First Looks// Post-PAX Impressions: Upsilon Circuit, Viking Squad, World of Warships

Posted 7 Oct 2014 12:30 by
Sometimes Chris gets so busy the rest of us start to sweat just from following him on Twitter. He dug into a LOT of games over the course of PAX Prime 2014, and over the next week or so we're going to be bringing you his impressions. For the final instalment we've got Upsilon Circuit, Viking Squad and World of Warships...

Upsilon Circuit by The Robot Loves Kitty

There has been a recent spate of games becoming incredibly difficult. Not impossible, mind you, for that is where madness lies. No, just indescribably hard to the point where getting anywhere in them is a sign that you're either a videogaming savant or insane, or possibly both. Robot Loves Kitty, the developer behind the rather excellent Legend of Dungeon has embraced this new trend and taken it to a new level, that being the invention of Perma-PERMA Death in their new game, Upsilon Circuit.

Toted as a cross between a game show and an action adventure, when people play the game they can only do so once. After their in-game character dies and they can never play the game again.

Yes you did read that correctly, Upsilon Circuit can only ever be played once. Players barred from returning can, however, offer advice to others as they watch them via video, and they can even provide assistance in the form of item drops and trap alerts. Ultimately it is up to the player to survive as long as possible before they too meet their eventual fate.

As players gain experience the points they earn are distributed to the audience who then decide how they are spent in the character's skill tree. The player has no control over this and must submit themselves to the whim of the viewing audience. This adds a significant amount of agency on the part of the viewing audience and the player, forcing a relationship between both that must be a robust one otherwise things will not go well for the person controlling the onscreen avatar.

Clearly Upsilon Circuit is a very ambitious idea and I played a very early build of the game during its first public outing at PAX Prime 2014. Whether it will be successful or not remains to be seen, but in this age of Let's Play videos, it seems to be a natural extension to have the audience impact the game they are watching in a way that goes beyond a comments thread.

With Upsilon Circuit so early in development it is very difficult to say when it will be released. A reasonable guess would be sometime in 2016 and it will be on PC, Mac and Linux formats.

Viking Squad by Slick Entertainment

Lefty-righty brawlers is not a genre I'm terribly familiar with. The likes of Double Dragon and Golden Axe have always left me somewhat cold. So when I encountered Viking Squad I did so with some trepidation, but my apprehension quickly evaporated once I swung my first hammer in the name of Odin.

Viking Squad is a sidescrolling co-op team combat game. Taking on the role of Norse hero, players must smash their way through a mythical Nordic realm by using a combination of special abilities that complement each Viking. While some can stun enemies others can fire at long range, allowing for players to line up targets for others to dispatch.

All of this occurs at an incredibly rapid rate as the pacing of Viking Squad is not too dissimilar to a kids cartoon, with quick cut-aways between scenes and a screen full of explosions and pyrotechnics as the players make their destructive way across the play area.
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