One of the most interesting titles at the recent EA showcase was also one of the most undersung. EA Partners have teamed up with indie studio Trapdoor to produce an odd and anarchic experience that blurs the line between cute, cuddly characters and psychopathic, bloodsoaked violence. Since little was known about this quirky puzzler before last November, we were naturally itching to try it out for ourselves.
As it turns out, Warp is looking good even at this early stage.
Players take control of a truly adorable little lab experiment/monstrosity who has the power to teleport a short distance. Players use the twinstick formula to amble around and rotate a small reticle that indicates the destination of your warp. A quick button press later and you'll instantly appear at your target - teleporting through walls or behind enemies in the process.
Ah, yes. Enemies. As soon as you escape the first laboratory testing chamber, you'll have to contend with roving patrols of armed guards and panicky, helpless scientists (who can still raise the alarm if more powerful antagonists happen to be around). My first instinct was to use the unique teleportation mechanic to manoeuver around behind them; keeping out of sight by hiding in their blind spot and warping through walls before they reached the end of their patrol route. Stealth is incredibly important as a single enemy bullet will kill you stone dead, putting the emphasis on working out the best route through any given selection of rooms.
However, the Trapdoor rep was keen for me to try something else. When the reticle is centred on an enemy soldier or scientist, you can warp inside them, causing them to convulse in paroxysms of horrible agony as you occupied. I was instantly surprised at the sudden gritty realism of the source material and the odd juxtaposition with the cutesy character... and then, with a smile on her face, the rep told me to waggle the thumbstick. So obligingly, I did. And the hapless scientist erupted into a gory fountain of blood, bones and gibs.
It was awesome.
This was one of the most satisfying videogame kills I've ever pulled off - and Trapdoor were quick to assure me that plenty of rumble would make it even more addictive. However, you'll need to pick your targets carefully as roving guards will shoot their own comrades to stop them suffering this grisly fate, killing you in the process. There'll likely be an award or achievement for completing the game without slaughtering anyone, but trust me, you'll be having too much fun to manage this the first time around.
Players can also teleport inside objects such as barrels or batteries. As well as being a great place to hide (either for a stealthy infiltration or waiting for an enemy meat puppet to stroll within range), you can rattle the container to provoke guards into investigating the source of the noise. Blowing up the barrel causes enemies to be briefly stunned; providing a window of escape or brutal, horifying murder. Your choice. Coupled with the ability to quickly chain teleport jumps together, this will provide some interesting tactical depth as well as multiple ways to complete the same set of rooms.
In terms of graphics, Warp looks good (if a tad grainy) despite likely being several months from release. The visuals are crisp and clean, though the sterile art style is overtly reminiscent of the likes of Portal and 'Splosion Man at this stage. Hopefully we'll get the chance to leave the lab and explore some more colourful environments before the game runs its course.
A 2011 launch is currently "the dream" for Trapdoor games, and we'll keep you up to date with the latest. It's slated for a multiplatform release on PC, PSN and XBLA.