe Caldas), Where Am I?

Design Ideas

This game made me think of a sort of first person survival game where the player is dropped off in a random location and must navigate home or to some preset location. Another idea would be to play the game in reverse. Give the player a location. Then provide a selection of images. The player must try to choose the correct image relating to the location provided. This could be a good casual game on a mobile platform, players could even take pictures themselves and upload them to increase the amount of “challenges” the player has.

 

Resources

Oremus, W. (2013). How to Beat GeoGuessr, the Insanely Addictive Google Maps Guessing Game. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2013/05/google_maps_guessing_game_geoguessr_tips_and_cheats_to_beat_the_game.html

Game Journal – StarCraft 2

Designer/Developer: Blizzard Entertainment

Platform: PC

Date: May 29, 2014 (Diary published on June 8, 2015)

 

Explanation

StarCraft II is a real-time strategy game in which players compete against each other for control over resources and attempt to eliminate the enemy player’s forces. In the game players must create and manage armies by gathering minerals and building supply depots. A player’s army maxes out at 200 supply and each unit takes a different amount of supply to place on the battlefield. In addition each unit has a build time that must be completed, with enough supply available, before the unit will be available for use. Players start the game with workers that simply gather resources and construct buildings. Once a specific type of building is completed players can begin developing their military force. For example: If a player builds a barracks then after it is complete they will have the ability to train marines from the barracks. This applies to every unit in the game. Each unit has a corresponding building that must be completed before they can be built. Players can expand their force by gathering additional resources from nearby nodes but the nodes on each map are limited. Players face the difficult decision of expanding and increasing their forces or attacking in hopes of winning. The tradeoff comes when you realize that the longer you wait the stronger the enemy is becoming as well. Players must also make game changing decisions in regards as to which units to create. Each unit in the game has a counter unit and if a player does not see it coming they will be out of the match before it has even begun. Additionally certain units have special abilities that the player must manage, making the overall gameplay very emergent and unpredictable. The outcome of a game can be made by a single decision or by a simple error at any point in the battle.

 

Screenshot

SC Screenshot

StarCraft II has a fairly simplistic interface for a game that is so complex. The majority of the screen is the play area. In the upper right corner of the screen you can see the mineral count (blue crystals) followed by the gas count (green barrel) and finally the supply (pylon). In the extreme top right corner is the social panel where players can check on friend status and communicate with others outside of the game. In the bottom right corner we see the status panel. The panel shows the options available to the player in regard to the currently selected group, unit, or building. Above and to the right of the action panel going from right to left is the menu button, used for changing settings, the friend list, and the help button. Directly to the left of the action panel is a character image that represents the currently selected unit or building. The large panel in the bottom center of the screen is the selection panel. This panel shows all units, buildings, or groups that are currently being directly controlled by the player. It also displays the unit’s health and status information. Notice the three small boxes attached to the top left corner of the selection panel. These are groups created by the user that can be toggled through for quick access. In the bottom left corner is the mini-map of the current stage. Green units on the mini-map are friendly units while red ones are enemy units. Around the map starting in the top left and moving clockwise are the quick action keys, the play clock, ping (concentric circles), terrain (mountain button), and diplomacy button (handshake symbol). These allow the player to alter the mini-map for things like color-blindness and friendly/unfriendly unit coloring.

 

Strategy

There are far too many strategies to name them all and they are constantly evolving because of the emergent quality of the game. Therefore I will mention the most commonly known and simplest strategies.

  • Rushing
    • Rushing involves the player building a small amount of units in a very short amount of time. The player then attacks their opponent in hopes of getting an early kill. This is a huge tradeoff because if the enemy player defends the attack they will have a better economy usually resulting in a loss for the rusher.
  • Turtling
    • This is the opposite of rushing. A turtling opponent barricades themselves into their own base. If the enemy can’t successfully break the opponent’s barricade they will lose units to their defenses eventually leading to a loss for the attacking player. This too can be a tradeoff strategy. If an opponent barricades themselves in too early they run the risk of letting the opponent expand throughout the map, gaining resources that will eventually allow them to win.
  • Harassing
    • This strategy involves using small amounts of units to make tactical strikes at the enemy’s infrastructure. An example would be to use flying units to kill off all of the enemy’s workers resulting in a stale economy and eventual loss for the player. This type of strategy requires a lot of focus on the harasser’s part and can leave them blind to a counterattack.

