Pulsar: Lost Colony
Artemis is one of those games that makes so much sense that it is surprising it hasn't been made before. Billed as a Star Trek bridge simulator, players assumed a singular role of engineer, scientist, weapons officer, pilot, communications, or captain aboard a starship. It is truly one of the great in-person LAN experiences in all of video games.
Pulsar: Lost Colony takes that idea and enhances the experience to something more accessible. Pulsar comes with built in online play so one could play in the comfort of their own home. While it loses some of the immediacy and atmosphere of an in-person LAN, Pulsar is infinitely more accessible and playable. The starship no longer exists as just a series of screens with a third-person view. The starships in Pulsar are fully 3D with passageways, lounges, and rooms. Players are able to control an individual character with their own set of skills with a RPG-like points upgrade system. Furthermore, the player-run crew is able to participate on away missions on a planet’s surface or a derelict starbase. This feature adds a whole new experience that feels full of unlimited potential.
The main attraction is the ship-to-ship combat which emphasizes teamwork above all. Science officers have to stave off computer viruses and modulate shields. Engineers allocate power to the proper systems. The weapons officer can command the most deadly of arsenals. The prospect of exploring different planets, completing missions, and encountering new undiscovered aliens instill Pulsar: Lost Colony with the potential to be a rewarding, unending game to fulfill all your sci-fi impulses.
Unfortunately, Pulsar: Lost Colony is still in early access on Steam. In fact, it is still fairly early in its development. However, the game is currently extremely playable despite not being content complete. After a very satisfying five hour game with a full crew of friends, many of the planets and enemies repeated over and over, but the core game is so satisfying that it is one early access game to watch.
Dungeon Souls is one of those Early Access games that doesn’t really seem like an early access game. It feels like a complete and very playable game with the developer promising more characters, levels, and features. You would be hard pressed to find part of the experience that is incomplete.
Mashing up aspects of some of the best in the genre, Dungeon Souls is another entry in the recent proliferation of roguelikes. The collectible power-ups are like Risk of Rain where items are randomized and give permanent abilities. All of the status effects stack upon each other, and like the aforementioned game, with a little luck, certain combinations can be quite satisfying and effective. Dungeons Souls, like Nuclear Throne and Overture, has a robust roster of characters with different abilities and traits that really change up the player’s approach to the hordes of enemies.
Aside from the solid roguelike elements, Dungeon Souls has some of the best pixel graphics from the past year. While pixel, retro style art is commonplace in modern gaming, the game manages to have its own particular style, especially with some of the larger boss characters that dominate the screen. The game is gorgeous.
Dungeon Souls isn’t the most original game being developed, but it is an immensely re-playable roguelike that is unforgiving, robust, and fun.