Republique is the first episode of a new IP that hits the ground running on iOS. The main character starts off locked in a jail cell, where you quickly learn that she’s been placed for possessing what the oppressive dictatorship considers contraband. The twist is, you don’t play as the main character. You are a rogue security guard who has control over the regime’s network and has decided to help the main character escape her captivity. Her name, in a none-too-subtle bit of symbolism, is Hope.
To help her escape, you use your 1337 haXXor skillz to unlock doors, collect data, and move your vantage point between security cameras to guide Hope past guards when they’re not looking. It works well, and adds up to a fresh take on the stealth genre. It’s a heck of a lot of fun to play.
As Hope sneaks through the facility, ducking behind walls and pickpocketing guards, she’ll find items that can help her elude enemies and stay in contact with you. For your part, you also gain new hacker abilities and upgrades that let you read enemy emails, listen to voice messages, and distract guards. Finding the right moment to use your items and skills is a lot of fun, and does kind of make you feel like a white hat hacker.
For the many things Republique gets right, it’s not perfect. They’ve done an admirable job of making the layout of the compound navigable, but since your viewpoint is locked to the security cameras, you’ll occasionally feel disoriented when switching. Also, the swiping camera movement could use some work– it takes far too long to pan from one end of a hallway to the other. The episode is also a little short, ringing in somewhere between two and three hours.
Other than those minor complaints, Republique shines. It’s an exciting new game, with an intriguing story and good acting. The whole package seems well worth the price they’re asking. In short, the next episode can’t come soon enough.