 

Dynamics

  • Because each map has a limited amount of resources players are forced to fight at some point in the game, it is inevitable.
  • Because the strategies in the game are only limited by the imagination of your opponent, gameplay is constantly evolving and counter strategies are constantly being created to defeat the current “meta-play”.

Additional Notes

I used to play this game competitively; I probably should pick it up again. I forgot how much fun and how challenging it can be.

 

Similar Games

Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne

Clash of Clans

Evolution RTS

League of Legends

Chess

 

Design Ideas

This game spawns many different game ideas. Taking the emergent aspect of the gameplay and applying it to other genres would be a boon to whoever can develop something like that. For example, I would love to see an espionage game where players go head to head trying to steal information from each other. The players could take turns in a best of 3 type of situation. I don’t know if a top-down RTS style game or a full 3D game would be better for this, but it would definitely be interesting to see.

Game Journal – Realm of the Mad God

Designer/Developer: SpryFox

Platform: Flash Based / Windows & Mac (Steam)

Date: May 29, 2014

Game Location: http://www.kongregate.com/games/wild_shadow/realm-of-the-mad-god

 

Explanation

In Realm of the Mad God the players move through a world and kill enemies. Players control a single unit that shoots projectiles at enemies. Players can move using standard FPS controls and shoot the same way as well (players shoot in the direction the mouse is pointed). The game is a Top Down Shooter / MMO that allows a lot of freedom for movement. The main component of the game consists of finding enemies, killing them, and getting loot. Even though it sounds simple it is not. This game uses a perma-death mechanic. If the player dies they lose all of their items, their cloths, and their money – everything – forever. Players can create new characters after they die and they can use the same name as the previously deceased character but they must begin the game from the first level and earn back all of the items they previously had. The game is free to play but it has a fairly heavy focus on micro-transaction. Players can purchase pets, potions, random chests that contain random items, and much more. Players can enter portals that transport them to dungeons, areas where stronger monsters await but the loot is better, when they enter a portal the player must either complete the dungeon or teleport out which will take them back to the main town in the game. Killing strong monsters gains the player fame. Fame is used to show the skill of a player to the rest of the community. Players can even look up the players with the highest fame on a list titled “Legends”. This means that players who survive, and prove they are strong enough to kill difficult enemies, can receive real fame from the game, at least within its own community.

 

Screenshot

Starting in the main section of the screen the left ¾ of the screen is the play area. In the center of

RotMG gameplaythe screen just below the middle is the player character. Here he can be seen firing purple projectiles at his opponent who is currently covered in his own attacks. The enemy fires projectiles back at the player all of which can be seen here as large whit circles, flowers, and blue balls. In the upper right portion of the screen is the mini-map. The player is always centered on the map. Enemies are shown as small red dots. The mini-map is also covered in darkness until the player has explored the area, similar to the fog of war mechanic. Beneath the mini-map are the player’s name and a small icon of himself. To the right of that is a small white house, this button teleports the player back to the main town instantly. Moving further down we see the status meters. The top most bar is the fame bar representing your character’s current level of fame. Beneath that are the HP bar, obviously showing health, and then the MP meter again showing the obvious amount of magic power remaining. Below that we see four boxes which represent the character’s currently equipped items. In order from left to right are the weapon, secondary item, armor, and an accessory slot. Beneath that we see the player’s inventory which consists of only 8 slots. Notice the three small tabs on top of the inventory window, they allow the player to select different stats or displays in the area containing the inventory. Finally below the inventory are the characters health (red) and mana potions (blue) including the amount remaining.

 

Strategy

  • If a player is in a tough situation and their health is getting low it is usually a good idea to just leave the area by teleporting back to the home town.
  • Carrying multiple weapons and items is good for switching them out as certain situations require. I.E. High attack bonus ring during times of ease and a high health ring for more difficult fights.
  • Players can run away from enemies in an attempt to make them follow, this can be used to line up multiple enemies so that the player can hit them all simultaneously.

 

Dynamics

  • Since players have very limited inventory space they must be very picky with what they pick up. Players tend to only keep items that are useful for them or are better than what they have.
  • Because the game is perma-death based players are very cautious with their actions and they care more about their characters.
  • The increased care about the characters may cause some players to be wary of attempting higher difficulty dungeons.

