Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Watchlist: XO

Title: XO
Developer: Jumpdrive Studios
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Early 2016
Command a ragtag fleet of starships to escape an unbeatable enemy and save what's left of humanity
Mankind faces a threat unlike any other: a faceless relentless armada that outclasses us in every way. This unstoppable enemy ravages across the galaxy, abducting humans for unknown purposes. As master tactician and commander aboard the lead battleship of a meager fleet, you must rescue your people and defeat this seemingly unbeatable foe.
Inspired by works such as Battlestar Galactica, The Lost Fleet, and FTL, XO offers strategic space fleet combat, driven by desperation and overwhelming odds. Forget negotiations or colonizing or empire-building; your only goal is survival and enduring long enough to gather your forces. Jumping from planet to planet to collect necessary resources like air and fuel, rescuing disabling ships to add to your fleet, and dealing with the stress and tough decisions of being a leader fighting a war of attrition. You will face mutinies and rebelling generals, will need to make sacrifices, and keep your people strong and focused, if you want to save humanity.

XO's combat occurs on a 2D plane, where you set waypoints and select targets in real time. Time is an important factor in battle; using an ETA slider, you can designate units to flank enemy vessels at the same time from multiple angles, or have your forces attack in waves, among myriad other strategies. The game's vector-art aesthetic turns each encounter into a vibrant spectacle of fleet-to-fleet combat: enemy vessels releasing swarms of fighters and massive harvesters clamping onto disabled ships to extract humans, as your fleet retaliates with point defense cannons, particle accelerators, and defensive sandcasters.
One of the most fascinating aspects of XO is the developer's hard sci-fi approach to every aspect of the game, from ship design to combat. Momentum and physics must be taken into account while setting waypoints. Collecting resources requires you to send diveships to gather fuel from gas giants or water and air from habitable worlds. Planets are procedurally-generated based on their location in a solar system, so distance from a sun determines if a planet is frozen over or a barren molten rock. Even the ship design and weapons tie into this realistic approach: your battleship's large radiator fins at its rear are there to shed heat waste generated by powerful laser cannons.
More information on XO's development and gameplay can be found on the developer's blog; XO is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and votes on Steam Greenlight.

1 comment:

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