Take a peek at Space Run

space_run-21Space Run is an upcoming PC title that has you build a spaceship while you’re carrying out a mission. Weird right? It looks like you get a blank ‘deck’ built out of hexes and you can add whatever modules seem appropriate to each hex. I feel like we’ve seen games in this same vein before, but not with production values like Space Run has and not with the ‘modify your ship in real time to defeat obstacles’ angle.

Here’s the PR “About” blurb:

About Space Run
Space Run is a nod to ’80s science fiction and pays homage to many of its tropes and references. It is a true indie title developed by a “one-man studio”, namely Sylvain Passot who, after spending 10 years in a large French development studio, decided to develop his own concept, “‘Space Run”. Although nowhere near the scale of the productions he had previously worked on, Sylvain was supported with enough resources to complete and add the finishing touches to his game, and Space Run still has plenty of surprises in store with its well-oiled game mechanics, addictive gameplay and intense, exciting missions.

The year is 2525. You are captain Buck Mann, the most fearless, the most daredevil and the most broke of all the pilots in the galaxy! Your new job: you are a Space Runner, one of the space haulage contractors whose job is to transport valuable cargo from one end of the galaxy to the other… and one thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Not only do the cosmic highways regularly pass through asteroid belts of all sizes, but they are also used by dangerous and unscrupulous pirates armed to the teeth, whose fighters and battle cruisers will make short work of your transport vessel if you’re totally unprepared. And finally, you will also encounter other galactic “drivers” with whom you are fiercely competitive, so take this opportunity to give them a friendly blast from your turbo lasers when you overtake them!

Fulfil your contracts with gusto and your reputation will soar, opening the doors to new clients and more demanding and hazardous assignments… but which will also be more lucrative! The rewards earned from these missions will enable you to unlock new modules for your ship or upgrade those you already own: luxuries you can’t afford to be without if you want to survive the mortal perils lurking in space. Laser turrets, missile launchers, shield generators, thrusters, power plants and other modules will allow you to adapt to new combat situations in mid-flight that arise on your travels. Build, recycle, repair and reposition the modules and improvise as best you can to deal with the multiple threats you will face.

Retry the first missions with new and more technically advanced modules you’ve just unlocked to complete them more quickly and improve your score. Then enter a brutal race with your friends to finish each mission in the shortest time possible… preferably with your ship still intact!

And check out this trailer.

Release date is just listed as Q2 so it should be out fairly soon but we don’t know exactly when. It’s being pitched as an Indie title so most likely it’ll be priced somewhere in the $10-$20 range (just a guess on my part).

Left 4 Dead demo review

Last night I downloaded the Left 4 Dead demo off of XBox Live. This is a game I’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. I tried playing it solo, since realistically that’s how I’d be playing it if I bought the game. Scheduling 4 friends to get together to play a game online is pretty much impossible at this stage of my life. Too many wife/kid/girlfriend issues in my social circles.

As a single player game, Left 4 Dead looks great, really sets a great tone and… gets boring really fast. The first ten minutes is amazing as hordes of zombies come charging at you and your 3 NPC friends and you mow them down. The zombies are like aggressive cockroaches, as they come flooding out of a sewer opening or the doorway of a darkened warehouse.

The AI is great. They’ll get you out of trouble and even offer you extra gear (without you asking for it). They’ll call out items laying around and special zombies incoming. They’re skilled too. On my first scorecard I, ahem, ranked last in everything but damage taken, where I came in first. At the same time, they don’t make the game feel easy. You really do need four capable fighters to survive.

On the other hand, you spend a lot of time in dark buildings. Really dark. Bottom of a cave dark. Your flashlight will light up an area about the size of a basketball. There’s no reflective light in the rooms, no ambient light from the flashlights of the other 3 members of your team. Suddenly your XBox Experience is like looking through a pinhole. Yes, it adds to the tension but it quickly becomes really tedious not being able to see. You can get lost in a small bathroom; that’s how small the beam is.

Outside is more fun but I soon started getting the Hellgate: London effect. Block after block of ruined buildings got monotonous really fast. Swarm after swarm of zombies, ditto. Granted the demo is only one level, but it just didn’t hold my interest for very long. And while the idea of getting attacked from all sides constantly is interesting, in practice it felt a bit like a chore, having to constantly turn around and look behind, look up, look down, look to each side (the shoulder buttons do insta-turn you, to be fair). I can see how this could be really compelling for some gamers, but for me it just felt like a lot of work.

I’m guessing multiplayer with friends would be a *lot* more fun, so if that’s how you plan to play it, definitely check out the demo. But I can’t see spending $60 to play this game single player (and to be fair I don’t think Valve has ever pitched as a single player game).

Aaron at Anyway Games had a much different and more positive reaction to the demo. Check out what he has to say: Left 4 Dead Demo