I’ve talked before about my disillusionment with the games industry ignoring its roots, and praised independent game developers for making games which are more or less tributes to those old times. Well, again our indie friends don’t fail to entertain, and here I’ll discuss two first-person shooters just released this week that definitely bring back the old times.
Hard Reset by Flying WildHog Games
This is a cyberpunk thriller in the vein of Blade Runner, with the story (yes, there is a story but it’s mostly an excuse plot) borrowing much from that legendary movie. Basically there is an evolutionary limit placed upon the Machines of this future world, which are sentient and quite hostile, when the Machines find that there is a way that this limit can be circumvented. So they go after the Mainframe, which supposedly holds the key to removing this limit.
You are a cop in this cyber-dystopia, whose mission is to clean up the streets of the metal menace, who have begun killing humans indiscriminately. You are in possession of two weapons, projectile and energy-based (with rifle and plasma-caster modes) which can be upgraded with currency known as NANO to include five different modes each, corresponding to the standard FPS weapons; shotgun, grenade launcher, stun grenades, and more. In addition, you can upgrade your gear as well, adding resistance to damage, a radar system that lets you see enemies and NANO deposits, and more.
This definitely reminds me of the old Painkiller series, which pitted us against hordes of demonic enemies at close-to-medium range and challenged us to survive. Not much different here, but the derivation doesn’t hurt this game, so I give it 5 out of 5! Try it out on Steam; it’s $30 but you get what you pay for!
Xotic by WXP Games, LLC
Another shooter inspired very much by the old-school era, Xotic’s aesthetic could not be any more different from Hard Reset’s. The cyberpunk shooter is bright though dreary, and things are constantly chasing you, trying to kill you. This more arcade-inspired shooter is bright but cheery, and though its premise is seemingly dark, your activities are centered around growing and terraforming rather than destruction.
The story revolves around yet more rogue AI, this one known as the Orb and sounding very much like the corrupted Nomad probe from the original Star Trek, if it had been allowed to carry out its programming. It’s destroyed all life on the various worlds it’s visited, and it’s your job, as an alien armed with the Macroterra, to terraform and make the world habitable again.
You do this by destroying various enemies, which actively attack, and also the Orb’s parasitic red blobs, which restrain plants from growing in the area. You’ll get bonuses for destroying many blobs in a row, and you’ll get power-ups from certain of them which make your going easier. You’ll be able to upgrade yourself as well as purchase new modes of the Macroterra, similar to Hard Reset’s upgrade functionality.
There are detailed leaderboards and 25 achievements to keep that competitive instinct satisfied, and you can go back to previous stages with newly-bought items and abilities to try to best your old records!
Another beautiful shooter worthy of your time and attention, only $9.99 on Steam (release weekend special, $8.99)! Five out of five!