Sunday, October 6, 2013

PC Spotlight #19: Subject 9

Title: Subject 9
Developer: Diffusional Arts
Platforms: PC, Mac
Price: $9.99
When one thinks of arcade shooter, perhaps the games that come to mind are titles such as Geometry Wars or even the more recent Assault Android Cactus, games defined by the chaotic non stop action and hordes of enemies. Subject 9 stands out from its shooter brethren thanks to tactical high-tech gameplay and more strategic pacing.
You play as Subject 9, a Vextech test subject on the warpath to escape his captors. Across a variety of arenas and Campaign and Survival modes, you must fend off waves of increasingly challenging enemies, from grunts to foes with specialized defenses and weaponry. To turn the tide in your favor, the player has a wide range of abilities and skills at their disposal which grant the game its tactical nature.
While evasion and quick movement is key to survival, your host of upgrades and powers is what makes Subject 9 unique. Drop bullet-stopping barriers at key chokepoints. Telekinetically throw explosives at enemies from afar. Rain fire from the sky or fry your foes with electric bolts. Hack turrets and equip different ammo types. You can upgrade these abilities as well as your own weapons between each wave.
However while the powers are fun to use and present the player with numerous options, Subject 9 also suffers in other key areas. I felt the controls were sluggish and could use more refinement. Activating your ability wheel thankfully slows down time but leaves you motionless and vulnerable. Also at times the camera can be detrimental to success, due to enemies attacking from off-screen. I feel that with more control and camera improvements, the game could fulfill its full potential, because Subject 9's core mechanics are a lot of fun.
As a solo effort and a debut project, Subject 9 is a fun if flawed experience. The myriad tactics are fun to use and are a great change of pace from other action shooters, but some control and camera issues hamper the enjoyment.

You can buy Subject 9 from the developer's site or on Desura or vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.

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