For iOS gaming to enter an even deeper dimension, angry bird watchers and candy crushers may have to step to the side and actually let the big boys play. Hours of addicting touch and tap play is fine and dandy, but profundity is obviously lost in the process. Republique, whose origins stem from a successful Kickstarter campaign, goes straight our guts and world weary souls with a totalitarian nightmare, and in the process, offers up a little hope.
Hope is actually the heroine, and by turns victim, in this deliciously mind bending tale. The first moments focuses on a close-up of her face, as she begs us to save her from A Clockwork Orange type fate. She needs her mind fully intact to bring down her oppressors, and since we inexplicably have access to the building’s cameras, we can lead her past Republique’s guards and a possible safe haven. Don’t expect a Lara Croft style introduction to Hope, as she’s a frightened little bird from the get-go.
Due to its intricate structure and its stealth based mechanic, Republique does have a healthy learning curve. Tapping on an eye icon, located on the upper right hand of your device, will switch your perspective to OMNI view, and under this feature have a clearer perspective on how to elude Hope’s captors as well as have the ability to obtain different items which aids her progress.
Although her initial talents start off with an uncanny ability at sneaking, she can also pickpocket guards and pepper spray them. She also has a cell phone that consistently needs to be recharged at various battery stations (I’m guessing she’s an iPhone user). Balancing Hope’s movements, as well as managing your own multitasking decisions, isn’t the easiest of tasks, but it’s par for the course for a game that demands your full attention. Here’s an OMNI view show as our heroine tries to elude a guard.
During your trial run, you may be caught hiding in plain sight. Thankfully, the game doesn’t end with your miscues, and instead you’re placed into a select holding cell. If you’ve passed a certain stage and immediately are detected, you might be placed in an entirely different room which, depending on your progress, will save you a few extra steps. Since you have the power to unlock these prison doors, detection isn’t such a bad thing, especially since all that alone time may help you devise an entirely different strategy. As soon as this idiot leaves the cell, Hope will fly the coop once again.
What gives this adventure flight is its bold, storytelling flair. The idea of a government that monitors our very movements is an oft-used theme that, under less imaginative hands, comes off as over baked. Thanks to their deft mixture of inspired game play and first rate storytelling, the Republique developers have crafted a near perfect (and conspiratorial) souffle.
The $4.99 price tag is just for the first episode in this epic storyline, and it’s $14.99 if you want to purchase the season pass. Even though most apps are either free to play or a couple of bucks to download, Republique is a AAA experience you really don’t want to miss, especially if you want to push your mobile or tablet to its creative limits.
Along with such titles as Year Walk, Hero of Many, and Infinity Blade III, Republique is proof that you don’t need a PC or a high end console to enjoy a visually arresting storyline. Taking a glance at Hope’s pained and expressive face is a great way to open the first chapter, and thankfully the graphics retain a similar power throughout the adventure. The government may always keep us under its watchful eye, and Republique explores a perverse wish fulfillment with its we can make a difference message. I don’t know if this app is a fairy tale or a reflection of some unspoken truth, and maybe it just doesn’t matter. As long as we play the game, everything should fall into place.