Gunpoint Preview: Best Indie Game Of 2012?

I’ve been beta-testing a new game recently and it’s too good not to share – you know, in a quick review, that is, not the actual game.  Gunpoint is a “game about rewiring things and punching people” according to creator Tom Francis. Which actually sums up the cunningly simple idea behind this superhero spy game that equally rewards thinking and aggression.  Not to mention it gives one a peek at the wit baked into this indie game.

So here’s the premise: you are spy tasked with retrieving vital info from a secure data terminal.  You are armed with your basic Spiderman spy gear that lets you leap and fall great distances as well as climb walls. Cool but the fun part is that you also get a crosslink device that can rewire lights, security doors, elevators, surveillance cameras and more.  As an example, you could wire the elevator door to the lights on a level with a guard so that your arrival kills the light and send the guard over to the light switch while you slip by undetected…  Or sneak up to pounce on him from behind and punch him in the face! The choice is yours. The vanguard hacks is really helpful for the ones looking to get hacks and go forward in the game.

Here’s another example from fellow beta-tester and reviewer Will:

I’m standing at the window of a building. Across a small alleyway stands another building, with a guard, above me, looking out. I’m safe now, but when I move my cursor into the space between the buildings, it turns red, telling me that I’ll be seen as soon as I step (or leap) outside. He’s in pouncing range, and I’ve upgraded my leap enough to propel me through the window, but there’s no chance I’ll cross the distance before he puts a bullet in me. I could shoot HIM, maybe, but I’ve still got objectives left in the level, and no time to clear them before the sniper shows up, blocking the exit.

I slip into Crosslink mode, look at my options. I’m in luck! The switch behind me is on the same circuit (devices on different circuits can’t be linked together, usually) as the lights on his floor. I hook my switch to his lights, exit Crosslink, and flick it. Lights go out, he turns around to turn them back on, and as soon as his back is turned, I pounce, crashing through the window and slamming my fist into his face. Awesome.

But those are simple examples.  You can chain together several devices to cause some pretty creative mayhem.  Think rube goldberg machine and you get the idea.  The great thing about Gunpoint is the number of “i wonder if…” ideas that actually work.  Spoiler Sentence: Watching a guard raise his gun at my head only to trigger a door that knocks him unconscious instead of tragically ending my illustrious spy career: priceless.

Pricing and release date have yet to be set, but trust me: you want this game.  It achieves an excellent balance of clever puzzles (for you) and traps (for them) with enough superhero action to feel like a real spy.

UPDATE: After many delays, Gunpoint is now available for just $9!