Hands-On preview: GoD Factory: Wingmen
It’s a rare occasion when I am asked to check out a new game that I am unfamiliar with that I actually come away with completely impressed. Developers everywhere have crazy ideas that they feel would make a great game, and frequently these ideas don’t always translate well into an actual game.
As a result, more often than not I am asked to sift through a variety of games that just aren’t that impressive. However, every now and then, a real gem drops into my lap, and that’s what we’re here to bring you today.
GoD Factory: Wingmen is a space combat MOBA. While the term “MOBA” might bring up images of DotA or League of Legends, Nine Dots Studio founder Guillaume Boucher-Vidal assured me that despite the third person space combat perspective, the MOBA elements are still front and center a priority.
“Just like every other MOBA, the goal is to protect your base and destroy the enemy’s, and it’s structured in tight matches and small teams, and just like any good MOBA, it requires quick thinking, good skills and good coordination with your team. We do mix up the recipe by having multiple objectives to destroy (since the carrier has to be taken down part by part) and by having persistent progression, which is very un-MOBA-like to some…”
So, now that we have that out of the way….what is GoD Factory: Wingmen, and how does it play? I got chance to jump on and play a few rounds with Boucher-Vidal and the folks at Nine Dots today, and I came away very impressed. Think of a 4 on 4 space combat sim, where the objective is to destroy your opponent’s carrier ship. This can be done by destroying individual components of the carrier, such as the hull, ammo depot, cannon, core, etc. Certain components will net a bonus for further damage; for instance, destroying the hull first will result in an additional percentage of damage for all other carrier parts. Destroying the ammo depot will result in your opponents being unable to carry their max amount of ammo, and also makes it longer to dock and reload their weapons (more on that later).
Keep in mind that this is only strategy as far as destroying carriers is involved. You still have to contend with the other 4 members of the opposition, who are out to destroy YOUR carrier, and also trying their damnedest to stop you from destroying theirs.
GoD presents some fast and furious space combat, but there is a tremendous amount of strategy involved. Not only are there decisions to be made regarding the best way to take down an enemy carrier, but further wrenches are thrown into your works in the form of a very limited ammo supply. Each ship variant that you choose will have their own specialty, whether it’s a fast, agile fighter or a slow, lumbering bomber. The ship designs are incredibly unique, and a few bear more than a passing resemblance to the Orbital Frames in Zone of the Enders. Regardless of whichever you choose, you have a finite amount of ammo, and that ammo is expended very rapidly. Almost immediately upon your first pass at an enemy carrier, you will notice that your ammo is depleted. You must return to your capital ship, re-dock, and fill your ammo while you are docked, also recharging your shields in the process. You then leave the dock to resume your attack.
Although ammo capacity is one of the things you can upgrade fairly quickly, the constant need to re-dock with your capital ship to reload on ammo makes for a very tense situation, especially if you find yourself trying to escape an enemy infested area with no means of defense. It’s a terrible feeling knowing you were THIS close to destroying the hull, and you run out of ammo with three enemy players bearing down on you. Turning tail and running back to your carrier is a necessity, yet it doesn’t make it any easier to abandon whatever it was that you were doing.
One of the highlights of my play session was when I was told that you can actually enter an enemy carrier, choosing to go after the powerful ship’s core. While it may seem like a good idea to go for the core first every single time, keep in mind that the core probably has more HP than anything else on the carrier, and that it will also regenerate slowly. So unless you plan on focusing all 4 team members on the core, maybe abandon that train of thought for the time being.
Also add in the fact that entering an enemy ship is a fairly tight squeeze, very reminiscent of Lando Calrissian and Co. flying through the narrow shaft to get to the second Death Star’s core at the end of Return of the Jedi. Luckily for you, your ships are equipped with a variety of evasive maneuvers for tight quarters flight, though on more than one occasion I found myself hitting the wrong combo and slamming into the walls.
For the time being, GoD Factory: Wingmen is going to be a multiplayer-only experience with a single, core, game mode. Boucher-Vidal definitely was open to the possibility of a single player component and additional game modes, but GoD in its current state has a very singular focus and vision, and truth be told, I think it’s for the best. While I love options and a variety of game modes, I’d rather see 110% put towards creating the best experience in a single mode, rather than a half-assed effort spread across a bunch of different modes, each with a bare lobby where you wouldn’t even be able to get a full match going. And don’t worry, it’s not like that single mode is lacking for depth.
I don’t typically spam any Kickstarter or Greenlight campaigns in my previews, but this is one situation where I feel that it is imperative that I do so. GoD Factory’s Kickstarter campaign only has a few more days left, And Nine Dots could use some more backers. While chatting with Boucher-Vidal about his game, it’s clear to me how much this is a labor of love for him and his team. They aren’t just creating a game as a singular entity here; they are creating an entire backstory and lore to the GoD Factory universe. It’s an ambitious undertaking that is definitely in preparation for any further expansion on the game that may be necessary.
I was also impressed to find out that the Nine Dots team is a small group of 7 members, and that they have been working on this game for over a year with no salary. I think that speaks volumes and goes to show how much each member loves this project to be able to put so much time and effort into it just to see this game be made. In a gaming landscape where huge companies churn out a new Call of Duty and sports games on an annual basis, it kind of hits home when you see a small indie group working this hard to create a game that ISN’T a by-the-numbers FPS or whatever other genre that can be churned out regularly on a cookie-cutter basis.
I came away extremely impressed with GoD Factory: Wingmen…and that’s saying something coming from a guy that dislikes multiplayer games. It’s a fast, action packed, and incredibly tense game where teamwork and a bit of brainpower is needed to succeed.
There is no current definitive time frame on a release for the game, but there will be a beta available to sometime in August. If you’re interested in backing this game, please visit their Kickstarter page here, and then vote for the game on their Steam Greenlight page here. This is one to keep your eyes on! And as always, check back with us as we get more updates on this awesome game.