A game with a lot of promise that never seems to capitalise on well-implemented mechanics with any sense of style or flavour to make it worth slogging through the tedious bits.
3089 -- Futuristic Action RPG
Date published: Feb 21, 2014
2 / 3 stars

3089 -- Futuristic Action RPG - yes, the 'futuristic action RPG' bit actually is in the title, is a game by phr00t's Software that found it's way on Steam by way of Greenlight.  I can hear the groan already, with the reputation for shovelware and drek that Greenlight has garnered for itself.  It's not entirely undeserved, both in the terms of Greenlight and in terms of this game specifically.  To sum up my thoughts, 3089 (yeah, I'm just going to call it 3089 from hereon out), is a game I feel delivers a lot of promise but not a lot of content.  Mechanically, it's sound - and yet, it feels like it doesn't really do anything particularly interesting with those mechanics.

Let me just add as an aside before I get too much into the meatier bits of review that I looked at both 3079 and 3089 and 3089 is the one that seemed to offer anything at all, really, in terms of meaningful content, so that is the one I am reviewing now.  I may return to 3079 at a later date, perhaps after a content update, if it ever receives one.

The game is obviously largely Minecraft-inspired in it's visual aesthetic.  It's .. fairly well implemented, and I feel it kind of gives it a bit of a unique bent.  However I feel it really doesn't add to the game in any meaningful way, and in fact makes it look very 'budget'.  The thing with the sort of 'voxel' look that Minecraft gives is that it is very difficult to pull off that visual style without looking like you're doing the style out of a lack of being able to do something better.  In this case, it's less that, and more an obvious attempt at aping something very Minecraft, which I'm very 'eh' about.  I'm not a fan of Minecraft's visual aesthetic to begin with, so something to improve upon that style wouldn't be looked down upon, but I feel that the ways in which the aesthetic varies actually adds a sort of visual incongruence.  The models for the androids, fighters, and usable objects are much higher poly-count than the world itself, and it makes it feel as if they do not belong in the same world.  It is rather inconsistent in that way.  Several textures in the game world become hugely distorted or over-sized by trying to stretch them over one large face rather than simply properly tiling them, as well.

The gameworld itself is procedurally-generated, like many roguelike games, and it seems to have a decent variety to it.  It's .. fairly sparse however, and crossing from one area to another can be onerous.  Put yourself in mind of going cross-country in Skyrim, and then imagine all the flora and fauna on the way aren't there.  Some of the 'biomes' for lack of a better description are better than others, but they all seem kind of empty.  Most of what you'll encounter are .. crates and other androids.  And the occasional building or town with merchant stations, crafting stations, or quest stations.  It makes the gameplay seem padded and very dry, to end up spending so much of it just in transit.  Most importantly, it just isn't fun to have to spend that much time trekking, and the game doesn't offer any passing scenery that would capture your interest.

The gameplay mechanics are similar to many games with roguelike elements.  You have a procedurally-generated quests system, a crafting system, and related things such as health stations and energy stations.  The mechanics of these are fairly well-implemented, just bland.  None of the items I came across seemed particularly inspired or interesting and many weapons are simply better versions of existing ones, rather than ones with unique mechanics.

The gunplay itself is fairly unsatisfying, and that's what leaves me ultimately unsatisfied with the game, I think.  Guns ungratifyingly plink-plink-plink enemies and don't have any feeling of weight or power behind them.

As a final note, I did want to add one solid positive and say that I really dug the soundtrack and general sound design.  I found it pretty context appropriate and that's a common stumbling block for many independent developers.

Ultimately, the onerous exploration and the unsatisfying gameplay coupled with the long periods of essentially doing nothing interesting, and I can't really recommend 3089.  It has potential though, so I may revisit the game if it receives a content update.  I think that's the biggest disappointment here, it's a bunch of things really well-implemented that just don't seem to get realised to it's potential.  And I hate to say that, I really do, because it's quite obvious this developer cares about their game and they have put a lot of work into it.  Perhaps with some more work on the polish, it'll improve.