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Life After Aliens: TimeGate's Minimum

yeaaaah pew pew boom kthoom whirrrrrrrrrrrsplat

Oh, TimeGate. Still-unconfirmed (or denied) rumblings have linked you to a rather sizable portion of Aliens: Colonial Marines’ acid-puking awfulness, so there’s your legacy for now. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that the recently reviled studio’s proven reliably inoffensive in the past, producing middle-of-the-road manshoots like Section 8 and a few FEAR expansions. So it’s with a slightly less mountainous mound of trepidation than expected that I bring you word of Minimum, TimeGate’s new free-to-play shooter/slasher/watch two Greek-mythology-inspired titans go all Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots on each other-er. Promisingly, its inspirations seem to run the gamut from Quake’s speed to Unreal’s arcadiness to Minecraft’s adaptability, but obviously, snapping all those puzzle pieces into a coherent whole is another matter entirely. I must say, though, the achy, breaky, blocky trailer after the break has me sort of intrigued.

Beyond the marvelously marble aesthetic, Minimum has two standout features in its sensually rounded corner: multi-tiered, mid-match weapon evolutions and towering colossi that punch each other into rubble while you rumble. Here’s a (sadly) basic explanation of the former:

“Tired of only one way to make things go boom? How about weapons with 5 levels of awesome? Our PowerUp system harkens back to old-school classics like Contra and Raiden, with your weapons gaining ever-increasing levels of destruction as you pickup the super charged energy of the defeated. Try to stay alive though, your PowerUps only last as long as you do.”

“We’re not talking about the difference between an assault rifle and a machine gun. Minimum’s weapons are designed from the get-go to be unique, from an exploding ice-sniper to burning dual-wield katanas. Each weapon’s 5 PowerUp levels and unique alt fires give almost class-like diversity and depth, not to mention simply being a ton of fun to play with.”

I certainly like the sound of that, at least. The idea behind the titans, however, leaves me a bit wary. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for gigantic things wailing on each other without so much as the slightest flinch, but we’ll only be indirectly contributing to their gentlemanly fistic transactions. In other words, no direct control. Instead, players’ job is apparently to “harvest energy from creatures in the environment to power their team’s Titan to ultimate victory.” ULTIMATE VICTORY. SOMEHOW BETTER THAN REGULAR VICTORY.

But also, I’ve never really understood the point of putting something orders of magnitude more awesome than players in a game that’s ostensibly about making players feel awesome. I mean, it could well make for an interesting mechanic, but until I get the chance to give it a go, I’ll have some reservations.

Oh, but I won’t have to chomp craggy canyons into my nails for long. Minimum’s debuting as part of Steam’s early access program next week on April 16th. That’s one day before my birthday. Hooray! Good ol’ TimeGate, always thinking about me, specifically. Also, they’re apparently thinking about others (in a vastly reduced capacity) as well, because they plan to keep players involved in the development process every step of the way. Once again, the magical, ravages-of-time-immune hinge-based barrier hasn’t explained exactly how, but the message is clear: “Minimum was built on the ideas and input of a collective team, and we believe that the input of our players is the best way to drive where we go from here.”

Step one: all the stuff you did on Aliens? Probably don’t do any of that here. Step two: I don’t know I guess jetpacks.

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Nathan Grayson

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