Plain Sight (recommendation)   Leave a comment

Plain Sight
Beatnik Games
£7.99

Why you might have missed it: The decline in user base might have dissuaded many gamers from buying. The lack of strong marketing and demo was problematic.

Why you should give it a look: Groups like LanOps organise games as well as in the Beatnik forums. The gameplay is very anarchic with a lot of interesting features, game modes and well-designed maps and offers a very inexpensive and unusual deathmatch experience.

Controls: The game can be played with a joypad but is best played with mouse and keyboard. Use of the mouse for locking onto targets, jumping and blocking is normal with the keyboard controlling other functions. A fast reaction time on the keyboard hand is required because of the nature of points scoring in the game.

Where you can find out more: Here but, sadly, there is no demo available as far as I can tell.

The Explanation

Plain Sight is a good game with a very interesting set of mechanics that set it apart from other deathmatch games. The game is about tiny ninja robots fighting for reserves of energy. Each robot starts with a single point of energy which it can increase by stealing the reserves of other robots, each kill grants you the reserve of the fallen to add to your own until you reach a reserve limit.

What is interesting is the kills alone won’t get you anywhere, it’s the energy you bank over the course of the game that scores you points and, to make things worse, your energy trails and size increases as does your energy which makes you a prime target for would-be ninja assassins, so you have to bank that energy and it’s a balancing act between the high-score larger banks and the risks.

You also bank that energy with an explosive burst in a tongue-in-cheek reference to the ritual suicides of feudal Japan. At a touch of a button, your robot will explode in a fiery ball of energy and the short charge time is all the other players have left to take you out before the energy and you are gone. This brings an extra level of risks to players as any attack on an energy-rich opponent can mean death if not timed correctly as well as bonuses to the exploding player who steals from those who died in their explosive finale.

Go Botzilla!

Botzilla strikes, forcing other players to team up to take down the overpowered menace as quickly as possible.

In a basic game, players leap about a variety of twisting and turning maps fine-tuned to the explosive parkour antics of the robots trying to balance between staying alive and stealing resources as they struggle to maintain their lock on an enemy and lose the ones on them. There are various perks that aid you in your task as banked energy can be used to purchased upgrades to your tiny warrior that allows it to detect when there’s a lock on it, protect itself with shields, increase its speed or give it mid-air jumps amongst a variety of other things. This extra gameplay means tackling opponents might be a lot more trickier as its often hard to tell what special perks an opponent has.

This does lead me to something of a downside as the game does become a bit too anarchic at times and the random button masher of fighting game fame might not find his luck so bad at these times. It can be very easy to lose track of what is going on in the midst of the madness and its very easy to do exceedingly well only to have pure bad luck snatch away the victory moments before you banked the energy.

This is something for which more experienced players learn to account, the big problem with the game is that the game requires a few players to really get into. Play with the hardest bots available and you will still be wiping the floor with them hands down in a matter of minutes, but most of the time, you cannot find other players.

And the interesting maps too.

With a fair collection of game modes, a perk system and some really interesting maps tailored to different modes, the game promises a few good nights of gaming.

You can beat this by arranging matches on the forum, on LanOps or buy a four-pack with friends and playing with them. It only takes a few matches before you really get your money’s worth out of it even if it is likely to get swamped under by newer purchases. Besides, as with a game like Galcon Fusion, it is always good to return back to it every once in a while when a deal on the game brings a new influx of players. I cannot recommend this as strongly as I have Tidalis, but with a few friends and its cheap four-pack (as well as deals that have lowered the price to less than £2), it makes for a fun one or two nights of gaming with friends that’s much cheaper than hitting the town as well as something you can return to someday and replay.

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