Previews// PAX Round-Up: Commander Kamala, CREA and Dreadnought

Posted 17 Sep 2015 13:39 by
Chris O'Regan, host of The Sausage Factory podcast (which takes a deep dive into the development process with games studios, you should listen to it), has travelled to the future to sample the games that will be interfering with your older brain. When we say the future, we mean PAX Prime. When we say 'interfering with your older brain', that is exactly what we mean. Read on for what he found...

Commander Kamala
Developer: Escape Fuel
Format(s): Windows PC, Mac & Linux

While I was at PAX Prime 2015 I found myself in front of a genuine Asteroids machine replete with vector based CRT and the foreboding 'thud-thud' sound emanating from it. I played it for a while and came to the conclusion that like before I never really knew when to use hyperspace, knowing it was a very limited resource.

Not once, however, did I ever think 'why am I shooting at these rocks?' or 'Wouldn't this game be amazing if I was playing a space cop that bent the rules whose partner was a talking dog?'. Amazingly these two very questions entered the collective heads of Escape Fuel and the answer was a resounding 'yes'. How do I know this? Well because they made Commander Kamala that's why.

Commander Kamala is an action adventure game built around the concept of blasting aggressive space ships, rocks and space monsters while trying to capture space pirates. As these pirates' ships are destroyed they drop escape pods, which need to be gathered up and put into stasis ready for transport into the local law enforcement agency. There is a limited amount of time to do this and the player must hoover them up quickly after each kill in order to gain bounty for each one.

Each level in Commander Kamala is a small sector in space that can be traversed to via warp gates. These gates are a form of vortices that suck the players ship into warp space and places them into a neighbouring sector. Commander Kamala boasts and extensive map system that shows adjacent sectors to the player will keeping them in the dark about unexplored systems.

The graphical style adopted for Commander Kamala is very much in the comic book vein with simple textures and thick black outlines being prevalent throughout. There are also a lot of characters in Commander Kamala that pipe up whenever a significant event occurs thanks to it being triggered by the player. These exchanges are quite funny as none of the crew under Commander Kalama's charge are playing with a full deck and therefore have their own agendas to pursue, few of which match each other.

I played Commander Kamala using the classic WASD + mouse combination. Movement was via the WASD keys while the mouse was used to aim. This allows the player to strafe targets very easily but also find themselves drifting into things that caused a significant amount of damage. If anything I found this to be a little cumbersome to deal with and would have probably been better off using a controller. Despite this I did enjoy my time with Commander Kamala and look forward to its arrival sometime in 2016.

Commander Kamala is due to appear on Windows PC, Mac and Linux

Developer: Siege Games
Format: Windows PC

Sandbox adventure games are difficult beasts to develop for as their appeal is in their open-ended nature. Their draw is to see how long you can survive based on the tools the game provides the player in the world they have found themselves in. CREA embraces this concept by going several stages further, offering very easy mod tools to be incorporated into CREA thus giving even greater freedom to the player to create, should they so choose to do so.

Play takes place of a 2D landscape that the player traverses by jumping and climbing their way about the environment that they can choose to alter. Holes and shafts can be dug to reach ore, which is then converted to other materials for the creation of useful items. All very familiar for sure, but CREA's approach is somewhat more open than the traditional sandbox adventure game in that an element of frivolity is infused into the game. Additionally, the mod tools found within it are very approachable and encourage players within the CREA community to swap mods and improve on each other's work.
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