BLOXCOM: Enemy Adds Random Gen, Physics To Strategy

By Nathan Grayson on July 15th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

I’m not the biggest fan of the blocktacular voxel art style that’s all the rage these days, largely due to a) simplicity and b) the looming influence of games like Minecraft, but Enemy‘s got me reconsidering my stance. It’s hardly the most attractive game on the block, but it adds complete environmental destrucitibility and random generation to a classic-X-Com-inspired turn-based combat system.  Oh, the possibilities for those willing to think outside the box. But, you know, still inside a series of bigger boxes, because if you’re hoping to find any other shape in this game you will be sorely disappointed.

I’m a little worried by how heavily this one seems to lean on its nostalgia factor, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find parts of this (by which I mainly mean the second) really enticing:

“Every time you start a new game, the game procedurally generates a new world, using decades-old video games as its building blocks. The result is a collision of genres, where haunted swamps, tropical war zones, and peaceful mushroom villages all stand side-by-side. You’ll build up your own custom squad of retro game characters, with a mix of skills ranging from mental health and reaction time, to the use of blasters and the ability to jump five times your own height.”

“Enemy is built on a turn-based combat system closely inspired by the original X-Com and Jagged Alliance. You’ll devise strategies based around the unique set of abilities you’ve chosen for your team, and then execute them step-by-step, all while responding to counter-moves made by the enemy. It models the stress of battle on your heroes, who can flee or go berserk if things start to go too wrong. Additionally, everything in the game is destructible. If you damage the supports of a building in the middle of a fight, the whole structure can come crashing down on you. Inadvertently starting a small fire in the wrong place can lead to being caught in the middle of a massive inferno. Combat is dynamic, and easily spirals out of control.”

Enemy already managed a successful Kickstarter, but it’s now positioning its itsy bitsy block centurions around Steam Greenlight‘s outside perimeter. You can give it a quick shove in the right direction, if you’d like.

What do you think of Enemy? I’m of the opinion that it could definitely still use some polish, but the ideas are interesting enough that I’d like to at least have a go at it. I very much like the idea of dropping a tree onto somebody’s tiny voxel anthill home, for instance. The tactical possibilities surrounding that are delicious, and also I’m just a really big fan of dropping trees on stuff. I’ve got a shirt and everything.

, .

20 Comments »

Top comments

  1. communisthamster says:

    Yeah, Tom Johnson has been really good at post kickstarter communication and dev video blogging.

    This is the last game you should accuse of relying on nostalgia, considering a) advanced physics in a voxel game b) it only references broad old trends rather than specifics and c) ADVANCED PHYSICS IN A VOXEL GAME

    Look at them, they’re gorgeous, most voxel games just cash in on the cubular look and don’t do anything further with a whole world made of consistent, well defined units which is a tragic shame as it’s perfect for things like physics. See TomF (he works at Oculus now) post on his blog http://home.comcast.net/~tom_forsyth/papers/cellular_automata_for_physical_modelling.html

  1. wu wei says:

    But, you know, still inside a series of bigger boxes, because if you’re hoping to find any other shape in this game you will be sorely disappointed.

    I see at least two pyramids in that first screenshot.

  2. Premium User Badge

    ErraticGamer says:

    I was one of the Kickstarter backers for Enemy, and while I didn’t pledge at the beta level (is it even in beta? I dunno) the development videos have been consistently fascinating to watch. There’s lots of systems-level interactions going on. The Idle Thumbs guys are gonna get a lot of “grenade rolls down a hill” emergent gameplay out of this one.

    • communisthamster says:

      Yeah, Tom Johnson has been really good at post kickstarter communication and dev video blogging.

      This is the last game you should accuse of relying on nostalgia, considering a) advanced physics in a voxel game b) it only references broad old trends rather than specifics and c) ADVANCED PHYSICS IN A VOXEL GAME

      Look at them, they’re gorgeous, most voxel games just cash in on the cubular look and don’t do anything further with a whole world made of consistent, well defined units which is a tragic shame as it’s perfect for things like physics. See TomF (he works at Oculus now) post on his blog http://home.comcast.net/~tom_forsyth/papers/cellular_automata_for_physical_modelling.html

      • Sam says:

        Does the game have that kind of cellular automata based modelling? If so they really should include that in the trailer because that makes it much more interesting.

        As it is, all I see is standard issue rigid body physics with some destructive interaction with the voxel world. If it does have the kind of true voxel physics that page talks about, how can that coexist in a meaningful way with the free movement of rigid body physics objects?

        The big idea behind CA modelling of physics is that you can create a virtual world entirely from these discrete lowest-possible-level units. Like Conway’s Game of Life wholly defines the physics for a universe where higher level phenomena can be observed. If you also have rigid body polygons bouncing around the place, they must exist in a set of dimensions outside of that of the voxel world, but with all kinds of messy interactions between them. The elegance is gone.

        • communisthamster says:

          No, it doesn’t have that kind of physics, but “destructive interaction with a voxel world” is still a hundred times better than minecraft’s static lumps of fudge. Neat game physics are my cocaine.

    • Sleepymatt says:

      +1 to the original comment – this is one of my most eagerly awaited KS projects, which it certainly wasn’t when I backed it. The way the developer has gone about his business is exemplary, and the game is shaping up to be something special in my opinion.

  3. LionsPhil says:

    The stone blocks and hedges in that screenshots are off the grid.

    *twitch*

    • Sp4rkR4t says:

      I know and it’s freaking me out man!

    • Sam says:

      Judging from other screenshots, the world’s grid size is half of what those grid lines indicate. So things are actually lined up properly. But then again there’s sloped terrain, so the voxel grid is being contradicted anyway.

  4. spec10 says:

    nice screenshot :)

    http://zeldawiki.org/Link's_House

  5. Lion Heart says:

    another minecraft looking game…. how boring.

    • NooklearToaster says:

      Eh, I could say the same about anything that tries to be photorealistic, it’s all about what the game is actually doing that makes it compelling. Turn-based tactical RPG with semi-realistic physics? Sounds like a much more interesting game than minecraft.

      • Lion Heart says:

        thing is photorealism makes you go wow, minecraft graphics arnt very hard to immitate and are hideously boring now its like gaming has regressed back to the 90′s with all these indie games copyiong minecrafts aestetics…

        • DrManhatten says:

          Really? I find these 8bit retro awfull C64-block pixel art platformer indy games far worse. Don’t get me wrong you can do some amazing pixel art but most of those aren’t in that category.

        • The Random One says:

          Honestly, photorealism hasn’t made me go wow since 2005.

  6. DrManhatten says:

    Backed this in the kickstarter campaign which now feels like aeons ago and unfortunately as nearly 95% of all kickstarter campaigns is way behind schedule. I think only Dvinity Original Sin got anywhere close (6 month window) to its promised release date. That’s why I basically stopped backing any more campaigns as my backlog didn’t nearly shrink at all. Interesting to see he applied for Greenlight now most other kickstarters do it at the same time as their campaign might indicate that a release might be not so far off after all. Luckily I don’t need to get the stinky Steam DRM version :D

  7. MrUnimport says:

    I’m usually the first to groan about pixelly blocky graphics but this actually looks really good, visually. Lovely-looking textures. Not keen on the player models though.

  8. Premium User Badge

    stringerdell says:

    This game and stuff like overgrowth, gang beasts etc are the reason I read RPS. I’ve found out about so many cool games here.