Syndrome Announced for 2016

Indie studio Camel 101 and Bigmoon Entertainment have announced Syndrome, a first person space survival horror, to be released for the PC, Xbox One, PS4, Mac and Linux in June 2016.

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Dungeons

During ScampLAN, I tried out DUNGEONS on a friend’s PC.
Dungeons is a strategy RPG by Kalypso Media, where you play the role of a deposed Dungeon Lord fighting his way back to power by creating fantastic dungeons and killing off heroes and explorers who come to plunder your riches.

On the first part of the tutorial, you learn how to navigate by taking your goblin minion through a few corridors, and here, I found turning was choppy and awkward.  Fortunately, I was told the game itself wasn’t so bad.. though the next part of the story had me escape my original dungeon lair, and I found it very easy to lose track of where the Lord was amongst all the details, never mind the place he was meant to go!

So.. starting off at the bottom again, you have a tiny dungeon with nothing much in it.  To enlarge the dungeon and your influence,  you need to convert or build monster pentagrams.. first killing any non-loyal monsters.  As well as gaining influence, you need a source of Soul Energy, which you gather from Heroes!  Heroes enter your dungeon in search of treasure, and build up Soul Energy as they do the things they are interested in.. gather gold, fight monsters, etc.  To get the Soul Energy, you simply attack the Heroes and imprison them, which squeezes the Energy out of them!

As I progressed through the first few levels, I found the difficulty increasing too..

Placing monster pentagrams to increase the size of the dungeon meant I kept coming close to the population cap whilst not quite expanding as far as I wanted in any direction.. and meant the monsters were spread around the edges of the map instead of tactically placed near my Dungeon Heart or treasure.  I also started to get harassed by the Zombie King, who wanted me to ‘donate’ Soul Energy to him almost as fast as I was earning it.. this left me less room to concentrate on the missions at hand and made it more frustrating than enjoyable.

In addition to increasing his influence, the Dungeon Lord needs to earn prestige by building gimmicks.. coffins, braziers and so on.  Apart from using them to entice Heroes along different routes within the Dungeon, they do give a nice bit of atmosphere.  However, at times the requirement for a set amount of prestige meant littering rooms with gimmicks and spoiling the illusion altogether.

I did like the options for levelling up the character and his skills, with three skill trees: combat, improvements or building, but felt the only way to go was improvements.. this would then allow you to leave your monsters to handle invading forces rather than trying to micro-manage everything.

Terraria

A new game appeared in my friends’ group over the weekend – Terraria.  As I have a silly number of unplayed games in my collection, I was going to give it a miss.. but they kept talking about it with such obvious enthusiasm that I started to feel a bit left out..

Terraria is a 2D scrolling adventure game which has a few similarities to Minecraft.. you start in a randomly generated world, with trees and other resources to gather.  Once you have collected enough goodies, you can craft items: weapons, building materials and decorative items.

There are monsters, ranging from coloured slime with little health, right up to some fairly tough bosses, which you can summon when you’re ready to take them on.  Unlike in Minecraft, the appearance of monsters is not limited to the night-time.. so while you could build a shelter and hide, it’s far better to get out there and fight!

As you find better resources and loot, you can craft stronger weapons and armour.. you can also level your character up with items which increase your total health and add a mana pool.. and you will need to do this if you’re going to take on the bosses! 🙂

Another dissimilarity to Minecraft comes in the form of the NPCs you can attract, should you build shelter for them to live in, and met a few requirements.  The merchant has a range of items for sale, the nurse can heal you, the Arms Dealer sells guns, and the Guide.. well..

The Guide got me into trouble.

I started out in the world knowing very little about the game, as I wanted to experience and learn as I went along.. and seeing the Guide, I expected I’d have to follow him along a little way before getting into the game properly.

However, he led me off the grass and onto a manky grey surface with spiky weeds.. Corruption, which I’m told is not normally this close to spawn.  The spiky weeds hurt, so I decided to leave the Guide to his wandering and go back to the grass.. but before I got back I met my first monster, the Eater of Souls!

I found I could take one point of health from him with my pickaxe, but before he was dead another appeared.. this was too much to handle on top of the damage from the weeds in the Corruption, and I managed to die within one minute of spawning! So much for an easy game at lunch 😉

After respawning I tried to explore to the left, but met Slimes, as well as a rather high mountain.. then night came, bringing zombies, so I went to dig down and instead met some kind of worm.. more death!

Eventually I went after the Guide, hacking away the spiky parts of Corruption so I could walk there.. I found him trapped in water above his head, still alive apparently, and as soon as I’d made a path he headed back up the hill.  I cut a path down into one of the caves, and trapped him there!

I was surprised how quickly the corruption spread across the dirt tiles.. I came to take screenshots at the end of play, and found it had grown like this.. 😮

Terraria also has a multiplayer mode, and after a friend set up a server I joined them.  Multiplayer allows co-op and PvP, which you can toggle on individually.. you can also form teams which adds a little indicator to show which direction and how far away your friends are.

Both friends had played for a while already, and as characters keep all their equipment and resources when they enter a world, they already had some decent gear.  As I was now on my home PC, and the game has no Steam cloud support, I had to start from scratch, but I didn’t mind as I’d barely collected or looted anything yet.

I was given a better pickaxe, as well as some bombs and some other random items.. I went exploring for resources while one friend built a large tower and filled it with rooms.. this meant the NPCs started to arrive, though till I’ve earnt more money I can’t buy from them. 😉

He also went and summoned the Eye of Cthulu.. I got killed trying to take a look at him the first time, but after being given hearts and levelling up somewhat, I was able to take part in the second fight! 🙂

We fought him from a platform, so there was plenty of room to avoid him as he swung past.  As well as attacking you by himself, he fires little eyes at you.. the magic boomerang came in handy for those, killing them before they got too close 🙂

The Eye’s second phase was a little creepier, as the pupil and iris were replaced by a mouth full of sharp teeth..

It wasn’t too much longer before we killed him though.. the flaming arrows, magic boomerang and Undoer’s spiky ball of win made sure of that! 🙂