Who remembers Project Ravensdale
, the game by Black Forest Games, who were responsible for Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams
? Over the eight years that it had spent in development, the steampunk action-RPG set in the city of Ravensdale had hit many a brick wall after publishers refused to have anything to do with it. In 2013, the studio went back to the drawing board and turned the game into the side-scrolling run and gun title that was revealed to the world
almost a year ago. In August 2013, the title took to Kickstarter with an extremely unrealistic target that, ultimately, led to the game's lack of crowdfunding success. Undeterred, Black Forest withdrew to the development studio, produced a playable prototype and renamed the game: Rogue Stormers
. They took to Kickstarter once again at the end of April with a more realistic target. This target was reached and the game is now heading to Xbox One.
Ravensdale still has its steampunk setting where "medieval meets machine". You won't find knights on horseback with shining armour because, in the world of Ravensdale, a knight's armour is powered by oil. Princesses don't sit waiting to be rescued in a tower far away; they wear oil-stained overalls and are put to use fixing broken armour. The sky is filled with so much smog that a dragon wouldn't come within miles of the city. Unfortunately, the city's pollution creates its own problems. Men have been turned into a horde of orks that are rampaging through the city streets. Take back the city single-handed, or grab up to three more team mates to create a force of four that is not to be reckoned with.
The game's campaign mode allows players to pick from a range of "guerrilla warfare themed" missions that each have different objectives and parameters over a range of difficulties. No mission will be the same as the game assembles the missions from different layers. Your main goals can involve the typical knight's duty of freeing someone (or something) from enemy territory, or you may need to kill something. You may even need to partake in the dastardly act of sabotage. If you complete the mission's optional goals, you'll get bonus rewards. These optional goals won't be easy -- you might have to reach somewhere by a particular time or take out a tougher enemy. If you combine the goals with the special features of the mission's location, you could be in for some fun.
A mission playing in the harbor district, for example, runs the risk of getting periodically flooded with goop, while liberating the arcane district would have you deal with gravitational anomalies and grant you infinite air jumps.Once we add bosses to the mix, they'll rampage over the mission map and can be seen in the background of all levels in their threat range, where they'll blast you with aerial bombardments and doom beams until you take them out for good!
Players can build their own weapons out of loot parts that are dropped randomly. Change your gun's shot pattern and add special properties, such as bullets that rebound, creep or erupt. You could also add incendiary or "goopy" properties to your bullets. Enemies will also change weapons, gadgets and body parts so that they move and attack differently, or use different special abilities. They may be able to transport different environmental objects, fire goop or flames, or go berserk if you irritate them too much.
Of course, if things get too tough for a single person, up to four players can form a team to take on the opposition. Form different strategies depending on your gear, your team upgrades, your shot patterns and perfect timing when using environmental objects, because there's nothing like outsmarting your enemy. A pollution-hit oil rig is riddled with hazards and junk. Platforms crumble, goop pools in pits and somebody left explosives lying around. There is also the small matter of the traps. However, a clever team will combine these hazards to their benefit:
The sticky goop that permeates the city conducts electricity and can be scattered about with explosions or set ablaze with fire. They interact with your weapons as well: sending creeping projectiles through a goop puddle leaves behind sticky, incendiary trails, while bouncing projectiles through lightning weaves a zapping web.
If you're prepared to co-operate with your team mates, you'll get energy arcs to help your team along their way. The Arc Connector connects squad members but will only release its powers if the group is co-operating with each other. Players choose the combination of mods to add to the connector and to stack across the four players, such as new ways to traverse levels, new attacks and better projectiles. Fight a bulletproof mech with electricity. Summon a goop creature to attack your enemies.
As the game reached its funding target recently, a release date has not yet been mentioned. The team are aiming for a Steam early access release window of July 2014, so don't expect the Xbox One version to arrive until well past that date.