Top Critic Average
Cold War-esque side-scroller CounterSpy has a great concept and a lot heart, and also a few issues worth noting.
The early hours of CounterSpy's stylish combo of stealth and shooting are worth a playthrough, but after it leaves its sneakiness behind, it's a sub-par cover shooter that's half as fun.
CounterSpy is short, but its stylized presentation and alluring gameplay hooks make it too sweet to pass up.
CounterSpy has two faces. Its presentation, its look and sound, is a victory hard to ignore. But its interactivity is ugly enough to make for an unfortunate pairing when the balance is measured.
If CounterSpy doesn't look like the kind of game you'd want to play, don't. Even for indie fanatics it's missable, though I doubt you'd want to give up the visuals or the procedurally generated levels.
CounterSpy nails its style. The angular art, the tight animation. Even the 2.5D cover mechanic stuff, the over-the-shoulder shooting, looks cool. But there is a weird tonal inconsistency to the whole thing that leaves it feeling unfinished despite the polish. The absurdist premise meant to invoke Dr. Strangelove is half-heartedly written with laziness that pretends at deadpan while the stealth is undercut by the stitched-together rooms used instead of careful design.
CounterSpy was a game that caught many people's eye with it art style and Cold War setting, but it's great to see that it also has the gameplay to back it up. The mixture of side scrolling stealth with the cover-based 3D shooting is quite an ingenious one, but simple enough that when combined with the randomly generated levels, you can hop into the game for a few minutes and, ignoring a few flaws, find yourself staying for an hour.
CounterSpy doesn't really develop beyond its opening concepts. It's fun to play the spy game for a while, but it quickly falls victim to tedium and repetition, with an unrewarding ending that comes off as a smoldering dud.
Impressive visuals and gameplay innovations for the stealth genre, Counter Spy is an impressive first offering from this new studio. While it's not perfect, and near broken in some cases, stealth fans who buy on PS4 or PS3 won't likely leave disappointed.
Arguably a better fit for the Vita than the larger consoles, the cross-save function negates any need for favouritism and allows you to continue your fight against tyranny wherever you are. Humorous and well-designed, Counterspy is certainly worth investigating if you like your espionage in short, fast-paced chunks.