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For: iPhone

Well worth keeping an eye on

Product: Surveillant | Developer: Recluse Industries | Publisher: Recluse Industries | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 0.2
Surveillant iPhone, thumbnail 1
CCTV cameras are everywhere. If you live in a large UK town or city, you can’t escape them.

Indeed, there’s a game you could conceivably play that would involve trying to find the CCTV black-spots in a major city centre – those areas where Big Brother’s beady eye cannot track you. It’s a game you’d probably lose, though.

That’s pretty much the premise of Surveillant, although the odds are a little more in your favour.

Look out above

For one thing, there’s only a single camera searching you out in each of the game’s ten arena-like levels. It doesn’t know where you are, either, and will only lock onto you if you pass in front of its line of sight.

Things take a nasty turn when you realise that these cameras pack a nasty punch. If they spot you, they light you up with lasers. A few seconds in these death rays is enough to finish you off, prompting a restart.

Your goal is to climb to the platform that hosts this deadly camera and deactivate it. To do so, you need to ascend by scaling the surrounding platforms. If you can see the top of them, you can travel to them with a tap. You view this abstract world from a first-person perspective, and looking around is a matter of tilting your handset.

Simple world view

Surveillant leans heavily on these simple mechanics, as well as its stylishly minimalistic 3D visuals. There’s little variation to play, although new elements are introduced like collectible data clusters that activate a vital moving platform, or a power-up that temporarily deactivates the camera.

Fortunately, it all feels fresh enough and immersive enough that you don’t really get bored. Of course, that’s also down to the fact that there are only ten levels, which seems more than a little stingy.

I also found the touch controls to be occasionally unresponsive, sometimes failing to register a touch despite the fact I could see the top of the platform.

Still, refinements have been promised by the developer, as well as new levels. For now Surveillant is worth checking out for its unique outlook.
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 13 February 2011
Fun, stylish and unique, Surveillant overcomes its relative brevity and sticky controls to stick out as one of the freshest iPhone experiences around
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May 2011
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recluse | 15:30 - 10 May 2011
Thanks for the review. Surveillant (version 0.4) is now out and adds many new features. (control responsiveness has been greatly improved since version 0.2)!

Anonymous | 23:09 - 13 February 2011
Looks like a twist on the 8 bit classic Sentinel, a game that deserves a touch remake if ever there was one. Shall keep a look out for this, so to speak :)