 

Additional Notes

I enjoy the concept and the novelty of a game that has permanent death but I question its usefulness in mainstream gaming. Most players don’t want to put time into a character if there is a chance it will become completely useless and a waste of time. Blizzard did this already in the Diablo series in Nightmare mode. After playing this for an hour, I think I want to make it a weekly thing, it is actually quite addictive.

 

Similar Games

Diablo II

The Binding of Isaac

Path of Exile

8 Bit MMO

 

Design Ideas

Not a lot to be honest. The dungeon crawling, one life thing was already done by Blizzard over a decade ago so this is fairly old hat. The only real difference between the two is that it is done in pixel graphics as opposed to 3D and the skill trees were removed. I suppose if I were forced to make something based off of what this game had to offer it would simply be a very fast paces MMO game. In this game players would not have conventional quests and would instead level solely through fighting. Their prowess in battle would unlock higher difficulty dungeons which are only available to players of similar skill levels, thus eliminating the “noob” aspect of the game. Lower skill players would play with similar skill players until they skill up enough to progress. This may feel limiting but a game only for the elite would appeal to a niche crowd and may inspire a cult like following. Though I fail to see how even this idea is much different from almost every dungeon crawling, loot gathering game out there. Maybe we could add a bit of Metroidvania to it and force players to retrieve certain items they need to access other areas. Or, conversely we can play it similar to how Zelda was and place all players in a live world that is having constant problems with monsters invading it. This could have multiplayer dungeons that require group problem solving activities to progress.

Game Journal – Gunpoint

Designer/Developer: Suspicious Developments

Platform: PC

Date: May 23, 2014

 

Explanation

In Gunpoint player take the role of a private investigator who has been hired to find a murderer. Players must infiltrate buildings in an attempt to retrieve secret documents, video tapes, email correspondence, and much more. As the game progresses the player is able to purchase tools to aid them in their endeavor. The player is able to perform acrobatics in the form of jumping, clinging to walls and ceilings, and tackling. Players can, and must, also rewire the electronics in certain buildings in order to proceed. This can be done in multiple ways. Players can wire light switches to devices like elevators, doors, security cameras, and even enemies weapons. As the player progresses they begin facing increasingly complex security systems. Eventually the player cannot simply hotwire anything they feel like and must bypass additional security systems to gain access to subsequent systems. The player faces the challenge of using the guards in buildings as pawns and they must also figure out how to gain access to closed circuit systems. In addition to the main objective in every mission there are also sub objectives that increase or decrease your reputation with your clients. Some clients will want you to avoid violence completely during a mission while others will want no witnesses left alive. Since Gunpoint is an espionage game the player is able to complete missions without ever being detected if they desire.

 

Screenshot

Explain the screenshots and all of the relevant information on them.

Gunpoint gameplay

Figure 1. Tackling a security guard out of a 3rd story window is pretty typical.

Gunpoint gameplay 2

Figure 2. Crosslink allows players to rewire the level.

 

Strategy

  • Utilizing the crosslink can have some amusing and irritating consequences. Try linking multiple things together to create automated systems that do the work for you.
  • Players can turn off lights to draw a security guard’s attention. This is very useful for ambushing them and knocking them out.
  • Buff guards can’t be pounced on or killed with doors, try locking them in a room and removing their access to the hand scanner on the door, otherwise, they can be killed with a shorted out light switch.
  • Sound detectors and movement detectors can be used to link systems of different colors together, not directly, but it is possible.

 

Dynamics

  • Since players do not have an ability to attract guards other than being seen (which usually results in death) sometimes taking out a certain guard can completely break the level.

Notes

The game could benefit from some sort of attraction ability, like knocking on a wall. Sometimes it seems that the levels are designed in such a way that if the player takes out certain guards the level is unable to be completed, this can be frustrating since there is no way to restart a level unless the player dies. If all guards are dead/disabled and the player cannot progress without one alive, they have to abandon the level (which can only be done twice). Providing the player with an option in the menu to restart a level would be beneficial. I found the jumping charge-up mechanic to be clunky at first but once it was fully upgraded I found it to be significantly more useful. Maybe players should just have fully charged jumps all the time and make the distance relative to the suit upgrade only.

 

Similar Games

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins

Metal Gear Solid

Dishonored

 

Design Ideas