Everyone has experienced loss at some point in their life, and have experienced the five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Unruly Attractions’ Standpoint takes you through each of these stages in a colourful, and complex, first-person physics puzzler.
The premise is a simple one, make your way through each level while manipulating gravity and overcoming obstacles with a tap of the trigger. However, with the challenges Standpoint presents you, the way to the end is never entirely clear, and the path is littered with a multitude of hurdles in your way.
Visually, Standpoint is stunning, but in a minimalistic way. Full of bright colours, and rich environments, it is a feast on the eyes. Each set of levels portray each emotion perfectly, with complimentary colour palettes to represent each stage. However, I did find sometimes that the base colour scheme of some levels made it harder to recognise the pitfalls and challenges I was expected to overcome. For example, in the Anger stages, with their bright red walls, it was often impossible to see where the instadeath lasers were, resulting in some frustrating failures. But, I never truly felt that any failure was cheap, and was almost entirely down to user error.
The soundtrack of Standpoint is a perfect mix of light electronica and classical, which is reminiscent of the music from Minecraft, and creates the relaxing ambiance required to work through the many puzzles you will face. Each level’s music represents the emotion perfectly, and marries with the visual style effortlessly. It’s a soundtrack I would be very keen to listen to on a day-to-day basis.
Standpoint doesn’t present a traditional storyline, which confused me at first, as with previous games of this type that have often relied on a strong storyline to move you through the game. Instead, you are guided through each level by a voice, a voice who is trying to come to terms with each stage of grief, asking the questions many ask when coping with loss. This narrative also offers subtle hints to help overcome each obstacle, such as stating when things are not always as they seem, during a level where walls would disappear depending on your orientation. I thought this worked incredibly well, as it made me take notice of what was being said, instead of focusing purely on the challenge ahead, something I have been guilty of many times in the past.
There is a great mix of challenges to face with each level set, from dodging lasers and using environmental elements to accessing hidden areas and solving puzzles with either orientation or cubes (yes, your friendly cube is back). Each stage follows a similar style of challenge, enabling the player to adapt to that particular obstacle, and increases the difficulty as you progress. One such example is the use of switches to open doors, and using boxes to hold the switch for longer, enabling clear passage through the level. Later in the stage, you will be required to use multiple boxes to activate multiple switches to progress. It is a fair learning curve, and as I mentioned before, any mistakes made are 90% due to user error, and never through cheap and unfair design.
Overall Standpoint is a great game to while away an afternoon or two, and offers a great challenge to anyone who enjoys a physics-based puzzler. The mix of bold visuals, relaxing soundtrack, puzzles and challenges, is available to download on Xbox One for £7.99.
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