Thank you Moving Player for sending us review codes for this game!
Gary was celebrating his birthday a little too hard last night and woke up hung over and late for work. This isn’t Gary’s first time being tardy, in fact, he’ll be fired if he’s caught sneaking into the office. Gary has to make it all the way up to his desk without being detected.
Level 22 is a stealth game like no other. Besides staying out of the vision ranges of his co-workers, Gary will have to memorize their movement patterns and work around them. There are four worlds with a few levels and a boss battle. Besides locating the exit without being caught, Gary can unlock safe deposit boxes (with the proper combination!) and collect toys left behind by his friend who guides him with tips and tricks for using new items. Unfortunately, items found in levels do not carry over into the next.
Most of the time Gary is defenseless and has to rely on lurking in the shadows or sneaking through the air ducts to avoid detection. One of the levels had a big book that allowed Gary to knock out co-workers with it. That came in handy and I missed not having it later in the game. Besides bonking co-workers in the head, you can give them laxatives or get them to look in the other direction with an eraser sling-shot. Sometimes Gary can hide inside of a box, an office cabinet, or behind a newspaper, but most of the time he’ll have to work around their movement patterns.
The game mechanics vary throughout the levels and there is a good amount of challenge and variety in this title. Sadly, most of the levels can only be completed in a certain way: there is not much room for thinking outside of the box. Exploration is encouraged by finding clues for the safe combinations and locating the superhero or video character themed toys for your friend.
The retro themed graphics and chiptune music are cute and fitting for this game. Some of the sound effects were annoying though. I was disappointed by some of the pixel hunting required to safely hide from certain office characters. It’s quite frustrating be caught for being an eighth of an inch off from where you were successfully hiding before. Thankfully, the levels have a generous amount of checkpoints in them.
Sometimes vandalism is required to progress in this game. Cups of coffee can be poured onto copy machines to short them out and distract your co-workers for a while. By poking around various offices you’ll come across numerous post-it notes with clues for the safe combinations. There are some greeting cards as well and one of them hinted at a sexual relationship between a boss and his secretary. One last complaint is some minor language with the word “helluva” being used in the beginning of the game.
Even though Level 22 is a single-player game, it’s like solitaire where people in the same room will give out tips and advice on how to get past certain co-workers. My daughters enjoyed playing the game and found out the hard way that it’s more challenging than meets the eye. They still enjoyed it and while it’s not perfect or wholesome, Level 22 is a fun game for the money.