Level 22: Gary's Misadventures (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 27.02.2016

Review for Level 22: Gary

Not too many people will remember, but Cartoon Network used to have pretty cool games on its website. These were around in the early 2000s, and while they were short, they were generally addictive. Level 22: Gary's Misadventures is reminiscent of one of these older Internet-based releases, fleshed out into a fairly lengthy and deep experience. Unfortunately, though, the PC controls hold it back from its supreme greatness as a small and fun stealth adventure.

One thing every stealth game needs is excellent controls. The ability to move quickly allows for fast thinking to survive even the most harrowing and tight areas. The PC version of Level 22 doesn't have this ease of access, though, controlling more like Diablo 2 than anything else, and the point and click movement system is incredibly cumbersome, not allowing for the swiftness required for a game of this ilk.

Screenshot for Level 22: Gary's Misadventures on PC

Make no mistake, this is a stealth title through and through. It brilliantly integrates item combination that never makes the player feel stupid. Sneaking past enemies can be somewhat difficult as they can see you even when you can't see them. The game allows for moving the camera around the immediate area, giving more of a view of the surroundings. The trade off, however, is that movement is incredibly irritating and even harder than normal. The isometric view would do better a bit farther out, because checking for enemies either means sacrificing mobility, or not checking or enemies at all.

The only other grievance is Gary's goofy buddy Marty, who is really funny, with the writing really giving a nice humorous tone, but still, Marty's a bit clingy. He acts as the tutorial system, and even a few hours in, he is chiming in regularly, almost once a level. There is no sense of exploration so, instead, every time you get near a new device that can be used in some way, Marty perks up. He then explains everything that could possibly be done with it. The only exception is during boss fights, at which point Marty is almost purposely vague. There is no balance to what he will explain and what he won't, and it's frustrating as it frequently breaks the flow.

Screenshot for Level 22: Gary's Misadventures on PC

The graphics, however, are fantastic. While it sports the retro look, it still brings a degree of colourfulness that really drives the visuals home. The pixels are detailed enough to allow you to really believe these characters exist, but that retro look is still intact. It's the closest to the old Cartoon Network web-based titles, from a graphical point, that most will have ever seen on consoles.

Despite being a fairly rudimentary story, the comedic element is a nice touch. Between Marty and the wacky assortment of item combinations, there's fun to be had everywhere. Some of the humour is a little juvenile (laxatives are very important), but it still gives a little bit of enjoyment.

Screenshot for Level 22: Gary's Misadventures on PC

The level design is absolutely on par, and is definitely the highlight. New mechanics are introduced in one stage and then expanded upon in the next. It all flows well and really helps to solidify the experience of learning how things work and then how to use them in creative ways. It's all very formulaic, and there's not a lot of room to improvise, however, the level's are designed in such a way it doesn't matter.

The final proverbial nail in the coffin is the music, which is fun but highly repetitive. From turning the game on, and having the company named yelled out loud, to the bumpy, cartoony music that permeates every second of the gameplay. After a while, it had been played ad nauseam to the point where it simply had to be turned down the sound…and never turned back up since. It's not that it's bad, it's just the same tracks, over and over again.

Screenshot for Level 22: Gary's Misadventures on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Level 22: Gary's Misadventures is a lot of different extremes, if the good to bad spectrum is a tangible thing. With a controller, all of the movement issues are completed resolved. The art work is absolutely stunning, even for a retro-styled title, and the music is impressive, yet wears thin after a while. As it stands, Level 22 is almost a casual game trying to be more. While the stealth components are inventive, there's just not enough to save the whole experience from being too cumbersome to be enjoyable through the whole of the experience.

Developer

Moving Player

Publisher

Plug In Digital

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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