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Infected Shelter Early Access Review

Edited by: John Gerritzen

Roguelites have soared in popularity over the past few years, due to creative indie developers delivering unique mechanics that completely change the potential-filled genre. Infected Shelter opts for visual flair and RPG elements by adding executions and a variety of weapons with very low durabilities.   

Nurse, fetch me a cup of applesauce… and a chainsaw!

One of the greatest things about Infected Shelter is how it refuses to take itself seriously in the slightest. The two playable characters in the build that I experienced were a petite rockstar and a wheelchair-bound senior citizen being pushed around by a nurse. There’s something especially satisfying about chopping the undead in half with a divine shovel from the comfort of a wheelchair.

The sheer greatness and creativity that went into player items and characters are why it is so surprising that everything else in the world is so incredibly generic. Enemies range from zombies to soldiers, bats, and giant helicopters. Even your allies at the camp are extremely plain. There is some backstory, but it is very minimally explained. Personally, I’d like to know why a senior citizen and his nurse decided that they’d conquer the apocalypse together.      

Wheelchair-bound combat

Similarly to the old man, the combat in Infected Shelter is severely hindered. There is a very visible lack of flow between moving and attacking, reminiscent of the days of old-school Resident Evil where you were either moving or attacking. Melee range is extremely limited and projectile damage is extraordinarily weak. Most of the time I used the Shovel-Knight-inspired shovel which would summon a giant to attack enemies wherever you swung because it was the only way to do moderate damage with fair range.

The most problematic rule about combat is that enemies have super-armor, meaning that they can attack while you attack them (meanwhile you cannot attack while being hit by them). The only way to efficiently play without taking constant damage is by kiting every enemy which gets quite tiresome when one playthrough will consist of a few hundred. There’s a ton of weapons to collect yet there’s only a few worth using. There are so many items being handed to you all the time that not once have I ever been worried about going into a fight empty-handed in the hours that I played. To add perspective, I was able to beat the entire game (so far) in less than two hours from less than fifteen runs — which is an extremely short playthrough for a genre that prides itself in its dice-roll-based difficulty. I even beat the intentionally-almost-impossible room that awaits at the end. (There was no way to leave except to exit the game.)      

A man of many (useless) talents

Unlike your standard talent tree, all permanent upgrades are bought using the currency that you acquire just from playing. The currency doesn’t disappear between runs, unlike typical roguelites. At first, this was a pleasant surprise until I realized that I was still growing extremely slowly. I was purchasing tons of upgrades yet I never noticed a difference between all of my runs except for the luck in what items I got. By the time I finished the game, I had more than half of the upgrades in every category unlocked and the impact it had was extremely minimal. The lack of growth was by far the most disappointing aspect of Infected Shelter, as watching your character grow as you die hundreds and even thousands of times in other titles within the genre has always been one of the most enjoyable things to look forward to.

5

The Verdict: Fair

Infected Shelter is short, lacks fluidity, and features very generic enemies, but most importantly is still in Early Access. There is a lot of work that needs to be done in order to make this a great title, or at least reach its self-proclaimed title of being “Mortal Kombat + Dead Cells + Castle Crashers.” The price is low and the graphics are great but the combat is still ultimately unenjoyable. Newcomers to the roguelite genre will certainly find some fun in Infected Shelter but I am not confident that experienced roguelite players will find much new or exciting with this title.

Stephen Martino
Written by
Tuesday, 28 May 2019 05:56
Published in Action

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Stephen is the dedicated game critic of his friend group and always has a new recommendation he just can’t keep to himself.  Whether a AAA release or a hidden indie gem, he’s always the one his friends will consult when thinking of picking up a game.  Stephen started his love for gaming back with Resident Evil : Code Veronica on the Sega Dreamcast.  After dumping way too many hours into it, he moved to the Xbox 360 and then the PC upon realizing just how much he loved modding and customization in games.  If you ever plan on playing a game featuring customizable characters with this Brooklynite critiq, you’d better free up your schedule because you know he’s going to be fine-tuning every last slider and color. 

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