Standpoint is the first game by Unruly Attractions to hit Xbox One. A puzzle game filled with gravity shifting powers and gameplay set in amongst a labyrinth of puzzles, it’s a bit like that found in Q.U.B.E.. Following the different stages of Grief, the player must make it through all the tragic parts of a person’s life in order to finally reach full acceptance.
The main character has suffered a loss, mainly told to you through the intro stage of Loss, and from what you learn, it could well be something the narrator was involved in. The game features two secret orbs scattered around each level and these are used to tell you more about the game story and to fill in the small gaps along the levels narration.
Set throughout the stages of Grief, you’ll begin with a Loss, then follow on through Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. As you progress, so does the difficulty curve and the story along with it, with the narrator becoming more hysterical the further you progress.
The story of someone’s mind, especially those distressed feelings like grief or death have been done numerous times in videogame circles before, but this is a first for a gravity shifting mechanic to be used in order to pass through a maze.
Each stage lasts around an hour, if you figure it out fast enough, with Standpoint maxing out at around six hours depending on your skill level and adeptness with puzzle games. However there are secrets in almost every level for you to find and should you attempt to pick these up, unlocking more of the story as you do so, then your playthrough time will increase tremendously. Sadly there isn’t much else in the way of replayability, except the Time Trials that allow you to repeat each level and set up a timed score on the leaderboards.
The controls are very simple and easy to pick up. The left analog stick controls your movement, with the right letting you check out your surroundings. The right trigger affects gravity and allows you to pick up the boxes. The majority of the game is spent switching to different surfaces to avoid hazardous surfaces; both stationary and moving. Hitting a dangerous surface will reset you to the last checkpoint you reached, displayed by a wall of mysterious floating blue orbs.
The first level throws static obstacles at you as you are taught how to play the game, with you then moving onto moving platforms of different shapes that require you to rotate through holes, before hazardous surfaces are then thrown in as well. Standpoint also forces you to think much harder when glass comes in to play as you will need to utilise velocity in order to break through glass walls, which means you will need to drop from a certain distance onto the glass wall. With many obstacles in play, this isn’t always as straight forward as it sounds. Gravity shifting orbs will also be used throughout, and these push you around, shifting your gravity in numerous ways and without the ability to change mid-air you must move yourself in the right direction.
Besides the changing levels and the amount of obstacles you come across, you will also have to jump on pressure pads that will be placed on every wall. These buttons will open doors for a set amount of time, indefinitely, or spawn a box that you will need to move around prior to holding down another pressure pad. The boxes themselves have their own gravity, and changing your gravity won’t change theirs, so you’ll need to have them within arm’s reach to pick them up. It can be pretty confusing at first but it does all eventually click into place.
For the achievement hunters out there, Standpoint features a total of 11 cheevos, one of which is secret. All except a couple are quite easy to get and should mean that Unruly Attractions have created a game that will suit those looking for a big gamerscore boost.
It must be said, I’m a fan of puzzle games but Standpoint suffers from one of the major problems that often exists – a lack of variation in both the levels and their puzzles, which makes everything a bit repetitive after a while. The hidden rooms are well designed with only a couple of hints as to where they could be, which makes finding them rather rewarding. The graphic style can however get dull fairly quickly, since the only time changes occur is when you move on to a different stage.
Overall and Standpoint fails to stand tall against all the other puzzle and maze games currently on the market. It becomes rather repetitive pretty swiftly and the length just isn’t justified by the lack of uniqueness in the levels. Backtracking and moving around gets boring quickly too. Secrets are placed perfectly though and accomplishing these really feel rewarding when you finally get them. The story itself unravels at an appeasing pace, but the minimalstic look and feel mean interest levels drop rapidly.