Gunpoint

Key events

Hide your purse, Steam is having a stealth-game sale

Eldritch 99p! Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon 3! Monaco 1.86!

I wonder: do you end up saving money in sales or spending more because things are on sale? Regardless, Steam is having a sale, a stealth-game sale, which lasts until Friday, 16th October, 6pm BST.

Get $50 GameMaker: Studio for free!

And make your own Hotline Miami.

Usually you have to pay $50 for it, but for a while the Standard Edition of GameMaker: Studio - a game making tool would you believe - is currently free.

The universal systems of Tom Francis

Gunpoint's developer used to be a critic, but this game was always building up inside him.

The last time I remember spending any proper time with Tom Francis was in early 2010. We were both in San Francisco to cover the announcement of BioShock 2 - he was there for PC Gamer and I was covering it for Eurogamer - and he is one of two people who I remember vividly from that trip.

Gunpoint review

Gunpoint review

Socket to 'em.

Puzzle games tend to be prescriptive by nature. There's a solution, carefully put in place by the designer, and your job is to work it out. It's less "how do I want to solve this?" and more "how am I supposed to solve this?" Gunpoint is different. It is a puzzle game at heart, but it's refreshingly relaxed about how you tackle its navigational challenges.

You play as Richard Conway, freelance spy. He's hired by various clients to break into secure buildings and steal their secrets. If that concept immediately makes you jump up and down and say, "Ooh! Ooh! Just like Sega's Bonanza Bros!" then congratulations, you've got a head start in understanding the gameplay. You view Conway in dinky side-on pixel art, and must work out the best way to get him from his starting point at the left of the level, through the building in question to his prize, and then safely to the subway station on the right hand side of the stage.

Blocking your path are ruthless security guards who will shoot you dead on sight and a bewildering array of locked doors, motion sensors, alarms and other gizmos. Making life easier is Conway's unusual athleticism. He can tumble from any height without dying - as evidenced when we first meet him, catapulting from his window - and he also has special "Bullfrog" trousers that allow him to make enormous charged leaps. He can climb up sheer walls and hang from ceilings. Imagine if Humphrey Bogart played Spider-Man and you'll be on the right track.

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VideoHere's a fresh look at Gunpoint

Puzzling indie hacker set to release next week.

Do you remember Bonanza Bros.? The Sega game was one of those classics that stands alone, and there've been few games like it ever since. I think it's fair to say that Tom Francis, PC Gamer writer turned developer, most likely recalls it. His game, Gunpoint, is a good deal smarter and more stylish than the 1990 Mega Drive game, but it's hard not to be reminded of it when looking at Gunpoint's cross-sectioned levels and its mini-heists that play out with no small amount of slapstick.

Full Leftfield Collection line-up unveiled for Rezzed

Thomas Was Alone, Drunken Robot Pornography and others among final selection.

We've already told you a little bit about the Leftfield Collection, our special line-up of indie titles set to be playable in a large space at the heart of Rezzed, but today we're able to unveil the full line-up of games that make up the Collection.

Rezzed's huge indie Leftfield Collection announced

Rezzed's huge indie Leftfield Collection announced

First confirmed titles include Gunpoint, McPixel, Gateways and BaraBariBall.

So you can play games like Far Cry 3 and Borderlands 2 at Rezzed next month (6th/7th July, Brighton Centre), but it's the PC and Indie Games Show, so where's all the indie?

Well, let me tell you. There will be hefty presences for games like the above, but at the centre of the show floor will be a massive indie arcade we're calling the Leftfield Collection.

The Leftfield Collection will be nothing but indie goodness. We've got 2D heist platformer Gunpoint by the lovely Tom Francis; McPixel by Mikolaj Kaminski, where players have to stop things exploding; amazing Portal-inspired 2D title Gateways, by Smudged Cat Games; multiplayer sports game BaraBariBall by Noah Sasso; and the likes of Trash TV by Lawrence Russell and QRTH-PHYL by Hermit Games.

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Gunpoint Preview: Rewiring the Action Puzzle Game

Gunpoint Preview: Rewiring the Action Puzzle Game

How Deus Ex inspired an indie game about electricians.

Several months ago Tom Francis, whom you should know from his writing for PC Gamer, went to Seattle to interview the team at Valve. When he sat down with Gabe Newell and Erik Wolpaw, something really weird happened. They asked him how his game was coming along.

His game, as it happens, was coming along pretty well. I saw a rough demo of it at around the same time, and I've just now played the newest version, which has art by John Roberts and Fabian van Dommelen, music by Ryan Ike, Francisco Cerda, and John Robert Matz, a new mission structure that ties its individual levels together in a witty fashion, and an IGF nomination for excellence in design. Newell probably wants to kick him in the nuts, frankly.

The game's called Gunpoint, and it's a stealthy action-puzzler in which you play a secret agent for hire, breaking into hi-tech buildings and stealing various cyberpunk MacGuffins. It's the future as rain-slicked corporate nightmare, but the game looks more like The Spy's Guidebook than Bladerunner. Meanwhile, with its 2D cross-sectioned levels and flashes of nasty humour, it feels a little like a grown-up version of Bonanza Bros. And that's a compliment.

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