Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Red Solstice (Early Access)

On Mars, everyone can hear you scream - regardless of distance. When you die anyway.

And you will die a LOT in this cooperative, top down shooter. There are currently only three maps, but they are huge and the missions (and secondary missions if you choose to activate them) pop up in semi-random spots for your team of space marines to hunt down. There are different suits you can use as you level up, and again proficiency in each suit lets you use more abilities from it.

There's a long list of abilities but you can only bring four with you each time. Fortunately you can assign and unassign points to each of those "components" as you like during the game. For example I like the Assault suits "knife" ability but if I need to be shooting stuff I can remove points from there and put it into something gun related. It's a bit messy but useful. Also messy but useful is the inventory. While you can only bring two weapons each player can carry up to six items that you find while scavenging on the field.

There's quite a large variation of "stuff" out there from medkits, bandages, and ammo to flares and a variety of explosives which all behave differently. There's also no tool tips on how any of those work in game so it comes down to trial and error and the occasional friendly fire incident.

Oops. Didn't mean to nuke the team. Soz guys.

That aside, while running the missions (which are easy enough on their own) the main enemy comes in the form of monsters originating from somewhere beneath the surface. They come in ever increasing waves from clearly marked spawn points but there are some that just can spawn out of the ground any where, much to the ire of people that like to establish strong defensible spots. Kinda pointless if enemy units can freely skip all your turrets, sandbags and mines.

I quite like that "darkness" is a thing in this game. Shooting enemies in the dark makes half your shots from already hard to find ammo miss, making lighted areas and flares of great importance. This is on top of the huge monsters later on that you simply will not have enough fire power to deal with (unless you brought 7 allies with you).

What I don't like is the player respawn system. If you die, you have to wait 2 minutes before re-appearing. There's currently a bug where sometimes you instantly die when you try to respawn making you wait another 2 minutes. Oh, and you can only respawn twice. Die a third time and you might be spending up to an hour just watching your team mates instead of playing with them. That is bad design in my book.  Currently I give this game two out of five bullets.

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