Ever since I got my first Xbox, I’ve loved video games because they let me do things I’d never be able to do in real life. Not without consequences, anyway. I used this privilege thoroughly, spending many hours stealing cars, shooting Nazis, crashing airplanes, and killing my little sister while other people used it to play sports and take care of animals. I’ll never understand those people. Yes, living vicariously through electronic entertainment can be a blast, and a new activity is being added to the ever-growing list of things you can now do consequence-free with No Photos, Please! giving us the ability to take pictures at museums without the risk of getting our cameras and phones confiscated.
No Photos, Please! is a social stealth game in the works from The Basement Studios that has passed Greenlight on Steam, and after playing a few rounds of it with my little sister, I’ve come to the conclusion that it has a lot of potential. Two players share a screen with an isometric view of a museum and race to figure out which of the many 8-bit characters they are controlling. After this, the photographer must phase through each exhibit to take a picture of it, (no, I don’t get how that works either) and the security guard must get within range of the photographer and apprehend him. Anyone who’s played the Assassin’s Creed multi-player will feel right at home with this game. You spend most of your time not knowing which of the many avatars in the room are hunting you or breaking the rules, you have class-specific abilities to combat your opponent, and you have to trick your friend, sister, or mortal enemy into believing that you are just another brainless, computer-controlled drone. I really like the concept. The problem is that the photographer is overpowered.
When playing as the security guard, I won about half the time. When playing as the photographer, I never lost. That includes the time I was blindly fumbling about because I never actually figured out which character I was. There are two main things that contribute to this. One, as the photographer, you don’t really need to know who the other person is. If you act like an NPC, your anti-security abilities will delay the security guard long enough to get all the pictures. As the security guard, you need to figure out which avatar is yours, which one is your opponent’s, and then you need to get close to your opponent without giving away that you are more than another NPC enjoying a day at the museum. The other thing that tilts the game in the photographer’s favour is the time limit. When the photographer takes the first picture, a two-minute timer is started. If the security guard doesn’t find and apprehend the photographer before the timer goes off, the photographer wins. In fact, I found that the easiest way to win as the photographer was to take one picture and run out the clock.
The good thing is that this is Sparta! beta. No Photos, Please! is still in development, and if the classes are balanced, it will be a great game that I’ll have no problem recommending. No Photos, Please! is scheduled for release later this year. For more information or to watch some gameplay videos, check out its Steam page.
© 2014, The Indie Mine. All rights reserved.