Video Game Review from the Vault: Receiver

(Posted to my Facebook page on April 28, 2015)

Reciever was a weird game a picked up for like a dollar during a Steam Summer Sale. What is Reciever? It’s a first person shooter designed to explore extensive gun handling mechanics. What do I mean by that? Well, this game features three weapons (A S&W Model 10, a Colt 1911A1 Semi-Automatic pistol, or a Glock 17), one of which you’ll randomly spawn with, along with a random number of bullets and magazines and even possibly a Flashlight. This game is extensive. To reload a weapon, you don’t just tap one button and watch your character go through the motions. If it’s the revolver, you’ll need to manually, by pushing each button individually, open the revolver, eject the spent casings, and then load each round individually before closing the gun. Miss a step and your gun might not fire at all. The Semi-Auto pistols are even more complicated, especially if you only have on magazine and need to reload mid-combat. Eject the magazine, holster your gun, place the bullets into the magazine one at a time, draw your weapon, load the magazine, release the slide. There’s a separate button for each of those functions (A little overlap on some) and in the heat of the moment you might accidentally drop your magazine, forget to release the slide, and it becomes a hectic experience. Even the buttons I mentioned are just scratching the surface. You can rotate the revolver’s cylinder, check the chamber for a bullet, switch your magazines (If you have extras) and more. It’s a really fascinating experience, and just toying around with the weapons can be a lot of fun.
The game itself is a walk through an infinitely looping complex looking for 11 tapes which will explain to you some jargen about these people named “Recievers”, but that’s not important. You’ll also find spare magazines, bullets, and flashlights along the way which will help, and enemies to impede your progress.
There are only two enemy types, but they compliment each other perfectly. A stationary turret can’t move and rotates slowly, but can shoot accurately from a distance. A noise will tell you when it has locked on to you and it’ll give you a brief delay before it fires. It can’t usually look up at all, which can be exploited to give you an edge. The other enemy is a flying drone. It moves quickly and is tough to shoot, but can only use its taser on you up close. It’s also loud, which can help you detect it early. These two enemy types compliment each other perfectly, and be it in one of the complex’s open rooms or tight corridors, the game can really get tense.
The music can indicate when an enemy is close (If you hear no music, you’re most likely safe, except from some miracle turret shot from the next room over). It makes things both tense, and lets you breath a sigh of relief when you’re in the clear and loot the rooms you’ve cleared.
This is also a pretty difficult, unforgiving game. You can pretty much only take one hit from either enemies (Depending on where you’re hit, you MIGHT be able to live a single shot from a turret, but I’m not positive on that) and you can’t fall from a very far height without dying right away. If you’re dead, it’s a start from the beginning kind of game. Still, for how short the game is (A successful run, from people I’ve seen online, usually takes 30 minutes to an hour) it does make sense.
On the downside, the complex/tape-hunting quest is the only thing in this game. It would have been really neat to see some multiplayer in this game (Imagine how hectic THAT would be!) but at the same time, I understand why. This game was actually created in a week for a 2013 game competition, and for how much time was given, it’s very well done. I really hope that the creator uses this engine for a full game in the future, that could be really interesting.
Still, for what it is, a $5 little experiment, it’s well worth a look. It’s a rough sketch, but one that’s worth experiencing.
I give Receiver a 3 out of 5

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