When you play A LOT of iOS games like I do, you tend to see many of the same ideas repeated over and over and over again. So it’s always nice when you come across a game that shows sparks of originality in gameplay, graphics or even controls. Recluse Industries’ game Surveillant is one of these titles. The the game was apparently inspired by a classic 8-bit title from the 80’s called ‘The Sentinel’, despite my age, I am not familiar with that game, so for me, Surveillant felt creative, fresh and unlike anything I’ve played on iOS before.
Set in an eerie, stark, seemingly futuristic world, Surveillant is part hide and seek, part capture the flag, where you must navigate your way around a structure collecting several cubes to unlock a platform, eventually allowing you to reach the top of the structure and the watchful CCTV camera atop its peak. You must do all this while avoiding the deadly laser beam gaze of said nefarious CCTV camera.
The game is played from a first-person point of view, with tilt controls being used to pan your point of view. Navigation throughout the structure is accomplish by jumping/teleporting between visible platforms. If you have a clear line of site to the top portion of a remote platform, you can teleport there simply by touching the platform with your finger. Perhaps teleporting is the wrong way to describe it, as you feel like you are floating through air and while doing so, you still have the ability to look around and select a different destination, mid-flight if need be.
While at first Surveillant’s controls felt as foreign as the vector-laden world in which you are placed, you quickly get the hang of them and the game becomes an intensely immersive experience, especially if you are wearing headphones. You’ll feel your pulse quicken as you try to remain ever vigilant and avoid detection. To aid you, you have a small radar that shows you where the CCTV is currently scanning, where you are in relation to the CCTV’s scanning range, and the locations of any enemy drones that might reveal your position. Powered by the Unity Engine, gameplay was smooth and tilt controls were responsive.
Surveillant has quite a unique and appealing visual style to it; there is beauty in its stark landscapes. I particularly liked the game’s nearly mono-chromatic color palates which in a way reminded me of Mirror’s Edge. When coupled with headphone-enhanced sound design, the game takes on an almost futuristic post-apocalyptic feel where computers have taken over and we are fighting against Big Brother for survival. The CCTV even has its own creepy, Berserk-like robotic voice.
Surveillant is a fairly short game with only 12 (increasingly difficult) levels to conquer, but it is a fun (and sometimes nerve-wracking ride) while it lasts. I applaud Recluse Industries’ on their originality however, given the brevity of the game it’s difficult to unequivocally recommend at $1.99, but I would say it is a solid pickup should the price drop to 99¢ again. At the very least I’d certainly recommend that you download the free lite version and experience Surveillant for yourself.