The other week we told you about the launch of the six-degrees-of-freedom shooter Neon XSZ on Desura. While it’s nice to read about something new and different, that’s rarely grounds for spending $10 on a game in its alpha stage of development. Hands-on experience, on the other hand, does a much better job of justifying a game’s existence, and that’s finally available for all thanks to the Neon XSZ demo that was released this weekend. The demo is a content-restricted edition of the full current version, with the ship’s level capped at 4 and three hulls available. From a time perspective it’s unlimited, though, so there’s plenty of room to play with the upgrade system, raid enemy territory, and get a sense of the hidden gameplay depths of what is, on the surface, a fairly straightforward-looking shooter.
In other Neon XSZ news, the current project being worked on for the next update is squadron AI. Currently ships just fly around doing their thing, but now both enemies and allies can band together to fly in formation. Allies will do this more visibly, because once an enemy formation spots you it splits up, but still considers itself a unit. Attack the leader and you’ve just brought a whole world of hurt down on yourself. Squadrons are less likely at low levels and the odds of one forming increase as you start encountering stronger ships, and more powerful squadrons are planned to conduct raids into enemy territory. This should make for some interesting encounters, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that effects venturing into enemy territory in the next alpha update.
The demo is available for PC and Mac, and will be running on Linux early this week. If you don’t want to deal with the Desura client, you can do a direct download from here.