It has become cliché to call Camouflaj’s Kickstarter-baby Republique [$4.99] ambitious, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. This undeniably is the most ambitious iOS game I’ve ever played, showing off AAA production value at every turn. And more surprising, that’s not entirely the reason I LOVE Republique, instead finding the little-touches this game’s most endearing quality.

‘Exordium’, the first of 5 chapters- to this episodic stealth-action thriller, does not disappoint. It starts with a female protagonist named Hope, who is held captive within an oppressive totalitarian compound, in the age of the internets and government surveillance. And then there are you: the player acting hacker, who is desperately called upon by Hope to help her escape the captors. The story slowly begins to unfold from there – for lack of spoilers – and does so wonderfully, and mainly through means of gameplay. Know this: Republique’s cast of excellently acted and all-star voiced characters are likable, in their own way – one of my favorite being the hilarious text-to-speech Cooper.

Yes, I said ‘text-to-speech!’

Who, what, when, and why are revealed through exploring this beautifully rendered compound, across emails, voice-mail, notes, tapes, you name it. These are a delightful reward to gain from simply sneaking around these intriguing walls. Most of Republique’s notes are to be taken serious, but there are also literal laugh-out-loud moments to be had, which is nice. I continued to explore because I cared to know more about this world Camouflaj has clearly taken so much time to flesh-out. I was not disappointed that I did, and found discovering plot-points to be much more engaging than having it spoon fed.

Republique plays entirely one-touch – aside from a pinch-to-zoom function – and does so gracefully, as a stealth game. Much of its gameplay consists of directing Hope by tapping on location, while also tap-hacking your way from camera to camera, using OMNI-view, to see what’s around the bend.  I never felt like I needed a controller, nor wanted one. Republique controls beautifully as a touch game, and makes more sense, as so, when in regards to its narrative.

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The game’s hack, hide, and run, as stealth-action games are expected. As you progress through the chapter, upgraded  OMNI-hacks become available - allowing for more strategic options to evading or nullifying patrolling enemies. While on the subject of enemies, I should note that Republique’s keeps with tradition and mostly follow a looped patrol-path. Don’t expect dynamic AI all around, but rather AI that does a damn fine job of chasing you down if you are spotted. Regardless, the games stealth-scenarios are always fun to overcome, thanks to the games interesting control mechanics and keen design.

Republique ran me 5 hours, finishing with a 68% completion ranking and a Play+ option to go back and gather what I missed. I instantly went back to start gathering. The best one-thing this game does is collectables, allowing all – of which there are plenty – of them to have purpose, personality, and heart.

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For example: Hope can pickpocket patrolling enemies to take back Cooper’s stolen games, which is one of many collectables Republique has to offer. The cool-thing about this collectable is… they’re actually other great iOS games dressed as Atari carts. For collecting these, you get to hear Cooper explain why you should buy these OTHER iOS games, in the most charming of ways. Bravo, Camouflaj, that’s the nicest thing I’ve ever seen a game do for others and really expresses the personalities behind the game; and you can never have enough personality in any game.

Technically, the game played smoothly on my iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, with the exceptional ‘chug’ for saving or loading. As usual, I found the tablet provides a better experience due to screen real-estate, but it’s totally playable on the smaller. Otherwise, a single crash back to the OS is all I have for technical gripes.

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In fact, I didn’t find much to complain about while playing thru ‘Exordium’. At one point I desired a mini-map – which Republique does not have – only to later realize that I never *really* needed it and found its absence to drive exploration. I guess if I had one complaint it is Republique’s lack of an objective list, maybe? I didn’t really need one, but others may? The fact that I’m not complaining about eye-poking IAPs is precedent enough.

Republique is risky. It’s a big budget stealth-action epic on iOS that is attempting to change the face of touch games forever. And it should… Republique is shaping up to be a masterpiece. Sure, there are more chapters to come, but based on what I’ve seen so far… faith is running high. For those of you who’ve complained about the state of ‘core’ or ‘console-like’ experiences on iOS – outside of ported games – you shouldn’t hesitate to throw your moneys at Camouflaj. They deserve it. Exciting, fun, polished, and perfectly fit for the platform, Republique is showing me nothing but promise. Promise I’m already convinced they’re going to keep.

