PREVIEW: Basement

headerA lot of people think that AMC‘s Breaking Bad is one of the best shows out there. With that in mind, allow me to pose a question: have you ever thought about being like Walter White (minus the terminal cancer, of course) and becoming your own self-made drug lord? If you answered yes, I have just the game in mind.

Introducing Basement by Halfbus.  Despite the game being very much in early development, it does have its merits. You are an up-and-coming drug lord in a randomized city district. The game map is presented in a 2D cutaway view, with structures being able to run four stories deep from the ground level (that’s ground plus four floors down maximum, depending on the building). There are roughly fourteen buildings in the district and the objective so far is to conquer the entire district, defeating rival gangs and police alike.

You start with two guys by default, one dealer and one cook. Dealers (they wear hoodies and ball caps) are employees that specialize in selling, while cooks (dressed in yellow hazmat suits) are strongest in production. Your dealer is already assigned to the default dealing room you start with, while the cook is put to work in a green room (green most likely referring to weed, judging by the boxes of green plants in the production room). The game has only four different types of drugs to produce: green (weed), acid, brown (dope), and speed. Each drug comes with a standard price, being $80, $100, $125, and $150, respectively. To sell the drugs to make, you need at least on dealing room. There are four types of dealing rooms you can build only on the ground floor, each one with different adjustment of prices in products. The green dealing room boosts green sales by $5, the amethyst room increases acid sales by $10, the brown room adds $15 to dope and $10 to speed, and the piano room (based on the shelves, which look like piano keys) boosts speed sales by $30. You’ll need to keep your sales up in order to continue expanding your fledgling empire.

In order to take over other buildings, it must be by force. In the locker room (where you can add more employees to your workforce), you need to hire more men. A list of three randomly-generated candidates is presented to you. Again, dealers wear hoodies and cooks wear hazmat suits. Thugs appear mainly in solid-colored T-shirts, and depending on their description gets you one of two types of thugs. If their main characteristic is damage (red shirt), they’re enforcers; if the main characteristic is health (green shirt), they’re tanks. As your empire grows, your expenses also increase, both for upkeep on the rooms in the building(s) you control and for employee payments.

There are other rooms for utility and you can build these as you see fit. Training rooms help your men increase their fighting stats (best for thugs), generators provide power to the building (very important when you want to expand, so allocate a few rooms for these), storage rooms allow cooks to place drugs for dealers to pick up and sell upstairs, break rooms to allow your men to rest and recover stamina, and garages allow you to buy vehicles to transport goods from one building to another (as you expand, of course).

Of course, there are still a few issues with the game. Police can attack your branch buildings at any given time, and usually they come in force. They also can have a bribing price but depending on how well your economy is, the price is usually pretty steep. Since a lot of your surplus money goes towards upkeep anyway, hiring enough thugs for a small army is a tough task to take on a full squad of SWAT cops, so you usually end up losing your buildings if you’re not careful. Additionally, the room upgrades allow only one upgrade to happen at a time, even if a room offers more than one upgrade. I never really bothered with Breaking Bad in the first place, largely because I didn’t think too highly of the premise, but if you want to have your own criminal drug empire to run, Basement is the way to go. It’s in Early Access on Steam for $8.99.

Preview Advice: Bask In It

— Running your own drug empire like Heisenberg | — Diverse functions of employees, such as cooks, dealers, and thugs | — More game content on the way | — Multiple versions of rooms allows careful planning | — Room upgrades to boost crews’ stats

Killing Alien Invaders From a Sweet Deal

Hiya, guys!

I just got a sweet deal from Steam this past weekend as XCOM: Enemy Unknown came with its expansion and both DLC packs for only ten bucks. You read that right: ten dollars flat for a pack that would normally run for about $50 or so. That’s what I’m currently working on for the moment before getting back into other titles in my library. Expect a post about Prison Architect soon, as far as the latest update goes.

Slither on, my friends.

REVIEW: Warhammer 40,000: Regicide

maxresdefaultYes, yes, I know I just did a preview on this game, but Hammerfall just released the full version today. That’s right, Warhammer 40,000: Regicide officially left Early Access on Steam and went to launch, releasing more companies and adding the rest of the Regicide campaign.

As I stated before, the game has the classic chess mode with Warhammer 40k infantry units as the ranking chess pieces (see the previous post on those), and then it has a hybrid Regicide mode. I mean, the game is insanely fun in Regicide, if not also utterly frustrating. To me, nothing will beat the roll of dice, and that includes RNG algorithms, which is what the hit chance is used with in this mode. I found myself questioning time and again how my Space Marines have a 64% chance to hit and always misses on the roll, while the Orks have at most a 58% chance and always hits. On top of that, some units can attack more than once on the Ork side, which I found pretty damned unfair, especially when I’m playing through the campaign and all of my units can only attack once! Now, each mission you complete give you experience toward your Regicide account (you need one to play the game, but it does give you the option of signing up when you first launch the application) and to your chess units.

Every mission also has a primary objective (the win condition) and a secondary objective (optional but gives you bonus XP, therefore I always go for those) but the secondary objective becomes nigh impossible to achieve unless you have insanely good luck. Starting from around the end of the first act, the secondary objectives start becoming a hindrance based almost entirely on luck rather than actual tactical capability, especially when the secondary objective requires you to not lose a single unit in the whole battle. Thus, by playing on your caution, the AI wastes no time to focus on one of your units to ensure that you don’t get Objective Two finished. The more times I started over, the more frustrated I got with the RNG system. I kept questioning how it’s possible for my Marines to keep on missing while the Orks keep hitting on a far less hit chance. Answer: complete, blind luck.

There are some positives to the game. As in my previous post, the blending of tabletop game with chess is a fresh idea and using the sci-fi Warhammer universe is the perfect fit for it. The customizability of your player abilities is also a plus, allowing you to adapt to different play types (whether you’re playing Space Marines versus Orks or vice-versa). Before facing off against an online opponent, you can head to the Armory page to set your abilities how you see fit, but some abilities are locked until you reach a certain level on your Regicide account. There’s some incentive to play the game more and more. However, the game’s balance seem to lean a little in favor of the Orks, as far as I can tell as I have yet to play with their units in head-to-head mode (I want to finish the campaign first, but I will admit, I rage-quit from how cheap the RNG was when it came to landing shots; I will finish the campaign soon). I hope with future patches that the Orks are more brought into line with the RNG system since the Orks deal more damage anyway (despite the Space Marines having arguably better equipment). Until then, slither to this game and play the Dickens out of it, but with a bit of caution.

Verdict: 8/10 (Sink Your Fangs)

+ Regicide is an awesome game mode, fresh take on chess || + Customizable player abilities to aid your troops || + Leveling system is an incentive to keep playing

= Only two races (Orks and Space Marines) but hopefully more will be added

RNG seems unfair at times || – Secondary objectives harder to accomplish early in campaign