GAME REVIEW: Interstellar Marines

I’m running down a corridor, the smooth walls assuring no attack from each side, but the rectangular space ahead and behind make me feel very vulnerable. I can hear hi-tech gunfire blasting somewhere to the right so I push on, thinking that the enemy might all be engaged with my team-mates over there. I hear a couple of shots and my screen goes dark. Someone got the drop on me and probably had the easiest kill of the game.

Interstellar Marines feels quite brutal when you play. It only takes a shot or two to bring down enemy players which of course also applies to you. When you die, you have to wait to re-spawn and can spectate the game from the perspective of one of your still alive team-mates. I have never been that keen on FPS games that use this mechanic but in Interstellar Marines, it is far from round over. As your team-mates kill the enemy or capture strategic points on the map, dead team members can spawn again. Great if you are on a capable team, not so great if your team ignores capture points and just messes around, as I sometimes experienced.

Interstellar Marines Screenshot

The game feels very slick and you can see that a great deal of attention has gone into the various visual and audio aspects. One thing that I really like is your helmet visor slides down when you spawn, slightly changing your view but giving you a feeling of being there. You can also lift the visor by pressing the appropriate key which broadens your view slightly at the cost of losing sight of the game’s HUD. Other atmospheric touches include weather effects and changing times of day.

Interstellar Marines Screenshot

The maps are hi-tech habitats perching in nature. You may run down a few well-lit stairwells and find yourself in a roughly hollowed out cave. As you move around and try to get the drop on people, the various lighting and weather effects can aid or scupper you. Fancy playing on a night-time level during a thunder-storm? It’s certainly an experience but you will soon end up cursing the lightning when a sudden flash illuminates you for all to see. The night-time levels also add a great tactical issue. You are equipped with a flash-light which you can toggle on and off. With it off, it is very hard to see where you are going. With it on, you can see, but you are also inviting everyone in the vicinity to your location. I really liked the element of hide and seek this created.

Interstellar Marines Screenshot

Everything in the game feels like it has a decent weight to it. Characters can’t sprint like superheroes and guns feel heavy and ‘real’. The environments themselves look clean and well designed, plenty of cover aiding the player in either ‘running and gunning’ or more stealthy styles of play.

Interstellar Marines Screenshot

Interstellar Marines is in the Steam Early Access section which means that it is still undergoing development. As it stands at the moment, there are a variety of multiplayer maps of varying locale, each of which are a pleasure to play in as you rank up your character by winning matches or achieving certain things in-game. There is also the facility to explore the maps on your own, or by playing against bots. Future additions to the game will be things like co-op play, a storyline, single-player, a shooting range and Oculus Rift support among others. So it is very much a game that will grow over time.

Should you buy it now? I would say that if you want a multiplayer game with some nice design touches, go for it. The price is pretty low and I am reasonably confident that multiplayer FPS fans who like a bit of science fiction will get value from it. If you are more interested in some of the other features that are yet to be added, I think it makes sense to wait awhile. What is there now is playable and enjoyable but until other features are added, it won’t appeal to everyone.

Interstellar Marines is available on Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Rating: 3/5

Reviewer: Casey Douglass

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