Developer: Camouflaj
Price: $4.99 (Discounted Season Pass $14.99)
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Provocative Kickstarter project Republique has finally seen the light of day. Or at least, it’s awoken and has yet to have the caffeine kick in. As of right now the first episode of five is available, and on its own merits there are some intriguing elements, but not much in the way of actual payoff.

Republique_In_Game_APlayers act as an unknown entity assisting the protagonist Hope as she tries to escape “recalibration” in the eponymous dystopia. Players tap on the screen to command Hope to move to certain places and to interact with objects and the enemies, known collectively as Prizrak. As well, the player can jump between security cameras using the Omni-View to help get different perspectives.

Stealth is the order of the day: Hope must sneak past her captors or get thrown in the brig. Escaping is quite easy, and considering the battery that powers special Omni-View functions can be recharged from the brig, it can be convenient!

Cooper, who sort of serves as a helper and a deus ex machina at times, is the most charming character, even though he talks purely through text-to-speech. Hope can pickpocket Cooper’s lost games from guards, and the games represent actual games – mostly mobile and some fellow Kickstarter projects. Cooper gushes about them in a meta-fictional way, and along with some of the goofy details of the guards, who have the names and faces of Kickstarter backers, it makes for a rather goofy dystopia!

Republique_In_Game_EWhile Camouflaj makes a crack about virtual controls through Cooper, considering how difficult it is to control Hope,I don’t think they have any standing to mock. The security camera angles often make it difficult to tell where Hope is in relation to the guards and to move her to safe spots. Hope isn’t completely hopeless, as she does intelligently move slightly to make sure guards can’t see her, but it definitely feels quite clunky at times.

Really, Republique is incomplete; which makes sense for it being the first episode of five. There’s just the bare bones of what could be a larger experience, and hints that maybe this will become something cool down the road. The production values are evident in the graphics and competent voice acting, but it all kind of feels like a 2-3 hour tutorial.

Camouflaj claims in a preview video that the second episode is the one where things really start to kick in, and I want to see if that’s the case. I’m somewhat intrigued to find out what happens and if the game evolves into something more, but on the merits of this episode alone it’s hard to recommend at the moment. Though the discount on the five episode season pass may be hard to pass up for people who are just intrigued enough to see this one through, regardless of their feelings.

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