Playing The Guardian

System requirements:

  • Gear VR or Google Cardboard-compatible device
  • Swivel chair

The idea – taken from The Sentinel – is that there’s a finite amount of energy in each level. A Tree is one unit, a Rock is 2, a Clone and a Sentry is 3 and the Guardian is 4. If a Sentry or the Guardian can see the platform you’re standing on, it can scan you. The Guardian has the more powerful scan and you won’t last long if you don’t move quickly. Likewise, you can scan any object that stands on a platform you can look down on. The idea is to get to higher ground so you can overlook the Guardian, scan it and win the level.

You pick up energy by absorbing Trees, Rocks and (possibly, see below) Sentries. When the level starts, you have limited energy, about enough to transport yourself once. The gauge at the top of the heads-up display gives an indication of your store energy, and thus life. To move, you project, firstly, a Tree, then convert it to a Rock then a Clone. Then you can transport yourself into that Clone, turn around and absorb the old shell.

The Guardian starts scanning right from the beginning, turning a small increment at certain time periods (you can hear a scraping noise at each movement). It absorbs Trees, Rocks, and you or any of your Clones. It doesn’t keep the energy but rather scatters it by randomly, generating Trees, Rocks and Sentries.

The Sentries are only generated when you have a certain amount of energy. The more energy you are storing, the more they’re attracted to you. They will also randomly move when there’s no activity where they first appeared.

Sometimes you’ll have to absorb a Sentry when it’s attacking you. The downside is that – after taking out a few sentries – there may be a bomb planted near you. So you need to decide whether you can get out of their way without risking the creation of a bomb. You’ll hear it ticking. You may or may not see it depending on the geography. If you see it and you don’t want to move too far you can transport yourself as far away as possible. The closer you are, the more damage. Otherwise you can hyperspace by looking at the sky and tapping. You’ll end up somewhere random, no higher than your current position. You’ll also leave behind a clone. (You can recover the energy later if you find it and absorb it.)

As you get closer to the Guardian,  it rotates faster, and the space gets more crowded with Sentries. This is where you need to keep an eye on your energy store and where the Guardian is facing.

The controls are necessarily minimal and only require a single button (as there’s also a Cardboard version).

  • Tap the start button to begin
  • Look at the platform that an object is on to start absorbing it (platform goes red)
  • Look at an empty platform to start projecting energy onto it (platform goes green)
  • While projecting, once you have created a clone, tap to teleport
  • Tap while looking at the sky to Hyperspace to a random location

Game-play goes something like this:

  • Look at platforms containing items to absorb the object’s energy
  • Look at empty platforms to build a clone
  • Keep looking at a platform with a new clone to slowly raise it
  • Tap while maintaining eye contact with the platform with a new clone to teleport
  • Work your way up so you can overlook the Sentinel’s platform and absorb it

Note that when you raise a platform you must keep focused on it. If you raise the platform too much you won’t be able to look down on it and so can neither project onto it or absorb it. There’s a visual cue that tells you if you have a clear downward view on the platform you’re looking at (platform goes red or green).

The latest version has levels. You start at level 5. If you win you go up a level and the terrain gets increasingly challenging. Otherwise you drop back a level and things get increasingly easier; the terrain gets flatter and you can accumulate more energy before the sentries are sent out after you.

There’s also some nice music courtesy of Setuniman.

Sound effects by Hykenfreak