TheIndieJar: Cortex Command Preview
Voxels (physics particles in a game engine) have become an attainable goal with the power of modern PCs. Cortex Command uses them to make 2D maps, and then make things explode in them!
The premise for the game is explained in a short cut scene; humans wanted to explore outside of their solar system but the time it would take to reach anywhere meant that they would die before even getting close. A method was developed to remove and preserve only the brain of a person which would be woken up when it arrives. Obviously a brain can’t get very far by itself so robotic skeletons were developed to perform tasks commanded by these brains. Later, war breaks out between corporations that all want the rights to mine gold from a planet, so these brains command the armies and workers to do it!
There are two main parts of the game: a campaign and a 2D side-scrolling shooter – not like Contra, but more like Terraria. Digging for gold, through pixel sized voxels gives you the resource to call down guns, tools and bodies from the space station in orbit. If you’re poor then blunderbusses and AK-47s are as much as you can afford, but once you gain ground there are some pretty awesome things to play with. Anyone for a RPG that fires chainsaws? Lazers, mortars and crab tanks – there are some very interesting ways to separate the enemy from their extremities. Explosions!
The most recent update for the game has implemented some AI for the campaign. If you don’t have friends then AI will take the place of 1-3 other teams that take part in a cool meta game; this part of the campaign is where you divide up your money to attack or defend positions on the world map. The money is ounces of gold that you dig up from each landing site (if you possess it) at the end of the round, so everyone is after everything you’ve got!
As you can imagine, this can get hectic when all four factions vie for the same area. What can really turn up the mayhem is the fact that those three other factions can be controlled by your mates, in local multiplayer. If you’re lucky enough to have captured a site you can keep it by building an underground base to protect your brain. One of the cooler features is that as well as the base being preserved between matches, so is the carnage – any damage, debris and soldiers (living) left there will stay there until they are cleared away or added to by more explosions. If you know your base and its surroundings well, this can be a big advantage.
Later in levels the amount of giblets and characters can get a bit much; on my laptop the game starts to run in slow-mo. To be fair it is currently in beta and thus there are some optimisations coming for the full release. Watching a space rocket crush three of your opponent’s drones then seeing bits of metal and meaty chunks explode thirty feet into the air is very satisfying. It’s definitely something I look forward to sharing with my mates when they come round!
Follow the Dev on Twitter: @DataRealms
Developer Website: datarealms.com
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