Status: Early Access
Genre: Rogue-like 3D twin stick shooter
Release date: TBA
UTOPIA 9 – A Volatile Vacation is an action indie shooter with amazing graphics and gameplay. For an Early Access game, it’s already very good.If this preview is too long for you, I suggest you to only read the first paragraph about the game’s content and the final verdict at the end.
You arrived to Utopia 9 as a tourist, but your vacation doesn’t really go as planned. The world is full of enemies, explosive barrels, weapons and other deadly things. You have to progress through the environment to get off this planet to sue the agency that sent you here.
- Gameplay | I really like how the vacation is divided into four parts. You can choose different paths where certain types of weapons can be found. If you get killed by an enemy, he picks up your weapons. You can reclaim those weapons by getting to the same area and beating the enemy who killed you.
- Weapons | You can have one primary and one secondary weapon equipped and two stored for switching. There are a lot of weapons, and each one of them is fun to play with, in my opinion. You can find weapons in weapon crates (which weapon you get depends on the level you’re currently in) and from previously mentioned enemies who killed you.
- Upgrading System | After a certain amount of gained experience points, you will have a chance to select a so-called mutation which pretty much just gives you some kind of a bonus. It can be an ability, pickup bonuses, damage blasts and a lot of other different things. You can have approximately 4 to 5 of them in every game.
- Graphics | The game is very colourful and I like how they chose different colours for different weapon types. Although the options regarding graphic quality of the game are not included, I think that this game is not as demanding as some games are so you should have problems with performance. Animations are also made pretty well.
- Game Sounds and The Soundtrack | I really love the soundtrack (you can listen to it if you watch the trailer on the game’s Store page) and together with all the game sounds like weapon firing, damage taken, explosions and other things. There’s really nothing they could add to it in the final release.
- Procedurally Generated Levels | Every time you start the game, levels are different from your previous round. Nemeses stay on the same level, but level shapes and weapons you can find there are different every time. This provides you with a lot higher replayability. I have to say that even after many hours of playing this game, I’m still not even a bit tired of it.
- Achievements | There are a lot of achievements in this game, which is great. In fact, acquiring every single weapon for the first time grants you an achievement! There are also some achievements for beating your nemeses, traveling to certain stages for the first time and others. I have to say that this is one of the most enjoyable achievement systems and it definitely helps the whole experience.
- Looping | I didn’t know how exactly to name this paragraph, but every time you die, your corpse will be shown in later playthroughs. Your crashed spaceships on the crash site will also be stored. I know this doesn’t really help the gameplay a lot, but it’s a little detail I like.
- System Requirements | This game uses an extremely small amount of system resources, which is great if people with weaker computers want to try it out. Loading, however, probably takes a bit longer time for such computers. It’s not a big deal, though.
- Playable Characters | It’s far from being a real problem, but I sometimes wish there were a few different characters to play with. You currently only have one, which is fine, but multiple characters would bring a lot more diversity and would possibly require different playing techniques. They could have different stats like speed, shooting rate, melee power and others. Characters could be unlocked by beating the game. Just an idea.
- Linux Support | Well, there isn’t any. The developer still has time to build it in, though,as the game is still in Early Access.
For an Early Access game, Utopia 9 is extremely well polished and since they’re still planning to upgrade certain things, I’m looking forward to upcoming builds to see what more can even be done. I really like the replayability value in this game, which is mostly due to procedural generation of levels. The nemesis concept is also very interesting. It’s pretty useful if you got some good weapons in your previous run, but you played really badly, so you have a chance to reclaim those weapons.
This game runs very smoothly and uses very few system resources, which is definitely a big plus. Graphics are also surprisingly nice-looking. The soundtrack is, as mentioned, really good and they should probably make a DLC for it.
If you’re into indie casual shooters, definitely give this game a shot. It’s one of the best Early Access games out there and I’ll be definitely playing this for quite a few more hours.