Take A Gamble On Multiplayer Space Shooter Gimbal

By Alec Meer on November 6th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

NOT SO IMPRESSIVE NOW

Here’s an intriguing multiplayer-only space-shmup, which is pay-what-you-want for today only, as well as having a free demo which offers pretty generous access to the online game. Gimbal is on the fiddly side, but at the same time its maxi-zoom war of tiny spaceships is also one of precision, planning, caution and even a smattering of physics mastery, so I suspect it could win itself a faithful audience. Also, I really love the random player names it gives out – I was ‘Airborne Gentleman’, up against foes such as The Accomplished Chimpanzee and Greased Clown.

The full game also offers some fairly grand-scale ship-building and customisation, so we’re sort of looking at a high-speed baby EVE with none of the politicking. That’s a totally inaccurate comparison isn’t it? Sorry. It’s my cat’s fault.

Here’s the trailer, which has the requisite bleepy music and dramatic explosions:

Grab the demo here, and you’ve around 50 hours to grab it for $whatever from Indiegamestand here. No doubt dev 8888888 Labs would much prefer you bought direct for the full-whack price of $14.99 here.

Mild annoyance warning: it needs to install .Net, DirectX and XNA before it’ll run, and DirectX tries to trick you into installing the Bing searchbar as part of the process. I really wish games could be installed with a single click, it’s so tiresome

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33 Comments »

  1. pupsikaso says:

    Can someone who’s tried please clarify about the bullets coming off-screen. Is it really bad? It almost looks like the trailer is zoomed in a bit, so you can’t see the full thing… are those bullets really coming out of nowhere off-screen? It would be really annoying if you could simple spam shoot in the general direction of where you think people are and kill them.

    • Luringen says:

      Most ammunition disappears after a while, especially high rate-of-fire weapons. Sniper weapons usually have too little ammunition, and too low rate of fire to be worth spamming. Also, enemies are invisible unless you are close to them, someone on your team is close to them, they are firing weapons, or you are using high-strength sonars on them (which reveals your position too). Some hulls are stealthier than others (usually with drawbacks), and all modules decrease strength (especially high-power engines).

  2. Arathain says:

    I blame my cat for just about everything. I feel better having someone to blame, and she, being a cat, wouldn’t care even if she could understand, so it works well for both of us.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Dunno… when I try to do that with my cat she gives me such a murderous stare that I start feeling like a mouse…

  3. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    More games should assign you random yet awesome names.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      I say this, of course, in my role as “Testicular California”. Random name generator, why are you so awesome?

  4. The Random One says:

    Looks interesting, but I won’t buy any game on IGS that chooses as its charity the Make Nerds Look Good Foundation.

  5. KDR_11k says:

    I looked a bit at the demo but multiplayer-only just doesn’t sound good at all.

    • Gnoupi says:

      About the multiplayer only: there are bots, and they are decent enough to play alone, from what I experienced.
      It’s less interesting as you won’t experience a lot of custom layouts, but it’s good enough to entetain yourself with your own designs.

  6. Gnoupi says:

    Actually, on the ship building and customization, the closer similarity would be with the Kerbal Space Program, in my opinion.

    The developer of this game apparently took great care about physics, and how you place place thrusters matters as to the final handling of the ship.

    From what I experienced, you really have a great feeling from the physics. You can set some “air density” parameter, on the server, which is adding friction to the movements, and actually stops the ships (the way most space simulator do anyway, even the X series). But when you remove this parameter, it’s infinite speed party! (and then you end up in an asteroid. Of course).

    Nice touch, you can easily exchange layouts for the ships (an exported layout is an image showing the ship, and the actual setup is encoded in the metadata part of the image. Neat), as well as getting new ones: when you kill an enemy, you automatically “steal” his ship design, and can use it yourself (given you have the rank for it).

    I wasn’t expecting this game, it kind of sneaked up on me, but it’s a nice surprise.

    • Aedrill says:

      This air density is way too big. I feel like I’m swimming in maple syrup instead of flying. Besides, ships act like they’re anywhere but in space. If you accelerate, turn 90 degrees and accelerate again, you stop almost instantly and start going in the new direction. It’s really annoying. It’s possible that it can be fixed by server settings, but default setup breaks the game for me.

      • DK says:

        Good thing it doesn’t feel like Space because it’s not. It’s upper Atmosphere (with customizable density). And the handling if your ship really depends on how it’s built. If you’ve only got the demo or haven’t unlocked the later parts you’re not even close to “speed”, so that’s why it feels like you have no momentum.

        Once you unlock turbojet engines and liquid fuel booster (as well as some small-drag-low-mass chassis) you can hit several times the speed of sound and you’ll need an airbrake to stop yourself from going fast.

        • pupsikaso says:

          How can it be upper atmosphere? Even if we assume it’s the upper atmosphere of a very dense gas giant planet, how do you explain the floating blocks and other structures that have no means of keeping themselves afloat?

