Tetrapulse Hands-On at PAX East
When I first saw Tetrapulse from behind the shoulders of the folks who were playing the demo when I got there, I thought to myself, “Oh, okay, it looks like a goofier, neon version of Diablo 3″. While talking to the developers, they filled me in on the game and how it works. The way they put it, when you play games like Diablo 3, there is a co-op feature, and you can play together, but you don’t really depend on each other for a lot of the game.
What sets Tetrapulse apart from that kind of game is that co-op really does matter – you have to work together because each character complements the others and it’s hard to get through certain parts without a full cast of players. There’s four classes: a heavy tank, a healer who can’t deal much damage but is extremely helpful with his healing ray, a sniper character who dishes out extremely high damage but with low health and defense, and a grenadier which is good at dealing Area of Effect damage.
The objective of the demo was to free five prisoners from their cages across a randomly generated map, and showed the importance of having a full team. It’s not as simple as just running here, pressing a switch, and moving on; the whole team has to move a giant stone key between cages in order to open them. There’s bottomless pits everywhere, though, so you have to keep an eye on the key when you drop it to fight. You’ve got to have your eyes everywhere at once, which really keeps you pulled in and working together.
You can play a variety of ways: you can have designated key carriers, and just have one or two people break off to defend you as you try to get from point to point; or just have everyone drop the key, kill all enemies quickly, and go right back to freeing the prisoners. The different classes all have their own place in every situation, and all have a special ability that can be used with the key (for example, the sniper’s ability turns the key into a giant spinning laser that shoots out beams in four directions). The catch is that everyone shares one ability meter, and you have to decide who’s going to use it.
It’s a great game to play with three buddies, and I’m sure it’s gonna be a huge hit in living rooms everywhere. I will definitely be one of the first to pick up this game.
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