Review – Republique Anniversary Edition

Republique started out as a Kickstarter project way back in 2011. It originally launched as an iOS exclusive, back when mobile gaming would get things other than live services, before making its way to PlayStation and PC. It even ended up getting VR support on both systems. It’s a very interesting stealth game, conceived by developers who had previously worked on the Metal Gear franchise, but with an entirely new twist. With the game’s Anniversary Edition launching on the Switch as well, it’s time for this hidden gem to have another chance under the spotlight.

Republique Hope

Hope is a great protagonist that really fits with the gameplay style.

The game starts with the protagonist, Hope, in her room and talking into a phone towards the player. She is begging for help as guards bust into her room accusing her of reading so-called “contaminated” material. After being arrested, Hope is sent to another facility, where she slated to be, well, “erased”, if you know what I mean. With the help of an insider and yourself, you will help Hope escape the titular Republique and return to the outside world.

Republique‘s story is one shrouded in a heavy coat of mystery, as it does not give you a lot to go on initially. All we know is that the characters live in a surveillance-heavy dystopia, with every action being heavily monitored, and punishments being harsh. Very soon that it will start to come together as you discover the intentions behind the titular Republique. with themes that are more relevant today than they have ever been. It’s a promising narrative, and whilst it might not stick the landing with its lacklustre ending, it’s the journey that matters, with an intriguing premise and plenty of world building. 

Republique‘s main draw, however, is its unique stealth gameplay. You play as a subject of said facility, as you sneak around, gather resources and try to piece together how to escape from this Orwellian-inspired world, avoiding guards and solving puzzles to help Hope escape from her captors, and into the outside world. What is otherwise a normal stealth game, however, has a neat twist that alters the formula. You control Hope through cameras scattered around the map, adding a slight element of classic Metal Gear Solid design with classic Resident Evil dynamic cameras. 

Republique World Design

Despite showing its age when it comes to its visuals, the world design really does hold up.

This is one of the most unique approaches to stealth I’ve seen and it works wonderfully. Through the eyes of any camera, you can scout ahead for Hope. Create distractions by hacking nearby devices and lock doors to evade pursuers if Hope is seen. She isn’t completely useless however; her pickpocketing skills allow you to gather resources such as pepper spray to stun enemies. Whilst this doesn’t make her powerful by any means, it also means that she isn’t completely defenseless, being able to prevent being captured on her own every now and then. Although, some guards will wear protection against these attacks, and as such, avoidance becomes a necessity. 

Levels are relatively large as well, with multiple pathways and guards roaming around. Most of them do have set patterns Republiquewhich are relatively easy to explore, but there will often be a few which will give you a little bit more freedom to more around. The game does offer a lot of puzzles, whilst not particularly particularly difficult, do add a little bit of extra variety to the gameplay, which is always appreciated. As a whole, Republique would have been among some of my favourite stealth games if it wasn’t for some glaring issues…

Much like fixed-camera Resident Evil titles, however the controls can take some getting used to. You can also use the Switch’s touch screen to tap places for Hope to move to. Whilst I normally lean towards traditional analogue controls, Republique‘s roots in iOS keep me switching between the two, as it’s not a perfect translation. Those aren’t the most intuitive controls as well, especially with the camera auto-switching feature, which will seemingly switch to another camera randomly even though Hope is well within the camera’s line of sight. This happens just frequently enough to become an annoyance and especially when walking the line between camera switches.  

With Republique originally being an iOS game, its overall structure had to work for iOS in mind. As a result, it takes an episodic structure, with each episode taking roughly two to three hours to complete, giving an overall length of about ten to fifteen hours, depending on how much you explore. There’s a bunch of standard collectables and Easter eggs with just about every other guard in the game having something interesting to offer, be it a scannable passport or carrying around a game disc for another indie game, or even just lore tidbits. There’s also some replay value, with additional costumes that act as a form of difficulty or challenge mode. It’s surprisingly packed for a formerly mobile game. 

Dead Cells Floppy Disk

Any Dead Cells fans?

Considering the fact this was originally an iOS title launched back in 2013 before being ported to consoles, I’ve got to admit that Republique doesn’t look too terrible. Sure, it shows its age a fair bit but, looking at it on the Switch’s screen, it does its job very well. This is part in due with the really good level design that crams a surprising amount of variety throughout its intriguing world. Voice acting is also pretty good with solid performances from the lead character as well as our villain. The soundtrack is decent as well, but nothing noteworthy. My one gripe with the sound design is a pretty major one: the robotised voice that guides you through the game. It’s just annoying. 

Republique is a fascinating game with a unique gameplay hook that works incredibly well all these years later. Whilst the story doesn’t hit the landing, with a somewhat weak final act, it is shrouded in plenty of mystery and a world intriguing enough to push you through. Here’s hoping that, with this Anniversary Edition, there’s plans to return to this franchise, or, at the very least, a resurgence in this particular type of stealth-based gameplay loop.


Graphics: 5.0 

Originally an iOS game from back in 2013, Republique was bound to look dated. Thankfully, it’s actually got a well designed world. 

Gameplay: 8.0

Camera annoyances aside. Republique‘s unique perspective really adds a lot to the stealth experience

Sound: 7.5

Nothing overly remarkable about the sound design, but the game does a good enough job with its solid voice acting cast. 

Fun Factor: 8.5

Republique, as an overall gaming experience, is one that I couldn’t recommend enough to fans of stealth games and dystopian stories. 

Final Verdict: 7.5

Republique Anniversary Edition is available now on PS4, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of Republique Anniversary Edition was provided by the publisher.