Warp Hands-On Preview

Imagine a truncated, more adorable version of the Wiggler from the Mario Bros. series. Sound sweet? Now give him the ability to phase short distances through walls, barrels, and other inanimate objects. Still cute? Now imagine that the little bug wreaks vengeance on his human captors by warping into their bodies and literally exploding them from the inside, smearing the nearby walls with gallons of blood and fractured body parts, knees and teeth notwithstanding. It’s still awfully precious, isn’t it?

That’s the surprising premise behind EA Partners and Trapdoor Inc.’s downloadable title, Warp, which puts players in the shoes of a teleporting bug with the objective of navigating a prison of a research lab. While Trapdoor was light on narrative details, there did appear to be some corpses similar to that of the player’s bug on a research table, which may imply that it isn’t alone. Other than that, the goal seems to be to escape, though it’s likely that the lab is as labyrinthine as a dungeon crawler, so expect most of the game to take place there.

Moving around the lab starts simply; a series of doors can be phased through, or pipes and energy shields can be avoided by similar, more cleverly planned phases. This will likely be a solid portion of play, especially when these obstacles can be strung together or connected with lasers or moving platforms.

The other half of the game comes in “combat,” where in order to get from room to room, certain scientists or armed guards have to be, frankly, exploded. This can be done by standing near an enemy, phasing into them, then wiggling the left analog stick until the victim turns into pools of human goo. The environment can also be utilized to take out enemies by exploding nearby barrels to stun them or shaking one enemy long enough to make his partner open fire on the possessed body. There’s a really surprising amount of nuance involved in the body-snatching combat and it looks like the careful level design in Warp will attempt to make full use of every bit of the mechanic while also giving players options when approaching an encounter.

The demo for Warp was brief but revealing. The deceptively adorable lead character plays well against the intense acts of violence it can commit, and the close quarters with carefully organized rooms make for a puzzle-oriented approach to movement and combat. If this wasn’t on your radar before PAX East, it is now. Warp will exploding onto Xbox LIVE Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC this summer.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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