Three Phase Interactive’s Defect: Spaceship Destruction Kit (SDK) combines a unique mix of strategy and architecture with a refreshing take on the shmup (shoot ’em up) genre. Being halfway through their Kickstarter campaign with only a third of their goal achieved, Defect: SDK has an astronomically large light at the end of the tunnel. Artistically and technically speaking, this game shines with the light of a thousand suns.
With beautifully simplistic art direction and satisfying gameplay to back it, Defect already offers a great amount of quality content. The Building portion of the game is incredibly extensive, featuring 7 categories of different parts to use when building your ship. Manipulating the myriad of parts brings a large chunk of customization to the table, and making a nice looking ship isn’t horribly complicated. The game is played almost entirely from the same angle, so you only need to work on what you see. Each piece of your ship has various statistics; however, they mostly rely on two main resources: Power and Crew.
Power is granted by the first component, your Core. Your Crew is accrued via Cockpit (phew), and costs a certain amount of Power depending on how big of a Crew you’d prefer. Both are then used as resources for guns, armor, engines, and whatever else you can manage to fit on there. The possible combination of ships feels endless, which is a great sign since the demo had a lot of parts locked. Important information can easily be missed (if mentioned at all), however, and after spending hours with the demo, some aspects remained unclear. Once you get a ship figured out and ready to go, you can save it as a blueprint (which has a humorous random name generator) to be altered or rebuilt in the future.
Any confusion (if at all) is easily forgotten once you launch your spacecraft. The missions in the demo seem to be a variety of: build a ship, race the ship, kill the ships, then watch as your crew commandeer your precious work of art. This promotes the constant creation of new ships as it keeps the player from getting attached to any one craft. Each ship feels and plays quite different from the last, which in turn makes each mission feel a little more unique than it seems. Whichever ship you complete a mission with is stolen at the end of each level; the kicker is, they return as an enemy near the end of the following mission. The very ship you created is now trying to destroy you; this makes it interesting to see how each ship feels to play and fight against.
It’s a steep learning curve to get your spacecraft to work for you, but the satisfaction the game instills is worth a look. Whether it’s creativity, destruction, or in-depth strategy you’re looking for, Three Phase Interactive has demonstrated their vision for the game with an enjoyable first impression. Multiplayer is planned for the final version; unfortunately, it was nowhere to be found on the demo. Defect has an uncanny allure to it, gravitating towards those reminiscent memories of playing with your toys as a child oh so many years ago.
Only a few minor presentation issues stand in the way between now and the game’s release in 2015 for PC, Mac, Linux, iPad, and Android. Now that Defect is Steam Greenlit, Three Phase Interactive seem to be totally prepared.
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