The Overload Kickstarter is on its final run and could use a solid push to cross its funding goal finish line. Thankfully Revival Productions had an ace up its sleeve with the playable prototype, and as it turns out it’s everything you’d want a spiritual Descent sequel to be. Twisty architecture, tough mining bots, lots of firepower, and a level design that has no interest in the constraints of gravity are joined by an excellent lighting engine and lots of debris from the shattered robot wreckage.
The levels in the prototype are small but have that distinctive Descent style, with passageways tucked away where you wouldn’t think to look and secret doors waiting for a laser-shot to open. The prototype has three game modes, in the form of a Tutorial, Challenge, and classic Destroy the Reactor sequence. The tutorial has a few weapons and the robots are slow and not too bright, perfect for getting to grips with the controls, while Challenge and Reactor both feature stronger resistance. Enemies are bulkier than the original Descent games, but it’s a lot of fun to blow off chunks of armor to create weak points. The controls feel smooth, with a sense of weight behind them that still allows you to move at a zippy pace, and perfect for keeping a bead on an enemy bot while dodging its return fire. Flares are perfect for lighting up dark caves, floating along grazing the walls and sending crazy shadows everywhere. Sure, your ship has a headlight, but you never know what shadows a bobbling flare sent down a twisty corridor might reveal.
The prototype is currently only available to backers but that’s changing Monday morning with a full release to anyone interested. Whether you’re currently a backer or not it’s well worth heading over to the Overload Kickstarter page and giving it a once-over. The action is smooth and packs a strong punch, and it feels exactly like the game Descent could have become.