Many stealth games have revolved around controlling the sounds of your footsteps. Thief had different floor materials to dampen the sound of your footsteps, for instance. Almost any stealth game will have you crouching slowly around enemies and dodging their watchful gaze.
Subsonic takes this mechanic in a new direction. Instead of just trying to stay quiet, you don a pair of sound-vision goggles, which visualize the sounds around you. You can see the sound waves emanating from your footsteps as you walk. You can also see the guards’ range of hearing. The goal is to avoid all the guards and get to the exit.
You play as an employee of Subsonic Incorporated, a mercenary spy company. The game largely consists of training missions (complete with retro instructional videos) from Subsonic Inc. After the many training missions, the full campaign only has 6 missions, as this was a student project for DigiPen.
There are 3 “sound guns” in the game, each with a different function. A blue gun for shooting distracting sounds at the guards, complete with ricochet off of the walls; a red gun for breaking glass walls; and a white gun for dampening the sound of your footsteps. Sometimes you’re given a choice of which gun to use to complete the objective. There’s also dark hallways where the overhead map layout is blank and you have to use the echo of your footsteps to fumble around and find a way out. It all adds up to plenty of variety and some challenging brain teasers. I’d love to see a full-fledged product based on this premise.
Why You Should Check This Out: Subsonic is a simple, but clever, stealth game where you can see sound waves and use them to sneak past guards. The gameplay is interesting, and the puzzles get very challenging in the real campaign. The humor and style are a perfect fit to the spy genre. And it’s just the core of the stealth genre, without getting sidetracked with killing or multi-part objectives or convoluted story. Just trick some hapless guards and sneak past them: What’s more fun than that?