In the past, digitally-delivered games have often been overshadowed by their more expensive, boxed counterparts, yet anybody who's been following the titles appearing on XBLA and PlayStation Network lately will have seen some amazing games that can proudly hold their own among the CODs, Halos and GTA IVs of this world.
Indeed, at Electronic Arts' Spring Preview there were several contenders for such lofty reckoning - attracting as much attention as Portal 2 and Alice: Madness Returns. Gatling Gears and The Fancy Pants Adventures both had ever increasing crowds huddled around them, but for Pocket-lint, we were most impressed by Warp.
The brainchild of Canadian independent developer Trapdoor, Warp is a top-down puzzle/adventure/action game that has you play a character with a very specific ability, one that's unsurprising if you consider the name of the game.
"We looked at other games, and they always wall off the player," said Trapdoor's Julia Pung to Pocket-lint. "So why not have a game where you can warp through them?"
And that's the single-most integral part of the gameplay. In order to escape the laboratory that the lead character was created (and is being experimented on), you must traverse obstacles by warping through them, in a fashion much like the X-Men's Nightcrawler. Zipping through walls that would normally hamper a conventional games character.
It takes a bit to get used to, though: "We had to put in extra doors to give players a idea where to go," said Pung, as we occasionally forgot that we could just zap through the walls on the demo level. Certainly, thought has gone into every aspect, more so than first realised.
A dark underbelly of humour is also throughout. For starters, the controllable creature can not only warp through objects, but into the lap technicians and guards, with gruesome effect. Warp into a person, waggle the left thumbstick, and "splat", wall pizza.
However, even this ability has been tweaked for gameplay purposes rather than just sadistic ones. The majority of Warp, you see, is about stealth and avoidance. One shot can kill you - there's no health bar - so you need to work out ways of getting around the back of guards and taking them out, rather than facing them directly.
That said, there's no specific way to play the game: "No person has played the level the same way today," said an EA spokesperson at the preview event. "Each one has had a different style."
Maybe he was just being polite to the Lint. Damn our sausage fingers.
Warp with be out in the summer (2011), and will be available on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, via XBLA, PlayStation Network and PC digital download.