PAX AUS 2016: Forts

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I have fond memories of spending many afternoons and weekends in the 90’s playing games like Scorched Earth and Worms with friends. It got to the point that we even constructed our own Worms League complete with ladder and trophy.

So naturally when I first turned up to the Forts booth at PAX Australia 2016 I was immediately bombarded with pleasant memories from my youth.

It wouldn’t be fair of me at all though to say that Forts is simply a Scorched Earth ‘clone’. That would be like saying Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a clone of Wolfenstein 3D. While both first person shooter games are enjoyable in their own right, Deus Ex is clearly far more technically advanced than the aging ID title.

And it’s much the case here with Forts. While similarities can be drawn, Brisbane based EarthWork Games have taken the genre to a whole new level.

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Set in the not too distant future where most of the oil in the world has dried up, the United States, China and Russia fight for what remains.

More than simply picking a weapon, an angle and power in an attempt to defeat your opponent you’ll be required to build a fortress to launch your attack from and to defend your power generator, for if your tower collapses or your generator is destroyed it’s game over.

And collapse it will. Forts features some fantastic physics. During my game with art designer Nick Smith I found my fort a little front heavy (I had applied a lot of steel to defend from incoming fire). On the verge of toppling over I managed to anchor it in place with a number of cables attached to the back of the fortress and the ground.

Fortresses can be made from a number of different materials, each with their own toughness. A little planning will go a long way and experienced players will no doubt have a preferred ‘build’, although with a variety of different maps to play, the same design may not always be the best one. They say the best defense is a good offense and Forts features a broad selection of weaponry from machine gunners to snipers and missile silos.

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Building all this though does require resources. From mines beneath your fortress to precariously placed wind turbines on the roof, you’ll need to manage these just as carefully as you build your fortress and line up your shots.

All these aspects come together to create a game that is fun and easy to play but also contains depth and the ability for individuals to play the game to their preferred style. And if you do get to a point where you have tired with the map and game modes the game natively has mod support, a map editor and sandbox mode.

While the game does sport a single player campaign (which is great for learning the game mechanics and thinking outside the box) ultimately it’s the multiplayer component that has me the most excited. As someone who still participates in LAN party’s every other month this is absolutely the sort of game I would enjoy playing with friends on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

If you are interested in learning more about Forts (and why wouldn’t you be?!?) check out the EarthWork Games website here. From there you can sign up for the private beta which will be running from November 12th to December 9th. The game is currently Greenlit on Steam as well and the team hope to have the game released to the public early 2017.

Bookmark it. This game is a day one purchase for anyone who likes blowing up their friends.

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