Standpoint, the first game by Unruly Attractions, is a puzzle game with gravity shifting powers and gameplay not too unlike Portal or Shift set in a labyrinth of puzzles. Following the different stages of Grief, the player must make it through all the tragic parts of a person’s life to finally reach acceptance.
The main character has suffered a loss, mainly told to use by the intro stage of Loss, and from what is told to the player through the first few stages it could be something the narrator was involved in. The first few secret orbs will tell you more and more of the overarching story and the in-between parts of what is told to you during the levels.
The levels are set in stages Grief with the first being the theme of Loss, then following on through Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance with several segments for each stage. As you progress, so does the difficulty and the story along with it, the narrator becoming a bit more hysterical as you progress.
This story plot of someone’s mind, especially distressing feelings like Grief or death has been done a few times before, mostly in Global Game Jams, but this is a first for Gravity Shifting to be used to pass through a maze.
Each stage lasts around an hour, if you figure it out fast enough, totally at around 4-6 hours depending on your skill level with puzzle games. However there are secrets in almost every level for you to find and pick up to unlock more of the story which will increase your playtime. Sadly there isn’t much in the way of replay ability for this game.
The keys are very simple and easy to pick up, WASD for movement with the left click for switching to a targeted surface and right click being used for the ability you currently have. The majority of the game is spent switching to different surfaces to avoid hazardous surfaces, both stationary and moving. Hitting a dangerous surface will reset you at the last checkpoint you reached, displayed by a wall of floating blue orbs.
The first level throws static obstacles at you to teach you how to play the game, then moving onto moving platforms of different shapes that require you rotating around to go through the holes, then hazardous surfaces are thrown in as well. The game also forces you to think much harder when glass comes in to play as you will velocity to break through glass walls, which means you will need to drop from a certain distance onto the glass wall, which isn’t always straight forward. Orbs of gravity shifting will also be used throughout, which will push you in a direction and shift your gravity that way, without the ability to change in mid-air you must move yourself in the right direction.
Besides the levels changing and the amount of obstacles you will also have to press on pressure pads that will be placed on every wall. These buttons will open doors for a set amount of time, or indefinitely, or spawn a box that you will need to move around for hold down another pressure pad. The boxes themselves have their own gravity, and changing your gravity won’t change theirs so you will need to have them within arm’s reach to pick them up. Using these boxes can be confusing at first, but their design is pretty interesting and make the levels feel more fun than if there was more obstacles to overcome.
Final Thoughts and Feelings
I previewed this game quite a while ago and was hopeful to see what the developers would do with this game, but I am slightly disappointed with the final outcome. While the narration has been improved and the puzzles have been tidied up there doesn’t feel like enough variation in the levels and their puzzles. Sometimes a puzzle is overly stretched out with winding corridors which just feels like the game is being lengthened without purpose.
The style of Standpoint has been improved in the final release, colours fitting each other better and the particles on surfaces and objects are much higher quality than previously. The games aesthetic fits together very well and I couldn’t find an out of place model or texture, the hidden rooms are also well designed with only 1 or 2 hints as to where they could be which makes finding them rather rewarding. The graphic style, while clean and professional looking, can get dull quite quick, but as you traverse the different stages it doesn’t detach too must from the world
Overall Standpoint gets a 3/5, it fails to stand tall against all the other puzzle and maze games, the game becomes rather repetitive and the length isn’t justified by the uniqueness of the levels. Backtracking and moving around gets boring rather quickly with the run-around answers to the conundrums you face in the levels. Secrets are placed perfectly and really feel rewarding when you finally get them and the story reveals itself at an appeasing pace. It could be hard to keep interest in this game due to its minimalistic look and feel.
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Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.