Apr 26, 2017 Last Updated 5:21 PM, Apr 26, 2017

SKIPCHASER Early Access Review

Published in Action
Read 343 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Beginning with a modest entry to a Ludum Dare challenge, SKIPCHASER is an up-and-coming narrative-driven, sci-fi, roguelike shooter from the developers at Ponywolf.  SKIPCHASER presents the tried-and-true premise of a wasteland ruled by bandits and mutants.  You are a trigger-happy bounty hunter that will mow down any given gang of baddies, provided that the price is right.  You'll find that your guns are your most faithful companions as you look to scrounge a measly living amongst many violent exchanges of bullets and explosions.

The main attraction to this title is the weapon crafting.

Whether they're long or short, fast or slow, weak or strong; you acquaint yourself with all types of guns.  SKIPCHASER's way of gunsmithing is most comparable to patch-working a Frankenstein monster: you take the disembodied remains of different wholes and combine them to create a destructive amalgamation.  Different parts will essentially modify basic stats, such as fire rate, damage, and accuracy.  And of course, there’s the possibility of mix-and-matching different elemental types which are specifically effective against various types of enemies.  What’s great about this system is that it has the potential for in-depth customization with a wide range of combinations.  Each gun blueprint leaves room for the arrangement of about five different components that you can interchange to fit your personal preferences or to meet the needs of a particular dungeon or enemy type.  But, while there does seem to be the workings of a brilliant mechanic stirring up here, too much is left to be desired in the remaining facets of the title.

Combat is mildly satisfying and devoid of intense, adrenaline-pumping engagement: it’s pretty much your run-of-the-mill alternation between shooting and juking; pump some enemies with a flurry of bullets and back up or take cover, just to repeat the cycle.  This is mostly because of unexcitable AI.  Some enemies will trudge at you from a distance, and you must shoot them down so that they may unenthusiastically fall, meters before you.  Others enemies can actually return fire, but it’s a simple matter of avoiding the linear path of a projectile. The bosses are no different.  I found that spamming both your guns and grenades at long range was an easy trick to take down what was supposed to be the toughest foe of an area.  Other props you’ll find are explosive barrels  - rarely useful - and landmines - easily avoided.  The only thing that might prove a threat is the actually intuitive overheat mechanic that renders your weapons useless when you hold the fire button down for too long.  Otherwise, combat is lackluster and not the vibe expected of a renegade space bounty-hunter.

That said, a lot of the game isn't finished.

While story directs progression, the plot is currently under development.  As of now, there are only five missions from the first act, so the world has not been fully built, and dialogue may seem both scarce and vague.  There is also a current lack of in-depth optimization regarding graphics and sound, in fact, SKIPCHASER currently lacks a proper pause menu.  While enemies are procedurally generated to create the possibility of thousands of visual combinations, there are still only four classes of different foes to fight, leaving room to add more types and expand combat variety in dungeons.

However, although not optimized, the visuals and music are still pretty good.  You have a simple and clean aesthetic based on a luminescent collusion of basic polygon shapes.  The palette and lighting effects give off a trippy, spacey feel and adapt well to the theme of sci-fi.  As for the soundtrack, you have a nice handful of calm and relaxing electronic tunes.  It’s the kind of music that you could chill to as you drift through an endless starry oblivion - if you weren’t constantly engaged in firefights within the abandonments of a foreign galaxy.

6

The Verdict

Currently, while the gun crafting system is promising, there are many aspects of this title that are obviously unfinished or unrefined.  But, after all, SKIPCHASER is an Early Access title.  In fact, at the menu screen, a disclaimer makes this announcement.  There is plenty of time for the developers to flesh out the groundwork they have laid, which at present, may seem bare and unelaborate, but by no means lacks potential.  Overall, in its current state of infancy, SKIPCHASER might not provide instant gratification, but rather a hopeful investment for when it’s finished.

James Huynh

James Huynh is a college student pursuing a degree, and is also an avid gamer.  He enjoys all types of games, but he is particularly interested in the indie genre.  James has a profound appreciation for geek culture and loves to waste time playing League of Legends and Overwatch with his friends.

Related items

  • Prey

    In Prey, you awaken aboard Talos I, a space station orbiting the moon in the year 2032. You are the key subject of an experiment meant to alter humanity forever – but things have gone terribly wrong. The space station has been overrun by hostile aliens and you are now being hunted.

  • Planet Nomads Early Access

    Given that Planet Nomads is in alpha, some of the issues get a pass, but there are other, more serious optimization problems with this title, and the building mechanic is borderline terrible. Movement felt delayed, graphics looked choppy more often than not when moving, and the game went through a serious bout of crashing until I switched to a windowed-only view.
    There’s a lot of room for improvement for this title, but the foundation the devs have built is workable. Keep your eyes on Planet Nomads going forward, but be wary; your expectations might not be met if you jumped into the game now.

  • Blitzkrieg 3 Early Access Review

    There are very few negative aspects to Blitzkrieg 3, which brings unexpected, fresh ideas to one of hardcore gaming’s most recently underserved areas. Blitzkrieg 3 isan exemplary real time strategy title, and it benefits tremendously from its developer’s fourteen years of work on the series and in the genre. Whether you've been with the genre since Dune II, or whether your experience with real-time strategy is somewhere in the nil-to-MOBA range, Blitzkrieg 3 is absolutely worth your time. Get this game and go kill you some Nazis today.

Latest Shows

Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition - AAA Anonymous Epi. 14

Bulletstorm: Ful…

With AAA Anonymous, we discuss our latest AAA game addiction, until the next one replaces it. This episode covers Gearbox's remake of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition... Featuring Du...

OPN DevLounge Monthly - February 2017

OPN DevLounge Mo…

Episode Four, Season One! OPN's DevLounge Monthly is a lively conversation between game developers on Twitch, on the hottest PC games to be released this upcoming month. Watch it o...

Out Soon

PC Gaming Incoming

Little Nightmares

Little Nightmare…

Immerse yourself in Little Nightmares, a dark whimsical tale that will confront you with your childh...

Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3

Sniper: Ghost Wa…

Go behind enemy lines with the ultimate modern military shooter. Play as an American sniper dropped ...

Prey

Prey

In Prey, you awaken aboard Talos I, a space station orbiting the moon in the year 2032. You are the ...

The Sexy Brutale Review

The Sexy Brutale…

The Sexy Brutale is a lush, deliciously dark game that’s part murder mystery, part puzzle-adventure.Taken individually, the components of the gameplay in The Sexy Brutale are not g...

Roots of Insanity Review

Roots of Insanit…

Roots of Insanity is a survival-horror FPS with plenty of creep-factor. The scary noises and the macabre visuals make for a terrifying campaign, and the lack of buffers provides a ...

The Falconers: Moonlight Review

The Falconers: M…

Visual novel veterans will enjoy The Falconers: Moonlight, as will gamers, of any breed, who seek well-crafted stories. Its aesthetic suits its themes, and its sound plays a key ro...

Five Elements Review

Five Elements Re…

Five Elements is an original, challenging, and solid real-time strategy game. Apart from those accolades, though, there’s not much else that wows the player. If you are a lover of ...

Star Story: The Horizon Escape Early Access  Review

Star Story: The …

The worst I can say about Star Story is that I want more of it. I want endgame payoff for storylines that aren't finished. I want more technology and research options because I lik...