This large, nay humongous game combines the best of both roleplay and strategy into a game that’s much more than just war. I got some free Steam codes and you’ll want to give this game a try! Just follow the link to get 1 of 2 chances to win.
And it all started with an idea. That’s what APOX epitaph will read one day, long after everyone has forgotten about it. As modern warfare is a crowded theme to say the least, it’s not easy to pick either a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) or a First Person Shooter (FPS) in that genre, which you can make stand out of the crowd. Therefore, Indian developer Bluegiant Interactive thought to blend these two things into one and set you in some sort of post-apocalyptic world straight out of Mad Max, but without Looney Tunes Mel.
This resulted in a somewhat monochrome setting in which all buildings and vehicles are made from scrap quite literally. As your building items from Salvage, everything you see in the sand and rock piles of this world will be discarded pieces of metal put back together, culminating into one shade of brown. The only real upside is the quaint details within structures that resemble the works of Banksy; a graffiti artist for those of you unfamiliar with the man. But as even the sound design is very monotonous, with what seems like one beat, the superficial appeal of APOX falls flat-out short. Exacerbating that, some of the sound effects seem almost directly plagiarized from powerhouse RTS games like Command & Conquer and Starcraft. So, we’ll have to dig deeper to see what this game has to offer.
The concept is simple and yet ingenious: Blending several genres together, you create an RTS with a lot more realism, where units are all similar, have limited ammo and can jump into each other’s vehicles. By combining FPS elements within, each unit now can carry 2 weapons and a knife, making his class whatever he has handy at the time. Apart from using Salvage for buildings, you can also collect Gas for fuel, Survivors for units and Ammo for chickens, I mean ammo. Your units take over from there and switch in between the resources and hand them out to each other, as if every day on the battlefield was Christmas. They’ll even share weapons with each other, even though you didn’t ask them to, nor needed it; that’s how caring they are.
Combat is defined in between 4 main classes; being Riflemen, Heavy Gunners, Snipers and Flamers, which have no connection to any sexual preference. Just like in real life, your weapon can break at the most inopportune moment; which is why you can switch weapons and loot corpses for combat resources. It’s a war out there after all. To further into the FPS world, a soldier can also crawl, go prone or sprint to alter your combat tactic and stealth situation. Each unit has 2 hands to create buildings and an engineering degree to come up with the schematics; these guys can do it all. Unsurprisingly, that also means they can hop into any empty vehicle they choose, as a driver’s license is probably no big deal after you’ve just erected a gas station from leftover oil drums.
This all sounds like a completely new way to look at warfare, with ingenious new implementations and cross-overs and what have you. The reality is that the idea behind APOX sounds awesome in theory, but is very poorly executed. As all are created equal in this comradely duel, there’s never any sense of variation behind an already very pedestrian appearance. There’s no difference between units and everyone just prays on remains, so there’s no real sense in building tactically, as you can very well just change it all instantaneously 3 seconds later. There is some cunning to be found with lines of fire, but that is the only positive aspect there is; all the rest is so damn dreary.
Adding insult to injury, each of the 8 available missions always boot you out and make you go through the entire logging process over again, as if it’s trying to tell you not to play. Rarely has a game been this uninviting in its banality. Even the interface is so poorly designed that anything depicted becomes unclear and unmanageable. In addition, each building requires soldiers to operate and most tasks need some sort of manual labor to work; from dropping off resources to collecting, etc.. This whole actually draws you out of the sense of engagement, instead of drawing you in. APOX feels more like you’re the army’s accountant micro-managing the battlefield, rather than being a general trying to survive the harsh reality of combat. It was like playing a game of Commandos meets Command & Conquer on serious antidepressants.
As there’s no story in the tutorial-like missions that only serve to gear you up towards scrimmage matches, there’s also no drive in playing. If the only goal of a game is to pit you against each other eventually, then you’ll need more of a punch to bring people towards it. The bottom line is that APOX offers an innovating concept with a disappointing delivery. It gets a lot of points for effort, but that’s it. You can’t blame a guy for trying, but the fact remains that this first title from Bluegiant Interactive is not a successful operation. Only if you were to be a desperate RTS addict that hasn’t heard of the joys a game like Company Of Heroes can bring you, will you find any solace in the bland production of this game. Otherwise, APOX is not worth your time.
Indie developer Lunar Giant Studios announced to be hollowing out their Delve Deeper with a few neat additions.
First off, players will get more out of the community by being able to share maps with each other, which you can create in the games editor. After you’ve made your masterpiece, simply input the map name along with your own and provide a screenshot plus description (and of course your map). There’s a small comprehensive guide provided to get you acquainted with the locations of the levels in your directory.
