Immersing oneself in a game where the sole mechanic is to pick off bits-of-bits of IKEA furniture that can morph into other bits-of-bits of IKEA furniture through a wobbling rifle scope sounds like the point where maybe, just maybe, the planet’s indie game makers have officially lost what little was left of the plot.
It’s worrying, then, that I quite enjoyed my time with Raccord Sniper. The concept? Already been said – magical yet sinister pieces of cheap Swedish furnishings have invaded some poor chump’s flat, and taken up defensive positions right next to an open window. The goal is simple, but rapidly becomes difficult: remember everything. That dastardly furniture will only shapeshift once your sniper sights have moved onto an adjacent room, so in theory you should be mentally noting every chair, every colour, every glow of a tasteful lighting fixture, and taking down anything that doesn’t look right on your return – while avoiding collateral wood damage.
In practice, everything looks exactly the same and you don’t know what to do and now you’ve just shot dead an innocent desk that was only three days from retirement. Truthfully though, it does get surprisingly tricky to memorise every damn thing in two separate rooms at once, and this leads to Raccord Sniper at its best: a straightforward, one-click puzzler which feels more tense to play and satisfying to beat than a game about sniping inanimate objects has any right to be. The manner in which furniture changes is subtle enough to present a challenge to even the most seasoned A-Level Psychology student, avoiding both blatantly obvious shifts (pink sofas don’t turn into fruit bowls) and barely noticeable micro-differences.
Of course, it’s still about the one joke, one which will quickly cease to bring the laughs regardless of the fact that I’ve just explained it (you’re welcome). In fact, almost every facet of this tiny piece of freeware gives the impression of it being thrown together in a few hours – the typos, the stock sound effects, the fact that the graphics have been literally ripped from a foreign IKEA catalogue (I’m fairly sure your Raccord Police superior is actually some kind of moderately famous interior designer, and the price and descriptions of certain items appear if you lay your scope on them for a few seconds – a suitably facetious touch). None of this is necessarily a bad thing, unless you intend on giving it permanent residence on your hard drive. Personally I would like to have seen more of your designer-by-day, cop-by-night tutorial instructor, whose straight-faced professionalism (“That’s how we keep order in the RPD”) made the training’s glacial pace almost bearable.
What’s best is to download it, play for a bit, guffaw, then never return again. It’s as fleeting and disposable as those paper rulers from the store itself and doesn’t have pretensions to anything else. Go ahead, enjoy the brief thrill of silently offing an offending coffee table, and then retire knowing you’ve served the force well.