Counterspy review

Be the new super spy and save the earth from inevitable doom. Go through buildings, take down guards and defuse the ticking bomb.

See all the games that went straight to my heart, right here!

See all the games that went straight to my heart, right here!

With a very Bond’eske theme song (and music video!), players are introduced to two stupid superpowers with a very bad idea: let’s shoot down the moon! An undercover intelligence do know it’s a bad idea, however, and they send their best spy on to the case; you!

Now you have to prevent them from destroying the humankind; No moon, no life on earth, something about gravity destroying plant life and the environment degrading from there on. As a spy you have to sabotage them both and prevent them from destroying the moon – whatever it takes!

Defcon 1, engage!
The game is in 2D with lots of 3D elements, where you sneak around big mysterious complexes and buildings from beginning to end, gathering the different collectibles as you go. Taking down guards along the way is of course essential, as these complexes is high-level security for a good reason; a rocket launch needs secrets plans for all sorts of things, and these you have to collect to get to know the superpowers plans. However, they are using the same plan, so you don’t have to go through them both before sabotaging their plans, but you can alternate between which superpower to sneak into.

The game sports a Defcon function, ranging from 5 to 0, and that reaches 0, a one minute countdown starts, if that gets to zero before you get to the mainframe, both superpowers launch their rockets; Game over. If you die, the defcon levels rises by one. If you’re within sight of a camera, the defcon rises, and so does it when a guard calls for backup. This can happen during a firefight, or if the guard suspects something (hearing gunshots, spots you, and if they see a corpse). However, whenever you reach the mainframe, the defcon level goes down to the nearest whole number, and aiming on, but not shooting, an officer makes the defcon level go down by one level. You can also collect formulas in the levels, with one lowering the defcon in the next level by one upon starting it.

What is most the most interesting in the game is that the levels are randomly generated, so you’ll get an (almost, explanation follows) unique experience when you replay a level or the entire game. The “almost” part; there’s certain templates the generator uses, so the levels aren’t too different in playing time and difficulty. However, a more vast list of templates would have expanded the replayability by a huge margin.

Aiming in 3D in a 2D game?
They nailed the gameplay, however there’s a few animations, aiming and difficulty problems. The game happens mostly in 2D, but guards can move in 3D as they can move back and forward in the screen – this causes minor issues such as harder to aim on a guard standing in foreground or background, but the auto aiming (to the sides; ie. the 3D part) helps a lot out here for the most part. On the PS4 version I noted that there’s a few clipping issues, while the Vita version (that I played a few weeks ago and no updates yet) has one huge flaw; a memory leak – my theory – that causes the game to get huge framerate drops after 3 or 4 successively played levels. Closing down the application seems to solve the problem, but you will have to sit through the loading screens – worst part about this, it’s taking a lot of time to load the game on Vita than on PS4.

So you avoided the moon getting blasted into oblivion…
The game has a distinctive style, and I like it, however I feel it could have looked better with a bit more eye for detail. With the Vita version suffering from a possible memory leak, and a cross save function, but PS4 version running it’s own trophy list, I have a hard time praising the game to the skies. However, I really enjoyed playing through this game, even in trial and error situations where I had to retry the level a couple of times before being able to beat it. It also seems like the version is the same on all platforms, not dubbed down for the Vita (the long loading times implies this), and I really like the stealth part that the game encourages through guard alerts and defcon levels. If you like 2D platformers and melee takedowns to get to the end, I recommend the game.

Hit; The Bond-style intro hit a very warm spot for me, along with the coversystem and enemy takedowns.

Miss; The small details. Game looks beautiful on Vita, however on the PS4, the small things starts to show.

Need; New Game+ mode to collect all the weapons etc.

This game was mostly played on Playstation Vita, however the Playstation 4 version also got a whirl.

Written by

Getting sucked into games by Super Mario as a kid, gaming got on hold during her teens. Lured into gaming with the 7th generation by GTA IV, and a few years later intrigued by reviewing games, and now she's running gamingirl since 2009.

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