Review: A crazy little game with an awfully mellow name.
How did Brit developer Beatnik Games come up with the title Plain Sight? It's a game populated by katana wielding robots that slay each other to gain energy. Energy makes them bigger and tougher; the more energy they have, the bigger the explosion when they detonate themselves. That's right, self-destruction is the ultimate goal in Plain Sight. Going boom converts energy to points, and taking a bunch of your robot buddies out with you makes for a nice bonus. Does that sound like the MO for a game called Plain Sight?
You play in the third person perspective, which is essential for all the double and triple jumping across low gravity arenas. Navigating in Plain Sight can feel like Mario Galaxy; you can run all the way around most of the landmasses, which are essentially 3D objects floating in space. These arenas swarm with robots, and constant movement is the only effective defense. Plain Sight is all about footwork; keeping ahead of your attackers while chasing down prey of your own.
It's a good thing Plain Sight creates such compelling chases, because the actual attacking is rather simplistic. You target an enemy and chase him down until the computer says you have a lock, at which point you attack and kill him, unless he blocks in time. It's essentially combat on autopilot, but honestly you're too busy running and leaping to be thinking about anything else. You also gain experience and get to choose upgrades after dying, which adds some depth.
Plain Sight is essentially a deathmatch variant, but its budgetware price comes with budgetware trappings. It's a bare bones package with no story mode, just skirmish against bots or online multiplayer. As usual, online is the best way to play, but I found only about twenty servers, most of which were usually full. At least the game has been patched since release, which shows that Beatnik is supporting the title, but they haven't fixed the game's poor menus. To select something you have to click it dead center or it doesn't register. The menus do feature swanky swing music, so they're not all bad.
Graphically Plain Sight is not high tech, but it has style with good purpose. The robots are funny looking, and the way they get larger when they have more energy makes for good visual variety and is effective for showing you who you should kill before he banks his points. Also, robots leave a bright colored trail wherever they go, which adds to the on-screen variety and helps you track down or avoid your enemies.