          By the looks of it and feel, we’re in a very dense nebula. But yes, even in a very dense nebula you’re not going to get this kind of resistance to Newtonian motion. So, again, this is server settings. And yes, I agree the default settings make it feel like you’re swimming in some kind of fluid, but that is by default for a reason, because for most people this feel is normal and they are used to it. If the resistance was closer to 0 by default newer people would get frustrated when they turned their ship and then realized that they now have to burn for as long as they burned for before in the other direction.

          Zero resistance to momentum is harder to play and is for more advanced users. There are many servers with it. If you feel like you want that challenge go find a server with it. I played on them and I love it, but I can understand why the default is not like this, because it takes a completely different kind of playing style to be effective with 0 resistance.

          • Sardaukar says:

            I find the setting of space/atmosphere border to be quite interesting, though it only really works for me visually on the maps where it’s clouds everywhere with only the vaguest hint of landmasses below, and best when it seems like it’s just a gas giant. As for the things sitting around up there: Well it is the future. I wouldn’t say it dumbs down the flight at all, either; Once you start working with fins, complexity really ramps up. The stabilizing fins are simple, yes, but the rudder is very fun to work with.

  7. toastie says:

    Reminds me of Subspace. Anyone remember Subspace?

    • Banana2000 says:

      Subspace was great..miss the Turf Zone Arizona days when it was at it’s peak. I still jump into Continuum and hit Trench Wars. Good Stuff!

    • jackflash says:

      YES. I was thinking the exact same thing. Anyone remember my squadron (Rogue)?

  8. Matt says:

    You should buy this game! It’s lots of fun, and I need more humans to play against.

  9. Bloodoflamb says:

    For saying they wanted to emphasize physics, the whole concept of inertia is oddly absent. The velocities you’re reaching in this game would be maintained longer in atmosphere than they are in the game, which is supposed to be happening in (effectively) vacuum.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Server settings can influence the “air resistance” of whatever gas we’re flying in. Some servers do in fact set this to 0, so you get Newtonian motion.

  10. JBantha says:

    Cue Interstella 5.5.5.5. by Daft Punk.

  11. Crimsoneer says:

    Everybody should buy this, it’s great fun. Zoom out while you play though :)

  12. TychoCelchuuu says:

    If anyone is still on the fence (why would you be? It’s so cheap!) I made a video with some quick impressions which I will shamelessly promote because I have no shame. I highly recommend the game. Quite a bit of fun. The only downside is, as Crimsoneer notes, you kind of want to be zoomed out all the time so you can’t see the pretty graphics.

    • pupsikaso says:

      Yeah, and you’ll be fighting mostly using the middle mouse button zoom, the “scope” or whatever, which lets you see even farther than normal zoom. It’s… well, it could be better than that…

  13. pupsikaso says:

    I tried the demo, an AWESOME game. You may think from the video it’s an arcade shooter but it’s anything but. It’s a very tactical game with lots of nuance to it. Only problem is servers don’t seem to be very stable.

    • Tacroy says:

      Yeah, I had a pretty low ping but the game would still spaz out every few seconds. It makes me sad, but that’s just not playable :(

      Edit: nevermind, I realized it’s my birthday so I bought it anyway.

  14. pupsikaso says:

    Tip for new players: You can change controls from Arrow Keys to WASD in the hangar when you design your ship. Click on thrusters and at the top you’ll get an option to change from Arrow Keys to WASD. In fact, you can actually rebind this to any other keys you want.
    Please note that this is saved per ship and not for everything! If you hop into another ship during the game it may be using other controls!

    • Stranglove says:

      On the subject of controls, if you want engines placed to default to W/S (or even something crazier!) you can change the ‘Designer Defaults’ in the options menu. It’s a great little option that makes the game that much more playable.

  15. Sardaukar says:

    This game is extremely nice. The first time you make a ship that is both effective and outright fun to fly just feels so good. And the kicker? Like Spore, the ship is saved as a .png picture of itself. Also anyone you kill, you “steal” the ship design of. It’s a brilliant way to disseminate ideas and reward kills.

    You don’t have to play sniper to succeed, either. My current ship more or less goes full speed into enemy fire with an armored nose, then fires retrothrusters to slow next to them and unleash an array of flak cannons (shotguns) along the spine. Because the game recognizes component damage rather than a single HP bar for the whole ship, the spread of pellets works to strip bare anything that can’t be killed in one shot, for easy followups.

    • pupsikaso says:

      I use something similar, but rather than slowing down I go right past them, turn, and go for another run. Usually most pilots can’t seem to react fast enough unless they see me coming, but I tend to pick targets that are already engaged in other combat.
      Needless to say I have a lot of thruster power for this setup.

  16. Zankmam says:

    This is a great game, I would love to buy it.

    The demo is fun too, though. Bots are sorta limited, but hey, not a big issue.

    For all those asking: This is not a arcade-y shooter. It is hard to fly around and shoot properly, and you can die in an instant.

    Creating your own ships, giving them special designs and doing a little “roleplaying” by giving them names and info is fun. Making a ship isn’t hard… But making it nice and functional is.

    Good game all in all.

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