Secondly, they’ve also announced to be sprucing up and then releasing some of the source code for the game and open sourcing it. This should spur even more creative actions from the community.
And lastly, Jay Margalus told yours truly that a DLC patch 1.3 is soon to release, which will provide more content for the small, Worms-like title. Don’t forget that the game is currently only a few bucks, which makes it a great desktop title. You can check out our praising review here.
Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed.
Editor’s Note: This story was created for the Humble Indie Bundle’s v1.72, until it got burrowed under more pressing issues. A new v1.80 has just been released that promises a lot of changes to this formula. We will update you once we get around to playing the newer version.
If there’s one thing that indie developers do a lot, it’s stealing an idea from someone else and giving it a spin (or not). As such, there’s a spawn of Tower Defense (TD) games that follow a steady and true formula. If you’re still under a rock somewhere and don’t know what TD is, consider it a Real-Time Strategy (RTS) game, based on defensive maneuvers. You build up your base defense and watch as the enemies come flocking to destroy you. So, most of the fun goes into planning a solid barrier and hoping for the best.
Revenge Of The Titans (ROTT) is one of those borrowed idea games, but at least it’s bent on taking the spin aspect pretty far. The goal is still the same of building a frontier to fend off attackers, but there’s a lot of new implementations. For instance, your funds have to be collected from crystals while playing and everything is set to manual mode in the beginning. Collecting and even reloading needs to be done by hand, which keeps you busy during the second act of gameplay, based solely on defense. This gets hectic to say the least and playing a heated battle can sometimes grow into a frustrating click-war, so it’s not all for the better.
Additionally, you can research new advancements before every round starts, which can aid you either strengthen your base or help you with the insane workload during attacks. But there are also in-game power-ups to be found, that randomly appear on the map. With these you can blast a large amount of foes or strengthen your defenses; but most of all you can save your funds for much needed research.
Presented in a form of two-tone pixel art, ROTT adds a lot of slight lighting and radar visuals to create their war-room playing field. It’s basic and yet it’s not, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the game is low maintenance and with no adjustable video options, you’ll either run it or be doomed. It doesn’t make the game really all that accessible, but then again, neither does the challenging gameplay, so the basic point is that looks can be deceiving.
The sound ranges from smaller explosions to huge war cries, but also implement the annoying war room alarm noises and such, when danger is upon you. While it is more realistic this way and the sounds are very fitting to the game, with slight radar touches here and there, the alarm noises can be both overwhelming and irritating. This is especially true when the threat is highest and you should concentrate on making it out alive. You can debate it’s realistic, but in a real battlefield I’d also think you wouldn’t want to create additional stress in a death defying situation.
The campaign and other modes play themselves out in a fairly straight forward way expected from these games. You set up camp, wait for the monsters and adjust if possible or needed. It’s also here that all the alterations such as manual labor make the game shine out more, as usually just waiting for monsters and praying is rather boring. In ROTT you’ll be busy every second of the round, whether you’re collecting funds, building factories or reloading; there’s always something to do.
In addition, the computer intelligence (AI) in ROTT is one of the better ones I’ve seen so far. Not only do they not simply storm your castle in mass, but every round they’ll observe your tactic, grin at you and then completely adjust their plan of attack. Each round, whenever I thought I had their pattern down and thought they’d simply speed on down the road, I let my guards down just long enough to find a breach on a different side. They really take a large advantage of any flaw in your setup, which makes the game even more challenging.
Unfortunately this intellect again is on the verge between clever implementation and elusive gameplay. On top of that your funds are limited and critical to the next round of play; so if you build too many blasters in one round, you’ll be out of money the next. As these are also necessary for much needed research, you’ll have to resort to limited options in this tightrope walk. It’s admirable that ROTT tries so many novel approaches, but the bad does seem to outweigh the good. Perhaps one or two leniencies would’ve been in order here; just slight ones, so you don’t get raped each time. I know, the sole purpose of the game is to try and kill you, but did they have to be so damn obvious about it?
A video preview can be found here.
When it boils down to it Revenge Of The Titans is a game you’ll either love or hate. Personally, I hate it for I find no joy in an everlasting hectic struggle that infuriates me every step of the way, only to gratify me in the very end. But you have people who like a challenge and even more tactical experts who’ll only struggle in the very basic beginning of the game campaign. Those people can also take on 2 different modes, with Survival and Endless, offering you slight twists of the same subject. But the bottom line is: Yes, it’s an original RTS spin and no, it’s nothing special.