What lengths would you go through in order to keep your job? Would you be willing to knock out your fellow co-workers with a giant book? Would you be willing to feed them radioactive donuts? Would you cause thousands of dollars in damages to various office machines and robots? Apparently, Gary would, as evidenced in the game. Developed by Noego Games, Level 22: Gary’s Misadventures follows the story of Gary, a lowly office worker who finds himself in a lot of trouble after a night out on the town while getting drunk for his birthday. Hungover, he wakes up to find that he’s late for work and after having been late one too many times, must find a way to sneak back into his office without being seen or risk being fired from his job. The bad news is that his desk lies on the 22nd floor of the building he works in. The good news is that he has the wisdom and expertise of his friend Marty, who happens to be a former co-worker at the place Gary works.
Level 22: Gary’s Misadventures: Xbox One [Reviewed] , PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Wii U, PC
Developer: Noego Games
Publisher: Moving Player
Release Date: 29 January 2016
Price: £5.59 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Developer/Publisher]
Level 22: Gary’s Misadventures is primarily a stealth game, with the objective to reach the end of every area moving passed all of Gary’s co-workers without being spotted. Why every co-worker is out to snitch on Gary is never explained, but it seems like the only person in the world who is willing to help him is the friend who doesn’t even work there anymore. Through Marty’s assistance, Gary is introduced to a variety of items and techniques that he can utilize in order to make his way through each level unnoticed. These include a newspaper to hide his face, a giant cardboard box which can be used to cover underneath, and using food in order to lure and distract any hungry security guards passing by.
The gameplay in Level 22: Gary’s Misadventures will be familiar to anyone who’s played a stealth action game before. Co-workers and guards have cones of vision that will detect Gary and cause a game over screen if Gary stays in it for too long. About every enemy has an easy to identify pattern: Whether it’s the worker who occasionally falls asleep at his desk or the guard who patrols the hallways in a specific rotation. In order to succeed and make it to the end of each level, Gary will have to be able to utilize all the items they come across, as well as master the timing required to get past everyone’s line of sight. At the end of every world, a boss comes out to stand in Gary’s way, which range from Mr. Pepper (the head of building security), the Gnith (a creature whose sole purpose is to destroy documents that can incriminate the company), and even the actual boss of the company. These boss fights are similar to the rest of the game where you have to remain unnoticed and utilize the same items found in the rest of the game to knock them unconscious.
There is a lot of humor to be found in Level 22: Gary’s Misadventures. From the wacky premise, the bobble head design of every character, to the dialogues in the phone conversations between Gary and his friend, there are a lot of laughs to be had. The game also comes with a plethora of references to other games as well, with the main one being Metal Gear Solid. Players are also able to find collectibles that happen to reference other games, comics and shows as well such as Batman, Wolverine, Super Meat Boy, Futurama and Pokémon There are even moments when Marty breaks the fourth wall and talks as if he realizes this is a game. It all works well together to make an otherwise mundane premise into a story that’s fun and comedic.
Similar to the gameplay, the presentation of Level 22: Gary’s Misadventures is equally simplistic. Despite the fact that the game takes place entirely in a typical office building, it does a good job of using a lot of different colors in each area so that the game doesn’t feel like a drag to run through. My only complaint was that there were a few times where the game doesn’t make you aware of all the tools available at your disposal, such as being able to dunk a donut on a laxative to cause a weary co-worker to make an emergency exit to the nearest restroom. Not knowing exactly how to combine items may cause some frustrations for players who are stuck, but the rest of the gameplay elements are fairly intuitive.
Level 22: Gary’s Misadventures is an enjoyable stealth puzzle game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The puzzles are fairly basic and easy to get by after some careful planning and good timing, and the humor and references scattered throughout made it worthwhile to explore every area of each floor and play it to the end. The game started off on as a phone/tablet game and while that is evidenced by the simplistic art style, controls, and level design, still manages to work well with a controller. Despite its simple premise and design, there was clearly a lot of love and attention brought to this game.