Stealth action title Warp pits teleporting alien Zero against scientists and security guards in an underwater laboratory. "Portal meets Metal Gear" is a description bandied about at the game's Montreal-based developer Trapdoor, referring to its science-fiction flavour and puzzle emphasis on one hand, and its top-down, stealth-based play on the other.
The lab complex from which Zero must escape, a network of gleaming white chambers filled with science stuff, could certainly be a seabed outpost for Aperture Science. It's here that Zero finds him(her? it?)self imprisoned in a glass-walled cell, monitored by lab-coated, clipboard-toting technicians. They must not have known about the little alien's ability to "warp"--that is, teleport short distances through space or space-containing walls.
One warp later and he's loose in the lab, free to exercise his explosive second power, "frag." With this, Zero can warp into people or Zero-sized objects and kerplode them from the inside. You waggle the left stick to jostle the hapless host or suitable vessel--waggle enough, and you'll blow them up, producing usefully destructive blasts in the case of explosive barrels, and bloody messes in the case of human victims.
Don't feel bad about the latter. Soon enough you'll spot an alien specimen like Zero dead on some kind of science table. Scientists, eh? And then there are the armed guards, who deserve less sympathy still. These guys have laser-scoped guns and force-field shields, through which Zero cannot warp, making them dangerous enemies. Combat is not an option for the alien critter, so he needs to work towards escape by traversing the lab's rooms with warp-enabled stealth, hopping through walls that aren't protected by force fields, chaining warps from object to object, human to human, object to human, and so on.
Rooms are set up as puzzles with multiple solutions. In one of the simplest, Zero has to destroy a force-field generator by fragging a nearby barrel. In another, this one defended by guards, he can warp in through a wall behind them to get around their shields. In another room, with a couple of scientists and a couple of patrolling guards, Zero can attract the humans' attention by warping into a nearby barrel and giving it a wiggle--but not blowing it up until they all gather around to see. Alternatively, he can nip from the barrel into a guard, another guard, and then away. Humans are left dazed for a short while after being inhabited, giving Zero a few moments to make a dash out of cover.
We're told to expect further abilities later on in the game, promising more complex puzzles as it progresses. But with two of Zero's abilities to work with, Warp already has a neat setup for top-down action puzzling. Nice touches take the visuals beyond ordinary--at one point, while we pan our bird's-eye view across the subaquatic lab, a whale glides through the surrounding water--and the aesthetic blend of cute and clinical, edged with gruesome, is appealing.
Warp is being prepped for release "soon" across Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC by studio Trapdoor in association with the EA Partners program.