You wanted a “real game?” Well… here it is.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • handycapman

    Everything is better when it's real. EVERYTHING

    • fuzzlor

      Not poison. Fake poison is usually preferable to real poison.

      • pajman sarafzadeh

        try to kill rats with fake poison

      • Wintermute75

        Not to mention taking an arrow in the knee ;-)

      • MkRwilliams

        Killing your wife with poison is good too

  • Flamingo

    Awesome review - looking forward to bunkering down with this when I'm back from a hard day's work tonight.

    Seems like everyone is saving the best til last this year!

  • Bool Zero

    The only thing keeping me from buying this is its episodic nature and long wait in the content updates. I read somewhere that the game won't see its final episode released until almost a year later. I just don't want to wait a year to finish a game, so I will probably wait until all of the episodes are out before diving in on this one. That's a long time to hold a game on a device in this environment where storage capacity is a prime commodity like shelf space is to retailers. Otherwise this would be right up my alley! If the episodes were going to be released in a shorter time period I'd be more inclined to dive in... I really want to support this game... Just wish it was already done!

    • fuzzlor

      Understandable. If I had the patience (and if I wasn't already getting it through kickstarter) it's what I'd do.

    • Flamingo

      I'm playing Kentucky Route Zero and I kind of feel like you do... Though if a game can cast a spell on me throughout a year, and maintain quality, I would be thankful :D

      Take the leap. It's sooooo cheap.

      • Flamingo

        And these developers count on your initial coin to keep the quality up in the future. Support them now, and be rewarded.

      • mclifford82

        Rewarded by watching others get the game for free while you cling to that warm fuzzy that you were looking out for him when he was coming up

      • Foghorn Irrascible

        Eh? Nobody's getting the game for free. Kickstarter Backers put money in. They get it marginally cheaper but that's the deal.

    • Collin

      Buy now, play later. It's what I plan to do once I see if any relatives give me iTunes gift cards this year.

    • Foghorn Irrascible

      Why not just buy the first chapter now and a) get some fun from it instead of pining for it and b) get some cash to the developers to help them finance the next four chapters?

    • jForsythe

      I'm the same way with this game and the walking dead 2 game and wolf among us a few others too. Hate having to wait for the full game

  • greatnoob

    Republeak in case you wanted to know its pronounciation. :P

  • Tomate Diseño

    Wow! Can't believe it was over a year and a half ago this was funded - seems a lot less. I was on a - ach, what the heck, why not - spree of Kickstarting almost every game that came along, until I noticed my Paypal balance bottoming out and had to quickly bail on a few that had made it past their goals - this being one of them.

  • NOEN

    Great review! It was nice hearing what devices you were playing on and how well the game ran on them.

  • famousringo

    So glad to hear that this game is everything it should be as I patiently, patiently wait for Camouflaj to painstakingly fulfill their backers. I'm always concerned that a focus on production values will detract from other, more important gaming values, but Republique managed to avoid falling into that trap.

    • fuzzlor

      Patiently... Yes... Of course...
      Oh hey, it's time for my bi-hourly inbox check!

  • Maniacfive

    I'm waiting for them to send my code as I was a backer, but otherwise for £2.99 I know I'd have bitten by now!

    Hope it is another TellTale style success. This year has been a good year for premium on iOS.

  • Eseres

    This is a great game! Highly recommended!!

  • ZarieoZ

    If your asking about the device regardless of this game... Well I was fiddling with a family member's iPad 2 with iOS 7 yesterday, I'd say it had the hiccups that I used to have with my iPad 1 running iOS 5. I mean the nano second delayed response & stuff like that, but didn't experience any crashes with it in this few minutes (my iPad 1 used to crash a lot) I don't think it's a game breaker, I think my iPad 1 used to be a bit slower than this. But if I'm comparing his 2 with my 4 I'd say 2 is slower, but I never had 2 so I don't know how it used to be on iOS 6 or 5, I mean I can only compare devices, not how the 2 was with different systems. Hope this helps anyway.

