It’s nice to finally have a wave of role-playing games flooding the App Store.
Republique, a stealth-action RPG developed by big names, with backing from the Kickstarter Community is yet another drop in this flood.
Based in the state of Metaphorphisis, which has one of those paranoid governments that simply love keeping a close eye on everything, banning and killing people in the name of disrupting peace - a setting unpleasantly close to reality, with mysterious characters such as the ‘Overseer’ and the ‘Headmaster’ ( who, as you’ll later discover, has a rather pompous way of talking), a mysterious young woman (Sigh. The never ending trail of mysteries) is trapped and is in danger of persecution.
Hope (our mysterious protagonist), is about to be ‘recalibrated’ - the same way you would recalibrate a machine to fix it - that was a surprisingly cruel metaphor. All this because she read something ‘she wasn’t supposed to read’, and has been ‘contaminated’. That’s where you, the gamer, comes in. In hopeless despair, Hope puts through a call to you asking for help, and now you have to help guide her escape to safety, collecting items, solving puzzling puzzles and acquiring new abilities all while avoiding the watchful Prizrak (policemen cum guards of sorts), guided by a sympathetic official named Cooper, who communicates via text to speech calls, and funny emoticons.
So how exactly do you go about this arduous, mountain of a task? Well, it turns out, you’re a pretty amazing hacker (actually, you don’t know who you really are. And that’s just creepy), who has managed to hack the state’s surveillance network. Using a technique called Omni View that basically enables you to access the surveillance cameras, adjust their view, you can ‘hop’ from one camera to the other, travelling through the surroundings via these hops, and guiding Hope accordingly, protecting her from danger. And of course, you can expect that your hacking abilities aren’t limited to just that as the game progresses.
The gameplay is unusual, difficult, and takes a bit of time getting used to. Especially the Omni View, which tends to get rather disorienting, with the swivelling of the cameras, and the multitudes of different angles…all the more because the View is in gray scale. The newly introduced ‘Story Mode’ offers a good solution, as it has been designed with a focus on exploration and is claimed to be less challenging than the ‘Normal Mode’.
Whilst loading the game always shows a (very apt) quote by Daniel Zager. I thought he would be some real life revolutionary philosopher, but when searched on the Internet, he turned out to be the ‘Associate Dean of Sibley Music Library’!
Oh well, Republique introduces him as the (now dead) revolutionist against the oppression of the state.
Another interesting point is how throughout the game, you’ll come across names and details of people, along with their committed ‘offences’, who turn out to be actual, real people members of the Kickstarter Community who have helped support this game! A sweet, and fitting way of acknowledgement? Definitely!
The soundtrack, voice acting, graphics and motion are… fluid. A perfect blend with just the right proportions and ingredients. The movement of the cameras, the switching of views, everything, is really smooth, with highly realistic facial expressions, and amazingly full of emotion voice acting, adding to the depth.
The short introductory video a bit after the beginning helps paint the basic foundation of the story quite nicely, and concisely. The irregularity of movement in this video is beautifully realistic.
I especially love the way they’ve designed the home screen, and how the menu has been incorporated into it. There is zero clutter, and everything fits in perfectly with the theme, and with each other.
All that said, Republique might not be everyone’s cup of tea, given its gameplay.However, it definitely has a very unique storyline, and the only way to do it justice is to try out the first episode (there are a total of five episodes), which is free, and see if it suits you. The consequent episodes can be obtained via in-app purchases, or you can simply purchase the ‘Season Pass’ that then lets you have all the episodes, plus developer commentary videos. You can save up to six games simultaneously - handy for shared devices.
Watch Your Step, and stay free.
Download Link: Republique by Camouflaj LLC (itunes.apple.com/us/app/republique/id687888390?mt=8)