Strafe

Hyper - - EDITORIAL -

Wear­ing their love of '90s first-per­son shoot­ers proudly on their sleeve, the team at Pixel Titans are mak­ing sure Strafe pays homage to the clas­sics like Quake and Doom with­out be­ing slaves to out­dated de­sign.

“We aren’t try­ing to recre­ate that look ex­actly; we do put in some real-time lights and add some crazy physics,” ex­plains Lead Pro­gram­mer and com­pany Co-Founder Stephen Raney. “It has some of the great mod­ern ameni­ties of new games, but also keeps some of the great stuff from the old fast-paced shoot­ers.”

For ex­am­ple, re­mem­ber when clas­sic shoot­ers made you carry a tonne of dif­fer­ent weapons? Or how you saved up those pre­cious rock­ets and never used the launcher? Strafe does. So, to counter that, you can start with one of three pri­mary weapons, in­clud­ing an au­to­matic ri­fle, a shot­gun and a rail­gun. Then af­ter that you’ll rely on just one ad­di­tional weapon you can find within the game.

The catch is these ex­tra guns are al­ways found low on ammo and you can’t pick up ex­tra rounds. It’s a way of sub­tly en­cour­ag­ing play­ers to ac­tu­ally use these weapons then toss them and find an­other in­stead of hord­ing them for a later fight.

Some­thing you do want to hold onto is scrap metal. Strafe’s very ba­sic plot in­volves you be­ing a scrap­per: some­one who searches plan­ets for any kind of valu­able junk. Scrap can be found hid­den around the level, or by killing en­e­mies, and is used at craft­ing sta­tions to make items like ar­mour or to pro­duce cred­its. Cred­its can be used at the mer­chant shops to buy abil­i­ties like dou­ble-jump or speed boosts.

An­other up­date to the clas­sic for­mula is Strafe is both a rogue­like, mean­ing you get one life be­fore it’s game over, and pro­ce­du­rally gen­er­ated lev­els. In or­der to keep the game log­i­cal and flow­ing, the de­vel­op­ers have made a num­ber of hand­crafted pieces that will be ran­domly stuck to­gether on each play-through, but I as­sure you my mul­ti­ple test ses­sions all felt very dif­fer­ent.

The big ques­tion is: how does it play? And the an­swer is it’s as tight as the orig­i­nal Quake, but it felt even more un­for­giv­ing. I kind of for­got how, back then, en­e­mies weren’t look­ing for cover or work­ing to­gether, they just want you dead. The golden rule of sur­vival in Strafe is to just keep mov­ing.

An­other half-step out of the '90s planned for Strafe is Ocu­lus Rift sup­port, but a con­sole re­lease, on­line co-op, and sup­port­ing HTC Vive are things the team won’t com­mit to at this stage.

“Our team is small,” says Di­rec­tor and com­pany Co-Founder Thom Glunt, “so although there’s a lot of cool things we want to put in it, there’s al­ways the con­cern that that’ll come at the ex­pense of us fin­ish­ing the things we want to put in it.”

For now, their fo­cus is on get­ting Strafe out and into the hands of gamers who need to get their sim­ple, blocky first-per­son-shooter fix with all the mod­ern trim­mings.

STRAFE HAS SOME OF THE GREAT MOD­ERN AMENI­TIES OF NEW GAMES, BUT KEEPS STUFF FROM OLD­SCHOOL SHOOT­ERS

DEVELOPER PUB­LISHER PLAT­FORM RE­LEASE DATE Pixel Titans De­volver PC, Mac TBA 2017

Nav­i­ga­tion is easy: avoid rooms filled with loads of bloody corpses

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