Reviewed: December 22, 2005
Released: November 1, 2005
Interactive environments have become an increasingly more important part of game design, but TRAPT is the first game ever to rely on them exclusively. Take one hot princess, countless predictable enemies, and more diabolical traps than you can count and get ready for a devilishly good time.
It seems King Olaf is dead, killed by his wife no less, and his daughter, Princess Allura is taking the rap. Allura flees her stepmother and takes refuge in the Black Forest along with her handmaiden, Rachel where they encounter the Devil who bestows upon Allura, “dark powers” that allow her to protect herself and defeat her enemies, whose souls are immediately offered up to the Devil.
With her new powers, Allura is able to return to the palace and start making her way through the countless guards and other enemies bent on serving their own misguided justice as she tries to reveal the identity of her father’s true killer.
Yes, it’s a pretty cool concept for a game that is basically nothing more than a fancy version of “Mouse Trap”, but in all fairness, trapping a mouse in a plastic cage is nothing compared to the death and dismemberment going on in what might be one of the more brutal PS2 games of the year.
Most gamers will be taken aback at the absence of both weapons and attack buttons for Allura. There is no direct combat in TRAPT. Instead, you must place and arm sets of deadly traps then lure your opponents into them until they are dead. This is a “thinking” game that focuses on strategy. You can pause the game and pick your trap, place it somewhere in the level, and then resume the game to watch the grisly results.
Traps come in all sorts of types, often dictating if they get installed on the wall, ceiling, or floor. For the ceiling we have the Iron Ball and Basin traps; the wall traps include Push Wall to push your victim into another trap, and Guilty Lance to impale them on multiple spears that shoot from the wall, and finally the floor traps including the comical Banana Skin and the deadly Hellfire, which is capable of consuming multiple enemies.
These are just the basic traps and you can expand and upgrade on these as you progress through the game. Of course the whole idea is to just give you the tools and let you decide what to build. You are encouraged to come up with your own creative methods of mixing traps to create combos. Many enemies won’t die when falling victim to a single trap, so once you have them impaled on some wall spikes why not torch them with some hellfire or crush them with a ceiling block.
There are also special traps called Room Devices that are specific to the area in which you are fighting. These often prove to be great fun and you can work them into the combo of your personal traps. Proper use of these Room Devices is almost a puzzle in and of itself, since they almost always interact with one or more other objects in the room to create a variety of entertaining results.
There is a bit of RPG flavor in that for each enemy you kill (or trap) you are rewarded with Ark, which directly dictate how many “Soultier” stones you collect. These stones are converted to Warl, which is then used to creature new low and high-grade traps that can be added to your trap menu for future use.
Springing traps is a timed affair for traps with a charge time and a physical act where you must lure the unsuspecting thug into the “zone” and press the corresponding controller button. The A.I. is predictable in that they will almost always follow you in a direct line-of-sight pattern and they will take the same route through a level if you want to instigate a circular chase pattern, but these guys aren’t stupid. Once they spring a trap they will remember where it is and avoid it the next time around, forcing you to relocate your traps and often rethink your combos multiple times per level.
TRAPT offers two modes of play; Story mode and Survival mode. Survival mode can be quite challenging since you are only allowed to use nine total traps to defeat all the enemies in the battle. Story mode plays out, as you would expect with the difficulty ramping up as you near the end of the game. This just forces you to be more creative with your trap locations and combo designs.
TRAPT isn’t the prettiest girl at the dance but she has some really nice moves. The levels are rather dull and uninspired and other than the details character model of Allura, the rest of the cast is not that exciting to watch in action. The traps are easily the highlight of the show and really show off some cool animations with hilariously twisted results.
Since this is a stop-action strategy game a lot of your time will be spent in menus and setup screens. These are laid out nicely with easy-to-read text and visuals and the control scheme gives you the ability to rotate and move about the levels easily to find the right place to lay your traps.
There was nothing remarkable about the sound package. The voice acting was pretty bad but there isn’t that much of it. The music is forgettable and the sound effects are average at best. And with only mono or stereo sound options, there is no chance for any type of 3D immersion into the game levels.
Given the huge potential for comical sounds to accompany the twisted graphics and animations, TRAPT fails to live up to its potential in the audio department.
The story mode can last anywhere from 8-12 hours depending on how good you are. The Survival mode adds a few more hours onto that, and given the open-ended nature of the gameplay I’m sure those who really get into the twisted game design will find plenty of reasons to replay and try out new strategies.
Despite the ability to create new traps and customize your own combinations during gameplay, the traps do get a bit repetitive and once you have seen a guy impaled on spikes or lit on fire a dozen times it just loses some of its appeal.
TRAPT is one of those games that is wickedly fun to play, but it’s not all that deep of an experience or even that challenging until the very end where the enemies have an almost unnatural ability to detect your traps.
TRAPT is probably best played as a rental, at least until the price drops a bit. But if pain is your game and you love to inflict it in creative and Rube Goldberg-ish ways then TRAPT might be the twisted game you have been looking for. It is certainly one of the more original ideas to come to the PS2 this year.