A luminous and sleek classic FPS experience that blends innovative mechanics with a familiar feel.
EVECTOR, Acid Thirst is an upcoming first-person shooter from solo-developer KGRVECTOR, and it’s due to blast its way onto Valve’s storefront this Winter. Whilst it might seem at a glance to be just another indie developer aiming to make a quick buck on the modern resurgence of the classic shooter, the mechanics at work here make it seem quite the opposite. EVECTOR, Acid Thirst feels like a true labour of love – the work of somebody who grew up with the genre giants, and yearns for the FPS mechanics of yore. KGRVECTOR doesn’t care for battle royale modes, save-spamming or hand-holding gameplay, as these have been replaced with a single-player campaign, a checkpoint system and blisteringly fast-paced, skill-based combat.
After stumbling upon the project on Twitter, I was lucky enough to get talking with the developer and arrange an early hands-on with the demo, which will become available on June 16th as part of the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition. What follows are my impressions of which, and I consider it imperative that you understand the angle and experience I bring with me to the table. I take serious pleasure in genre deep dives, uncovering regional exclusive titles from a whole host of European countries. I’ve played everything from Redneck Rampage to Scorpion: Disfigured, and usually I am able to look deep enough to find something to enjoy in any first-person shooter. EVECTOR, Acid Thirst belongs to a set of games that are interesting enough for me not to have to think too hard about what makes them great, and that is the highest praise I can offer.
EVECTOR’s short, one-level demo immediately thrusts you into a sci-fi world – dark brown terrain adorned with the glow of neon green chemical pools, with acid coursing through the surface of the planet almost like a lifeforce. The low-poly nature of EVECTOR’s graphics are bound to make a veteran shooter fan feel right at home, and the sci-fi theme will garner the interest of fans of Quake and Unreal the world over. Colour is a heavy motif in the game, and the bright greens should bring back mixed memories – great ones for those lucky enough to play the WiiWare exclusive HudsonSoft shooter Onslaught, and slightly less-than-great ones for those who weren’t so keen on becoming John Romero’s bitch via way of Daikatana. EVECTOR isn’t a visual powerhouse, it won’t require super-expensive graphics cards or 4K monitors to run – but it looks good – KGRVECTOR have created a project that oozes with style and character, and is instantly recognizable.
The general gameplay of EVECTOR is solid, you make your way through rocky landscapes, taking out everything that gets in your path; scuttling acidic spiders, towering reptilian creatures and laser-sighted humanoids and more. Armed with a badass acid blaster, you’ll strafe, jump and strafe-jump around your foes, dispatching crowds of mindless baddies and their minions. It works, it’s fast too – and it’s only made better by one of the game’s innovative mechanics.
This is where I am going to introduce you to the multi-jump system. Sure, we’ve had singular jumping, double-jumps and even bunny hopping in the genre before, but the multi-jump system is different. Upon first hitting the space bar, you are launched into the air – and you’ll notice a number begin to decrease. EVECTOR allows you to quadruple-jump your way around the environments, allowing for fast and fluid landscape traversal, all whilst granting the player access to different battle techniques. In most FPS games, you’ll have one, or maybe two ways into an area, and almost always at one level, EVECTOR allows players to descend into hordes of ‘Aciders’ like the angel of death, swooping in from cliff-heights and scenery usually inaccessible in any other shooter. The multi-jump system brings in many more layers of gameplay to the genre, and makes what could’ve been just a point and shoot title all the more interesting. That’s not it though, as you can also decrease your jump counter by slamming in the right mouse-button to slow time, with most battles involving the player using the two functions in unison to really show off their skills and style in a pretty unprecedented way.
Unlike a lot of modern shooters, EVECTOR shies away from hyper-realism, and brings back the boss battle. Over the past decade or so, boss fights have been slowly disappearing from the genre in favour of more easily-explainable narrative encounters, and it’s not right. I grew up with bosses, you grew up with bosses – they were a staple of the genre and a staple of the industry as a whole. The boss at the end of the EVECTOR demo is a real gnarly one too – a ten-foot tall arachnid with a shoulder-mounted rocket launcher than can blow you to smithereens in a matter of seconds. As you’re multi-jumping your way to safety and slo-mo blasting your rounds into the crawling entity, you’ll face another familiar trope – boss minions! Loads of previously-encountered enemy types all gunning for you at once, trying to herd you into the boss’ line of fire, trying to claim your life as their own. This is a real rush, and EVECTOR feels at its best here.
KGRVECTOR is planning to handcraft seven large levels for the final game, and I’m more than excited to see what’s still to come by Winter. I really enjoyed the EVECTOR demo, and come the Summer Festival I am sure you will too. EVECTOR features a lot of green, and you should take heed – GO! Add this to your wishlist now!
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