Master Spy is everything you could ever want in a 2D platformer. It’s got enough lasers, guard dogs, and patrolling guards to make even the most heinous bond villain feel inadequate. With the game set for launch next year, developers TurboGun have released a demo of the first level, complete with stylish retro cutscenes and 80s spy movie clichés to help set the mood for any sneaky shenanigans.
The basic mechanics of the game are simple enough and easily comparable to most 2D platformers. You control *the* Master Spy, a man gifted with the uncanny ability to jump between platforms and armed with a prototype cloaking suit that renders him invisible to patrolling guards and security cameras alike. Your goal is to reach the exit of each level which requires a keycard to unlock. Naturally this wouldn’t be a fun game without some challenge, so the keycards are usually found at the epicentre of a series of hazards within each stage. Your goal is to weave between each obstacle through a careful mix of well timed jumps and a few toggles of your invisibility gadget.
The controls in this game feel tight. There are a bucket-load of platformers out there that seem to miss the mark when it comes to something as important as responsiveness, but Master Spy nails it with the simple controls and sharp animations. These solid controls will come in handy during later levels which require a more precise approach to your skulduggery. The invisibility mechanic also lends to the overall alchemy of the game, where activating the cloak will cause you to slow down considerably, encouraging a more thoughtful and precise approach than just flailing your sneaky spy avatar around the levels in the hope of winning a ‘Spook of the year’ award.
What I love about Master Spy is the homage it paints to classic titles of days gone by, cast onto the backdrop of pixel art scenery and minimalist cinematic cutscenes. Even the dialogue is enough to take you back to the era of Battletoads story composition, and that’s not a bad thing by any means. “Bad stuff is happening” followed by a swift “It’s a good thing I’m awesome and also the only one who can stop it then” is all anyone will need to dive into this world of hired goons and laser grids.
Master Spy doesn’t ask for much, and what’s already on offer for people to try out is well built and generally fun to play. The game embraces its pixel art and platforming mechanics in a way that compels you to tackle the progressive challenge of each level segment as it comes. With a total of 50 levels across five different environments planned for the final version of the game, if Master Spy maintains the fun factor throughout the project it’ll likely be a hit amongst fans of the genre.
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