Monday, October 12, 2015

PC Review #130: Cryptark

Title: Cryptark
Developer: Alientrap
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Price: $12.99
Massive derelict space ships drift through the black abyss, filled with valuable alien technology to pilfer. But the ultimate prize is the mysterious Cryptark and its advanced cargo. To find the titular vessel, you'll need to scour intel from other ships. It won't be easy.
In this new rogue-lite shooter from Alientrap, you're a commissioned alien privateer, scavenging abandoned space hulks as your team closes in on the Cryptark. But while vessels may be abandoned, they certainly aren't empty. The security systems of these ships are still active and alien entities lurk within. The only way to disable a ship is to destroy its central core, and that's where you come in.

Piloting a heavily-armed mech suit, you must explore hazardous ship interiors, choosing which defenses to disable before launching your assault on the core. From shield generators and repair systems that fix destroyed systems to turrets and map jammers, these defenses can easily overwhelm you if they aren't dealt with. You don't have to destroy every system though; choosing which to prioritize and which order to disable them is the key to success in Cryptark.
The security systems aren't the only dangers. Mechanical organisms roam the vessels, ranging from massive sawblades to shielded Juggernauts that unleash powerful scatter shots. However, you're more than capable of matching enemy firepower with your own arsenal.

Your mech has four weapon slots, four items slots, and an extensive array of equipment to mix and match. Smart machine guns whose bullets can curve around corners, nuke rockets, slime mortars that unleash corrosive fluid, EMP shotguns, lightning guns, lasers, flamethrowers, shields, and much more. You can dual- or even quad-wield weapons too, unleashing a storm of lead to annihilate your enemies.
It's in the midst of that chaos that Cryptark shines. Your firepower feels heavy and powerful, and deftly evading projectiles, lasers, and charging enemies is just as satisfying. Visually, the action pops with vibrant colors and lighting, illuminating the dark interiors with explosions and flames and lasers.

The pre-assault planning is engaging too: weighing the cost of your equipment against the payout of the ship you're going to scavenge, molding your loadout to best deal with the defenses and enemies onboard, scanning ships to see which systems are present and deciding which to tackle first, from what entry point.
Cryptark is currently on Early Access, but it's easily one of the most polished and content-heavy Early Access releases I've played yet, on par with the gold standards like Prison Architect and Darkest Dungeon. The developers plan to expand the game with persistent upgrades, new mech suits and weapons, more enemies, systems, and ship designs, an expanded narrative, and even co-op.

You can purchase Cryptark on Steam, Humble, or directly from the game's site.

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