Perhaps for nostalgic reasons, I have been playing Geneshift recently.
Geneshift is a top-down, twinstick-esque shooter with RPG elements from Nik Nak Studios. It is currently in Early Access through Steam and costs $10 USD. It has been in development for at least eight years, with the demo released back in 2009. There are several modes including Single Player, Multiplayer and Co-op. The game also includes a level editor for players to design their own levels for others to play.
Graphics and Style
The top down graphical engine used in Geneshift is a style that has not been used as much as other graphical engines over the years, and even less over recent years. But these old styles are making a resurgence in the Indie market.
I remember games from my youth, such as Take No Prisoners and Grand Theft Auto 2, that used the same style. They looked good back then, when resolutions were a lot less. Now? A bit average. Geneshift lacks detail in it’s textures, but that could be due to the top down style. All you can see are floors and roofs. Too much texture detail could make it too busy, too hard to distinguish aesthetic elements and interactive elements. So while Geneshift looks a little bland, it is very easy to tell what is set dressing and what is usable.
Lighting and shadow do work well in helping to distinguish different height levels within the game, since that cannot be determined through the normal view.
Sound and Music
I should really stop bothering with this section, because I never know what to put. There is sound. There is music. It seemed alright to me. The style of music worked well. But this game doesn’t focus on it. There is no voice acting, so I can’t say that it was bad or good. Everything else did the job it needed to.
Geneshift plays like most other top down or isometric shooters. On the PC, WASD controlled movement direction while the mouse controlled facing direction, with the cursor being the specific aim spot. It takes a bit to get used to and in my hands was fairly inaccurate.
Levels are somewhat linear, with some exploration available, but are still fairly small. One of the features advertised in the game are vehicles, but in the maps I played, they were not big enough to really make good use of them. I believe the focus is on user generated levels rather than the pre-built ones.
There is a ton of character customisation within the game, with a slew of skills and abilities, hosts of weapons and these things called chemicals, which are sort of like mutators (I think).
Geneshift is equipped with online leaderboards for those ultra-competitive people out there. Multiplayer is a big part of the game, both PvP and PvE Co-op.
I think there might be one of those in there, though I never came across it.
Another twinstick shooter where lots already exist. Others have done it better, but this is not the worst. I think I experienced the worst part of it, the Single Player campaign. This game is meant to be played Multiplayer, whether with or against others. Those who like this genre will like Geneshift, the ‘Very Positive’ on Steam proves this so. I can see the potential, but overall it is not to my personal liking. To be honest, I find it very hard to see where eight years went.
Reviewed On: PC
Review System: Nvidia GTX 1070, i5 4690, 16GB RAM
Playtime: Long enough.