Level 22: Gary's Misadventure
Platform:PS Vita (PSN), Developer: NoeGo Games, Publisher: Moving Player
Disclaimer: The code for this PS Vita game was obtained for free, from a source that had obtained it for free from the developer.
Level 22: Gary's Misadventure is a top down Stealth game built in the Unity game engine that has made the transition from iOS to a fully fledged platform experience. Gary is running late for work, again, and this time if he is caught then he's finished. He must use a variety of clever items and strategies to evade his colleagues and boss to make it to his office safely on Level 22.
Although this premise is simple, its very clever. It gives the player an immediate understanding of the goals and stakes of the game and through the first 5 levels teaches you about how to use the tools at your disposal to succeed in this conveniently designed for stealth work place environment. Here the wonderfully simple controls come into play, it quickly becomes second nature to tap the D-Pad to pull out a gadget to save the day be this a doughnut to distract security guards or the Metal Gear homage that is the cardboard box, Gary has plenty of visually pleasing and easy to understand items to use.
Level 22 invokes nostalgic feelings with its stylised Pixel art and frankly perfect chip tune soundtrack. The animations are smooth and work perfectly for the gameplay with cones of vision and alerts very easy to see and hear on the Vita's crystal clear OLED screen. The performance is also a big plus with smooth level transitions, Scrolling and frame rate a testament to the developers use of the sometimes unfairly criticised Unity Engine. All in all the technical aspects of the game just add to the overall fun experience here.
Beyond the aforementioned premise the only other story element is present in simple Text cut scenes between Gary and a former employee of his workplace. This character acts as a guide and comedic partner and this works well. Scattered throughout the levels are Easter egg-esque figures for Gary to return to his friend, these range from a Batman (The Dark Bat) figure early on to more obscure ones as you go through. These collectables are fun additions and finding them all in each level adds to the replay value. Most of the Trophies are also tied to these collectables so for trophy hunters this is certainly one of the better PSN titles around.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Level 22. Every aspect of the design is top notch and makes for a very inviting game to play, especially on the go on the PS Vita. Its Short length is dependent on player skill but the game doesn't punish you for this and encourages experimentation
Final Verdict: Gary's Misadventure is a great little title that uses lessons learnt from its peers to create a masterful small screen experience. It's Low price, High quality design and Fantastic soundtrack prove beyond doubt that a smaller budget does not make an inferior game.