WARP review for XBLA

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
Also on: PSN, PC
Publisher: EA
Developer: Trapdoor Games
Medium: Digital Download
Players: 1
Online: No

Once in a great while there are games that need no real in-depth story-telling, no derivative plot points and no character names – just a simple premise is enough to really play out a game and make it memorable. WARP is one of those games that provides just enough knowledge of what is happening in your surroundings, yet never dwells on dialog or is script heavy, but still makes its point.

In WARP, you are simply a captured alien who has been taken from his home world and shipped back to earth to be subjected to experiments. In the process of these harsh experiments, you have had the portion of your being taken away that had given you powers. You are dazed and confused, but with the help of another alien life form, you are guided to reclaim your abilities, find an escape route, while in turn, helping other organisms like yourself be freed from the clutches of the humans.

Upon some basic tests by the humans, you reclaim what little power you have, which is the ability to warp into or through certain things. What makes this such a threat to the humans is that you can actually warp inside their bodies, do a little wiggling, and make them explode. This of course is not your intention as you are just trying to find freedom. You come across this power by accident as you can also perform this trick on other objects, such as barrels which you try to use not only for cover, but transport as well. The fact that you can pop people like a balloon makes defending yourself a bit easier from the threats that the humans create. Of course, now the humans are scared so they amp up the security with guns, turrets, and even special forces to hunt you down, take away your power, and continue to treat you like a guinea pig for research purposes. You can?t let this happen.

WARP is part platformer, but mostly a puzzle game that tasks you to find a way to escpae the facility all together. Controlling your little guy is easy, move it around by using the left stick, get stealthy by clicking down on left stick and warp with the A button to areas that are highlighted with a yellow marker. Later on you gain upgrades such as echo that allow you can create another version of yourself as a diversionary tactic, or launch yourself while inside an object to become a weapon for unwarpable objects.

Beyond the game?s story levels are a slew of challenge levels to keep you playing beyond the aforementioned rescue missions. These are accessible after unlocking them throughout your initial journey, and you can even sample them during this time, but at least you are provided with some elements to play beyond the game?s rather short campaign. What?s more, you are rewarded with leaderboard scores that pit you up against friends in such categories like frags, warps, humans killed, distance traveled, and much more to encourage your pursuit of these challenges since there is no real online play or multiplayer to be had. The lack of online or multiplayer is WARP?s only real glowing omission, but who knows, with a little success from this title, we may see a sequel with maybe more of a Bomberman style feel to it.

Overall, WARP is a definite must play, as the game plays great, has some mind twisting challenges and puzzles, and provides enough replay value thanks to challenges and leaderboards. The only real question is whether or not it is for you, and to that, all I can say is play the demo, and if you dig that…the rest of the game is gravy.

Grade: B