Interference Combines Mark Of The Ninja, Cyberpunk

By Nathan Grayson on October 11th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

Many games let you hack things. Too many, I might argue, especially when the result is some half-baked mainframe-smoking minigame. Interference, however, is taking a far more interesting approach, allowing you to hack reality in order to stealthily maneuver around dead-eyed killbots in a cyberpunk noir sidescrolling world. Basically, think Mark of the Ninja, but levels are both playgrounds for the fleet-footed and Rubik’s Cubes for the gargantuan-brained. It’s a neat setup, but based on a newly released free demo, it still needs a fair amount of work.

I do wonder why no one carries umbrellas in these cyberpunk noir worlds, seeing as global warming or some other nefarious force has ensured that gloomy rains pitter-patter perpetually. Maybe future augments keep skin desert-dry at all times or something – although that sounds… equally unpleasant.

At any rate, Interference’s mechanical foundations are solid, but the demo left me wanting. For one, I found stealth to be more or less unforgiving, which forced a number of frustrating trial-and-error-heavy situations. Areas offered multiple paths (well, one or two, anyway) but not multiple approaches. Regardless of which path I chose, I had to quickly react to barrages of robots, lasers, and other obstacles directly.

Mark of the Ninja’s influence was clear in these sections, but that game’s brilliance lied in its openness to cold, calculated pre-planning, feet-pajama-soaking improv, and everything in between. Now, maybe Interference’s goal is to specialize in tough-as-nails trial-and-error. If so, more power to it, but that’s not really something I personally enjoy. And maybe later levels are more interesting, but I can only judge what I played.

Hacking, similarly, seemed to revolve around singular “correct” solutions. The demo’s levels basically were Rubik’s Cubes. They started out as jumbled, impassable series of obstacles, and I had to solve them. That’s fine (and even fairly interesting, in some cases), but I couldn’t help but feel like there was a rich vein of untapped potential pulsing just beneath the surface. What if Interference not only offered multiple paths of actual consequence, but I could also create them myself? Sure, it’d probably leave the game ripe for the breaking, but as is, out-of-order levels just felt like an artificial extra step. Fix level, then proceed as you normally would in any other game, etc. Again, this element of the game didn’t strike me as bad, per se. Just lacking. Flavorless.

Interference’s ideas are intriguing and its world is striking, but I really, really hope it opts to push further. It has all the tools to become something really special. It just, you know, should maybe think about rearranging them first.

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16 Comments »

  1. Turkey says:

    I don’t mind trial and error stealth as long as the game puts you right back in the action as soon as you fail. Is it good about that stuff?

  2. blobb says:

    It seems more of a Gunpoint ripoff to me. Except this guy seems to have focused more on the visual style and cutscenes rather than getting his gameplay mechanic developed fully.

    • Lemming says:

      You didn’t watch the trailer then, because I didn’t see anything that resembled Gunpoint.

      • blobb says:

        Nothing about the ”switching into a blueprint-style blue-tinted hacking overlay” resembled the Crosslink to you, no?

        • Lemming says:

          Nothing about moving actual chunks of the room around resembled remotely opening doors and switching lights on and off, is more what I was thinking.

          • tetracycloide says:

            You’re thinking about it in too finite terms IMO. The thing that make the two similar is that they both closely resemble what would normally happen during high level development. Gunpoint took the ‘map objects to other objects’ part and made it a game mechanic. This one took ‘level design’ and made it a game mechanic. Both kinda look like game high level development tools when they’re in their ‘editor’ mode. Both feel like they’re exposing part of the game editor to the player as the core game mechanic. Just my $0.02 having also thought ‘Gunpoint’ about 10 seconds into the trailer.

    • waaaaaaaals says:

      To me, it seems much closer to Stealth Bastard than it does to Gunpoint.

      I have to agree with Nathan about the hacking, it feels like those rather bland picture slide puzzles, which is a shame.

    • Viroso says:

      Saw neither gunpoint nor mark of the ninja. For me it looks like a block pushing puzzle game mixed with platforming. Mark of the Ninja, and I assume Gunpoint too because I haven’t played it yet, relied on fast movement. The faster you took Mark around the levels the more fun it was.

      This one seems like the kind of game you gotta stop, think, try again, and it seems like it’s split between many screens so you can have them work as individual puzzles.

    • karthink says:

      Question: When you say “ripoff”, are you implying that this game copied an idea from Gunpoint, and that it wouldn’t have this hacking mechanic (or whatever it “ripped off”) if Gunpoint did not exist?

      Because I’m reasonably sure this game and Gunpoint must have been in development concurrently. (I have a similar question for those who claim the new Thief looks like a Dishonored ripoff.)

      As for the comparison itself, I agree with you. It reminds me of Gunpoint to the extent that both games seem to be about manipulating (and possibly subverting) your environment to move a character around.

    • tetracycloide says:

      Ripoff seems completely unfair. They both seem like ideas of the same kind, take a part of the editor and make it the core game mechanic, but still distinctly different ideas.

  3. Lemming says:

    Did it look to anyone else like it was Scorpion and Sub-Zero having a little chat in their down-time at the start, there?

  4. Shooop says:

    …maybe Interference’s goal is to specialize in tough-as-nails trial-and-error.

    And interest immediately irrevocably dead. To hell with that kind of half-assed game design. If a developer can’t tell the difference between challenge and difficulty they shouldn’t be allowed to make games.

  5. Rane2k says:

    Actually, the rain is only a hologram, to highlight the ever-present neon lights.

    The game looks interesting, but hopefully the hacking-mechanic isn´t just a one-trick-pony and is explored better throughout the game (e.g. introducing moving elements into the puzzles, something like that)

  6. DapperDirewolf says:

    Looks cool. Love cyberpunk stuff.

  7. jadejada849 says:

    I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,,,,●►●►●►●►▶ http://www.max68.com

  8. Gildon says:

    I for one think this is very similar to another game whose name I cannot remember.

    If I’m not mistaken, you play a robot. It’s a puzzle platformer; you move around and have to face “door” puzzles that block your way. You need to move stuff around (IIRC it involves physics) to match wires and complete circuits. It has very rough animations.

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