Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Review - Behind You (PlayStation Mobile) Fun indie stealth game for your Vita!

Some games seem to want to remain anonymous. That's the only conclusion I can come to when faced with titles like Behind You, a small indie title I recently stumbled across on the PlayStation Mobile section of the Vita's Store page. You see, I could not find any information on the whole of the interweb regarding this cute, Japanese stealth action affair. It had a release date on Metacritic, but that's all I could find, hence you will see I have had to resort to taking screenshots of the game using my camera phone (yes really)! Though, the irony of a stealth game being hard to track down is not lost on me.

Essentially a top down maze game with stealth elements, Behind You puts you in the little boots of the anime heroin as she sets about trying to rescue her family from a military base filled with stormtroopers. That's all I can tell you about the story as there is barely any text to explain your predicament, and most of it is (rather amusingly) poorly translated. Regardless, you must navigate your way around the top down / isometric floors of the building, knocking out guards from behind and avoiding CCTV cameras. As is the norm, the left thumbstick controls your characters movement, while the right stick is used to rotate the camera, which is essential for being able to see around corners. You can also enter and roam around in first person mode, though this requires the constant holding down of the L-button. 

Behind You is basically a Pac Man clone at heart. You move around the corridors of each floor, trying to find keys to open locked doors, while avoiding the ghosts.. sorry, guards. If you are spotted you can run and find cover until the guards cool down and resume their original patrol route, but this raises the alarm bar at the top of the screen, and should it get to 100% the mission is a failure. Cameras will also raise the alarm, but can be hacked by conveniently located computer terminals, while laser doors must be avoided by closely following a guard through one. Help comes in the form of a pistol and a shotgun, which can only be used in the first person mode, though this is hardly Doom - heck. It's not even Wolfenstein 3D - as you can only score a hit with a gun when text appears above the enemy you are aiming at. My favourite usable item is certainly the folding chair which can be used to prop up an unconscious guard, to which his comrades make a comment about him being a "laid back guy" in fine 'Engrish' fashion.

Visually the game is pretty decent, if a little rough around the edges - the textures are fairly bare-bones, and the environment can appear a little shaky, even glitchy, when moving around - but otherwise it does a pretty decent job of providing immersive stages to explore. The first person mode looks pleasingly retro, reminding me of Flashback's pseudo-sequel Fade To Black when Conrad would go into first person view for combat. The music is pretty weak, however, with some plinky plonky tunes that get very repetitive. Thankfully it doesn't detract too much from the experience as you are generally concentrating too hard on not being spotted by the guards or cameras. 

With only four stages to get through, it won't take you a huge amount of time to get through the game. But each stage consists of multiple floors and, naturally, get much harder as your progress, with more numerous and tougher guards, more cameras and more locked doors, meaning it is no pushover. Overall, Behind You is hardly Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell, but it's a cheap and cheerful stealth game with a retro heart and a good sense of humour. It's engaging enough to keep you playing and challenging enough to keep you coming back until you have beaten it, with extra replay value added in the form of end of stage ratings.

Title : Behind You
Developer : Pon Pon Games
Year : 2014
System : PlayStation Mobile platforms (Vita version played)
Price : £2.79
Genre : Stealth, Action