There are increasingly more free-to-play games headed to Steam, ever since its humble beginnings of titles like Spiral Knights. Warside, a side-scrolling multiplayer shooter, takes a similar approach to peers like The Showdown Effect from publisher Paradox Interactive. We received a key a few days prior to Steam launch to get introduced with the basics, but decided to wait for people to be thrown into the lot. There’s a lot of work at hand for this project to stay solid, but it does manage to not come off as completely irredeemable from the start. We’ll provide gameplay commentary below.
Warside starts with picking one of several classes, then divided again into specialization and faction. Most characters rely both on speed and automatic weaponry, though rocket launchers and the like are also provided. Jumping in a match can be done either against other players or in a team with a set of objectives against artificial intelligence (AI), such as in Warframe.
Aiming is done with a reticule that lingers at a certain range, moving along with the brisk pace set by the game. When hit, characters first deplete replenishing shields prior to getting taxed on health, which does not regenerate. According to the chosen specialization, obstacles and height differences are tackled with things like jumps, jetpacks or an anti-gravitational field that allows for brief flight. Aside from the loose, floating aspect of movement decided by the games pace, as well as possible hang-ups in scenery, controlling the battlefield works as intended, also making fights quite hectic. Shooting, flying and twirling can often be seen in the open expanses of maps, though plenty of corridor settings are available as well, for classes that need to corner opponents.
Matches yield experience that goes into some progression elements, offset in three different tiers that each have periodic skills to be acquired. Another portion of Warside’s longevity is done through equipment, both for weaponry as well as armor and auxiliary gadgets. Here, the game’s trick is to hand out cases with random items, as several popular shooters have done so before. Rewards can also be obtained through certain missions and so on. There is quite a bit of depth in what the project wants to achieve and with both AI and competitive elements, there’s enough to make it last a while.
However, it should be stated that Warside is currently in the most barebones of Alpha states, functional at the least optimal operation. Matchmaking fails constantly, explanation is often far off; hell, most text was in Russian or unavailable when we first played it. Inconsistencies like this make can make for some surreal experience where everyone is just scrapping it out, Wild West style, at the moment. Several keybindings don’t work, while others do, all completely at random. Enemies spawn, sometimes they don’t, bosses can require a retry even after defeating them. The list of things to buff out is extensive, so going into the game requires patience on the player’s side.
For more info, check out the gameplay commentary below.