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Mars Defends: The Red Solstice

The Red Solstice is currently heading to the mid-point of a fairly solid Kickstarter campaign but I predict great things for the future. It’s an eight player coop squad shooter based on a Warcraft mod called Night Of The Dead and one may be the only game in existence to jettison zombies rather than cramming in as many as possible like the deranged operator of a bilious battery farm. It’s the Warcraft origins that caught my attention though – by 2021, will people be travelling around the world to play The Red Solstice in enormous tournaments, larger and more cash-corrupted than the FIFA Pepsi Gazprom World Cup? Stranger things draw a crowd.

A demo is available right now but for those of you who don’t have the time or inclination to try that, or to watch the video above, here are the basics.

Players choose from a selection of eight classes and work together to survive an onslaught of Martian monstrosities on maps with randomised features. Those features include enemy and item placement, and during the first phase of a mission, the team will be looking to gather equipment and set up defences. And then, in the second phase, the defending begins as the swarms of enemies become increasingly lethal. The final phase is evacuation, presumably followed by an unseen retirement phase that mostly involves tea and biscuits.

A singleplayer mode is possible but only if the $100,000 stretch goal is unlocked. That seems unlikely, given that only $15,000 of the base $50,000 target has been reached with under three weeks of the campaign left. I also doubt whether most of the people interested in the game are particularly excited by the idea of a solo storyline, given that many are probably migrating from the mod. Having been ignorant of its existence until around half an hour ago, the closest point of comparison that springs into my mind is a bout of cooperative Killing Floor, which has a vaguely similar feel, with its grungy flesh-beasts and B-movie values.

‘B-movie’, incidentally, is almost always a positive quality when it’s associated with my witterings. To mix the language of gaming and cinema, I enjoy everything from AAA to B and beyond – the letters can be descriptive but they are not grades.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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