CounterSpy isn’t a perfect game. The controls for aiming while shooting in third person mode can feel wonky and the gameplay can feel repetitive with a few dumb AI moments but it has so much charm that I can’t help but find myself playing it over and over. What’s interesting is that for me the PS Vita version is more enjoyable and easier to play than it’s big screened PS4 counterpart. A big reason for this is that the rectile is much easier to track and find on the smaller screen of the Vita and keeps getting lost for me on the big screen of my TV.
CounterSpy is a sidescrolling espionage game set in the 1960’s during the cold war which isn’t anything new. It’s able to keep things fresh with a cool cover/shooting mechanic that switches to a 3D perspective letting you see previously unseen objects and enemies and also sports randomized levels. It’s pretty fun playing through a mission in a sidescrolling style and then switching to an over the shoulder view when you pop into cover behind a box or wall to take out enemies. There are various items to collect such as intel, money, ammo, and weapon parts and in between missions you can purchase new weapons once you’ve obtained all the parts for it. You have standard weapons such as a silenced pistol but then fun ones like a gun which causes enemies to turn against each other. The collection aspect helps to add replayability to a game that only lasts a few hours. You can also purchase items to aid you through missions like letting you absorb 40% less damage and lowering the defcon at the start of a level.
And that’s good because the defcon level is what you have to worry about, not lives or time. At the start of the game both agencies start out at defcon level 10 and if either gets down to 0 they launch a missle and it’s game over. Every mission in the game has you subduing enemies, gathering intel, and trying to reach a computer at the end of each level with your primary collectible being Launch Plans. Finding these progresses you through to the next level and to the end of the game. While playing you’ll encounter security cameras you can destroy and ones that are armored and require much more force but both will sound an alarm that increases your defcon level and continues until they’re destroyed or you’re out of their line of sight long enough. This builds up until your defcon level is heightened and makes enemies aware of your presence. In CounterSpy you’ll find various types of enemies, some equipped with generic pistols or auto rifles that are easy to take out and others that rock heavy firepower like machine guns or rocket launchers. You have captains that are harder to take out and call in an alarm which raises your defcon level, making them a primary target. If you’re lucky you may run into a commander. These guys are easy to spot because they’re wearing all white and if you keep your gun pointed at them they eventually surrender which instantly lowers your current defcon level by one. You may even get lucky and find a few in one level! There’s not much else to say gameplay wise because you can burn through the campaign in about four hours.
Overall the story is funny, the art style is cartoonish, and the gameplay is fun. Minor control issues aside this is a game you should pick up if you’re itching for a fun less time consuming title. It’s available now on PS Vita, PS3, PS4, iOS, and Android with the PlayStation platform enjoying the luxury of cross-buy and cross- save.