Showing posts with label player progression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label player progression. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Design review of Against The Storm, by Eremite Games

Against the Storm by Eremite Games (Steam page, official site) is a popular 2.5D town-building run-based RTS with a Warcraft 3 inspired aesthetic and a deckbuilding meta-game progression.

You spend an hour building a base while fulfilling randomized mini-goals for victory points. When you have enough victory points, you leave that base behind, and restart on a new map to build a new base to unlock more buildings and resource types and perks to add to your shuffled deck of possible choices. This all ties into an overarching "world map" meta to unlock more bonuses.

It's well-made and I can see why it's popular, but design-wise, I feel it's overburdened with too much stuff...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Mapping the sea floors of Subnautica

This post spoils the core gameplay and player progression in Subnautica, but not the specific story nor scripted plot events.

Subnautica is a long open world survival game set in a vast deep ocean. In it, you have to forage for food, manage your oxygen when diving into caves and deep sea trenches, and collect resources to build your own underwater base(s) and submarine(s) to find out What Really Happened Here.

Much like the other first person indie survival game The Long Dark, Subnautica features no combat, no world map, and essentially no NPCs or quests to complete for anyone. The few lethal weapons are either cumbersome and annoying to maintain (poison gas torpedoes must be crafted and loaded) or practical but anti-juicy (your knife)... but most importantly, unlike The Long Dark's focus on hunting, killing creatures in Subnautica *never* yields any reward or drops -- even when the game confusingly asks you to collect shark teeth but killing sharks never yields any shark teeth.

(Why? Well, there's a few story threads about how use of force cannot get you what you want, as well as a faint anti-capitalist / anti-colonialist message. But the smoking gun of authorial intent is in the credits: a dedication to the families of Newtown, Connecticut. The design lead has also talked about their no-gun philosophy.)

PC Gamer already did a nice roundtable about Subnautica's early climactic story moment, so instead I want to focus on Subnautica's most interesting systemic feature: its depth-based 3D level design, and implications on the rest of the game.