PAX Prime 2015: Trion tries turn-based strategy with Atlas Reactor
On the surface, it has the makings of a thinking-man’s PvP game. As of right now, the PvP market is flooded with fast-paced MOBAs and team-based shooters, so Atlas Reactor takes a different path, making the action more strategic and measured. But like its twitchy cousins, the cast of characters is meant to foster a sense of ownership and empathy in players.
The demonstration at PAX Prime centered around a character named Lockwood. He is the typical gunslinger with a sly mouth and an itchy trigger finger. He also likes to hide behind cover and take pot shots at enemies. On his team was another character with her own distinct personality and playstyle. Her name was Asana, and she was a melee/tank character. Those two faced off against the stealthy robot dog Pup and the bazooka-toting Zuki.
If you are familiar with turn-based strategy games, then you’ll know that much of the time is spent trying to decide what to do next, or waiting for the other player to decide what to do. Atlas Reactor eliminates that by making everyone take their turn simultaneously and on a timer. With the game still being in alpha, the developers haven’t finalized the timer settings. Currently, though, they run matches that give players between 5 and 30 seconds to make a move.
The mechanics of the game are straight-forward. There are four phases in each turn that Lead Designer Will Cook described as “prep, dash, blast, and move.” Prep is the buffing period, where you can set up defenses or debuff tactics. Dash is were you can dodge or attempt to avoid an enemy’s blast ability. Blast is your offensive maneuver, like shooting your enemy’s face with your pistols. Lastly, move is exactly what you’d think it is: You can move your character into position for the next turn.
During the demonstration, press didn’t get to play the game, so determining the overall fun factor is difficult. But what can be said is that there’s no game like it. If you wish that chess had more laser guns and explosions or if you like the idea of team-based shooters but would rather they be more tactical, then you’ll want to keep an eye on this game.
Trion has already published a website for alpha signups, and it will be in your hands very soon.