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Livelock is a cooperative twin-stick shooter created by Tuque Games, an independent Canadian developer. In this game’s alternate reality, humanity had to store their collective consciousness into machines known as Intellects after an extraterrestrial object crashed into the earth and made it uninhabitable for organic life forms. The players take the role of one of the three Capital Intellects, the first to be uploaded into a robotic Chassis, trying to free humanity from the machines known as the Abaddon. These include Catalyst, a support specialist, Hex, a skilled marksman, and Vanguard, a soldier of brute force. After the Cataclysm, humanity created Eden, a device that could bring organic life back to the world. Humanity created an advanced AI known as SATCOM, who serves as the player’s guide, to guide humanity’s transition back to organic life. When the game begins, the player is one of the few remaining Capital Intellects whom SATCOM guides through the game to strive for humanity’s salvation.

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That is pretty much what can be said for the story. The narrative is pretty minimalist, and SATCOM is not the most compelling character. However, the introduction provides for an interesting setting through which players fight waves of corrupted machines who seek to destroy humanity. Each character has their own set of skills and weapons, and they each specialize in a certain type of combat. Hex, for example, specializes in combat from a distance, so his primary and secondary weapons are both long range. These are accompanied by a third weapon that deals massive amounts of damage in a large area of effect. The ammo for these super weapons is sparse, so players must be strategic in how they spend their ammo.

Players can also become overclocked when they complete an impressive feat or down a tough enemy, and these overclocked modes have varying effects such as speed boosts, damage boosts, and invulnerability. As the player advances through levels, they are awarded points that they may use to upgrade their gear between missions, as well as unlock new abilities.

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One thing that the game really has going for it is the visuals. Especially for a game made in Unity, this game has high quality destructible environments that makes for fantastic chaotic scenarios, and the dazzling VFX and particle systems creates captivating spectacles. The polish and the effort that went into creating these environments and characters is nothing short of impressive. These are the visuals that indie games should strive for, and Tuque Games has set the bar very high in that regard.

However, where the game falls short is replayability, difficulty, and variety. After a while, the game becomes easy when you realize all you have to do is spam the roll button to avoid attacks — even if you do not, the game has unlimited lives, so there is no incentive for self-preservation on the player’s part. Once the main campaign is beaten, the other characters simply do not offer enough of a reason to play through the entire game again.

Another setback of this game is the lack of an online community. I only played one game with another person and I was shortly disconnected with them after one mission, and then I could not find any other games because there simply are not enough people playing this. I’m unsure if this was because of my region or the lack of players. Unless you get this game with a group of friends, you are flying solo.

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The $19.99 price tag is also a bit high for the amount of content you get. That being said, if you and two of your other friends get this game on a sale, I can see it being loads of fun to play together in short bursts. If future installments of this game are made, I hope to see Tuque Games improve on the features that they have in place and add more content. The game is solid, but it has flaws that hold it back from being a paragon of indie multiplayer games.

Livelock is available now on Steam!

 

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Austin Widmyer

The author Austin Widmyer

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