    • InfernoShade

      I'm running iOS7 on my iPad2 and it runs perfectly. I don't get any hickups. As for this game, I'm running it on my 5S. I'll try it on my iPad this weekend.

  • http://about.me/davidlnguyen David Nguyen

    Between this and The Room, IOS gaming is starting to look more serious and incredible than ever. There's plenty of high quality games there are available on IOS now, but these 2 are just examples of non ports that really show off what IOS is really capable of. I just wish telltale games learned how to make their games run as good as this one :(

  • Galenmereth

    Interested until I checked the video; the uncanny valley is too strong. Really not liking the visual style either. Pass.

    • Foghorn Irrascible

      That's a crazy reason not to play. You get closeups of her face pretty much once or twice at the start then you're into cam-hopping mode.

  • Papa Deuce

    Dodson this being GoTW?

    • Papa Deuce

      Stupid auto correct..... Odds

      • Zerol3onheart

        Instantly thought of Dennis Nedry.

  • Foghorn Irrascible

    How come there was no coverage of this leading up to release, or even while it was on Kickstarter?!

  • InfernoShade

    Played this for a bit last night. Really well done. Interesting story and simple strong gameplay. It's certainly a console feel on a phone. Pretty amazing. Looking forward to their future chapters. Keep up the good work!

  • Akhmed

    Illuminati.... Illuminati signs everywhere lol

  • visualplayer

    Can someone comment on the voice/sound and accessibility? As a Deaf gamer I try to avoid games that have no subs or captions...

    • InfernoShade

      There are subtitles. They are on by default in the settings. I think you'll be able to play the game thru with no sound. I've only played a little bit so far. Hope this helped.

      • visualplayer

        Yep. You rock. Off to buy the game ...

  • GertjeD

    Love the game, feels nice and exciting, But the excitement is because of the story and the great way everything is designed, not because the puzzles are challenging.
    I'm at 77% now and in the heat of the story, but I've not had the nice experience of being surprised that I solved a hard puzzle, yet.

  • chamillion205

    I want this game... But the file size and the episodic nature means I won't have nearly enough space to play the whole game...

  • Foghorn Irrascible

    I finished it in two hours forty and... What puzzles? There aren't *any* that I recall.

  • DillweedLtd

    How long would it take to beat this game? I like a long story driven game, and my Ipad mini is also my primary game console.

  • Zottification

    Do you know if my iphone4 (not iphone4s) is too slow for this game? Thanks!

  • lobotomies4free

    Just finished Chapter One and I'm hooked. A great blend of mechanics and storytelling definitely the most immersive game on iOS

  • ignae

    To be honest,mi thought the game was ver y slow paced. AI is Pretty lame also. I enjoyed the first chapter, but honestly I wouldn't buy the full game.

  • Adsinjapan

    Is anyone else getting a crash bug just before you enter the library at the end of chapter one? I can't seem to get past it at all and it always bugs out at the same place.

  • David Chapin

    Hi. Shouldn't I be mentioned that David Hayter and Jennifer Hale of mgs fame are in this!?! It's the reason I bought it! Plus, it's a great original stealth game. No downside. And do I recognize another voice from later mgs? Please tell me if I'm wrong.

  • Papa Deuce

    Would be fun if it didn't' crash every ten minutes!

  • worldcitizen1919

    You've got to be kidding. Glorified hide and seek with ads is an ultimate game?

    There's nothing here but an expensive tech demo. Sorry but can't agree on this one. I held off until the season pass was discounted to 99 cents and still feel robbed!! There's no gameplay at all!! You can't do anything at all. Hardly any tools no traps or tripwire and no hand to hand combat or weapons etc. and the girl escapes the same way every time??

  • mzinn

    I am not sure about this game. At times I'm having fun but then the camera change required throws me. Maybe its me. The concept is simple enough to switch cameras to look around & move Hope. But i struggle when its intense & bam in the slammer again. I'll keep on trying because i love the story & idea. Pretty cool just having a hard time.

  • Kagarn

    Does this have subtitles? I'm hard of hearing and I'd need them to follow the story.

Republique Reviewed by Jeffrey deMelo on . Rating: 5