I have a soft spot for stealth games, although I’m not very good at them. The appeal of quietly sneaking around, sight unseen, taking out every guard with surgical precision to clear your part to the objective is rather unique. It contains both the methodical approach required by puzzle games as well as the heart-stopping anticipation of horror games. There is a rhythm, with bursts of actions in between long silences, as dictated by the movement of the enemies on the map.
Gunpoint is definitely one of the more action-y stealth games I’ve played, though. Compared to Mark of the Ninja, I spend less time deliberating on my next move and more time kicking a door off its hinges into a hapless security guard’s face.
The premise is as follows: You are playing as Richard Conway, freelance spy with a fedora, trenchcoat, and a horribly outdated fashion sense. He recently bought a pair of Bullfrog hypertrousers that increases his jumping ability tremendously. When he first tried it out, it shot him out of his apartment window and landed him in a building, where a murder took place before he could stop it. Being the only other person in the building aside for the killer (who escaped without being caught on camera) and the victim, he became the prime suspect.
The story branches out (somewhat) from here. The story up to you smashing through you apartment window stays the same, but what happens after that depends on your choices in the game, during those text chats. Thankfully, after playing through it once you can just play the level leading to a choice without replaying the whole campaign, so you can look through all choices without too much hassle if you’re so inclined.
Gameplay-wise, your gloves and shoes allow you to climb on walls and ceilings, your trenchcoat negates all fall damage, and your trousers turns you into the greatest jumper in the world. You use these to get around the guards. But when the guards are a bit too unwilling to look in a different direction, you bring out the Crosslink.
The Crosslink allows you to rewire switches, doors, lifts and sensors. Remotely summoning a lift, opening trapdoors, flicking the lights on and off from a different floor like an extremely corporeal poltergeist, this thing can do it all. You can even rewire a security guard’s gun with an upgrade, so with a flick of a light switch you can make him shoot and kill his colleague. Other equally fun methods of using the Crosslink to take out guards includes remote-controlling a door to slam into a guard’s face and passing a high-voltage current through a power outlet to stun a nearby guard. Aside from being an important puzzle-solving tool, it is also a great obstacle remover, whether you use it to open doors or knock out guards.
You can purchase gadgets in the shop. Some of the things I mentioned in the earlier paragraph can only be unlocked once you buy the corresponding upgrade. Out of all of the items available, the only ones you need are the Crosslink, Wirejack and the Resolver (for the final mission only, though it isn’t necessary for you to use it). Out of all of them, I like Gatecrashers the best as I find it really handy for taking out guards and opening a path.
The game also comes with a map editor with Steam Workshop integration. It is a feature that I really like in games, since it allows people to keep the game alive for much longer. Gunpoint is a rather short game, and while it has some replayability, that isn’t going to stretch out the game’s length by much. Which is a shame, since there are a lot of fun mechanics and fancy ways to use them. The Steam Workshop integration gives the game much more value, although just like most Steam Workshop entries, actually good levels requires a bit of digging.
Gunpoint is a stealth game with interesting mechanics, a rather decent plot and really good gameplay. It is more action-oriented than most stealth games, but I’m not complaining, it does makes things more interesting as I rugby-tackled a guard out of a window. My only complain is that it is really quite short. Other than that, do give it a go! You can download a PC demo from the Steam store entry to see if it’s your cup of tea.
Besides, do you know that you’ll receive a Genuine Crosslinker’s Coil in TF2 with every purchase of Gunpoint?