Saturday, May 19, 2007

In the end, everybody dies

As I'd just found out that the Linux beta for DEFCON is out, I thought that I'd download it and give it a spin. I had played their previous hit game, Darwinia, before. It was an extremely engaging and engrossing game, which was like nothing that I've played before. I had at first downloaded the demo to see what it was like and ended up hooked to it.

As with Darwinia, the graphics for this game is simple and functional, which is what game graphics should be. It isn't like the kind of high budget graphics that you get in most modern games. As you can see from the screenshot, it is essentially nothing but lines and circles used in a very meaningful way. This is a throwback to the days when eye candy wasn't the most essential part of the game, but rather the game play was. It is likely that Introversion had to innovate around graphics simply because they do not have the budget to make the detailed graphics that we have come to expect from high end games. So, they came up with a graphic concept that was simple, functional and elegant at the same time.

And just like Darwinia, the rules for the game are simple, yet you can have endless hours with the game. This is good because it allows people to jump right into the game and learn it. However, mastering it can take quite a while. Unlike Darwinia, which was a single player game, this one is meant to be played multi-player. There are different game modes, from the 15 minute blitz to the full day campaign. However, these are only available in the full version, not the demo. That was one weakness of Darwinia. After the campaign was finished, there wasn't really much else to do with the game except to experiment with the Darwinians or to replay the whole campaign. With this, one can jump in for a quickie during lunch break, or go for the long haul.

And the soundtrack. I cannot forget to talk about the soundtrack. It's extremely eerie and fitting to the game where everybody dies in the end. The bulk of the demo download is audio. Many games these days do not really think much about how a soundtrack can add to the feel of the game. They merely treat the sounds as just ear candy and merely use it to enhance the graphical effects. When a game doesn't have much in terms of graphics, it has to rely on it's sound to generate the ambience. Unlike Darwinia, this one has an excellent sound track.

Just like Darwinia, it's difficult to describe the kind of game it is. It doesn't fit nicely into any classical genre that I know. So, the best thing to do would be to download the demo and just try it out. Just like Darwinia, the game is really small. The whole game is only about 60 Mb. It isn't the size that matters, it's the quality.

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