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Perspective - Windows (December 12, 2012)

by Gendo Ikari - April 5, 2013


Using changes of perspective in a 3D environment to modify the play area is not a new idea, yet few games employ it because it's difficult to apply, and even then there are often limitations: to name a few, in Super Paper Mario and Fez rotations are 90 degrees only, while in Echocrome you can only rotate the structures on an axis and the mannequin character moves on its own.

Perspective, senior year project of a group of students at the DigiPen Institute of Technology, successfully attempts to go beyond those limits by offering full movement in a 3D area. The game begins with a character - sort of a love child of Mega Man and Tron - on a 2D plane, but he leaves his own arcade machine soon after. With a simple click of the mouse button, control switches between him and a first person perspective entity. Corridors and halls are littered with blue and orange tiles: just decorations in the eyes of the player, platforms to walk on and hurtful lava for the little guy. The objective is to reach an exit gate, but it's not as simple as it looks - literally.

Provided that the guy stays always within the line of sight, the player must constantly adjust the 3D view so that the environment becomes favourable to him. To make a simple example: two blue lines are too distant for the guy when you look from afar but if you hug the wall, the slanted perspective makes the lines appear closer and he'll be able to jump. Is some space too tight for him to fit in? Come closer to the wall and his relative dimension will be smaller than the gap. The game is full of tricks like these, yet it is much simpler than it sounds; controls are kept essential and the transition between 3D and 2D modes is fast and feels natural.

The levels are structured around the rooms of an arcade: every level is a coin-op machine that must be entered and solved; shutters open when all machines in a room are cleared, allowing access to further sections. Later levels introduce moving elements for added challenge, but overall the game isn't difficult, and takes no more than a couple hours to complete. However, aside of the novelty factor, even with no story to speak of there are a couple twists and an ending that are worth the full experience.

Perspective is one of those strokes of genius that video gaming allows us to see every once in a while. Descriptions or still screenshots don't do it justice: it's something that must be seen in motion.

Beware only of reportedly incomplete gamepad support, with certain commands always wired to the keyboard, making the use of some other interface moot. Also, even if DirectX 9 is very dated by now, you have to wonder if such simple (but effective) graphics really needed nothing less than DirectX 11.


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Perspective (Windows)

Perspective (Windows)

Perspective (Windows)

Perspective (Windows)

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