Skyshine’s Bedlam [official site] was one of two FTL-on-wheels roguelikelikes we’ve seen in recent times, and while it pulled it off better than the outwardly similar Convoy, it was damned stressful. For me, it crossed the line from steely challenge with a risk of meaningful losses and into a consistently punitive grind. Despite my being a big wimpy baby, it turned out I’m not alone in bouncing off the good’lookin’, comic-styled, Banner Saga-powered wasteland death-trek. Devs Skyshine (lead by some Darksiders vets) have taken feedback on board and come up with a Redux version of the game.
There are some huge, and hopefully effective, changes to how the whole roadshow works – including a major rethink of the turn-based combat system.
The headline change as far as I’m concerned is that the turn-based combat has moved from each team having only two actions per turn to each participant having two action points. I.e. now you get to use your entire team per turn, rather than just one or two of ’em. Clearly the enemy gets to do the same, though.
This is welcome because the old way, while refreshingly different from the perhaps over-familiar X-COM norm, too often resulted in situations where you had to move a unit into range of multiple enemies in order to achieve anything, but then usually couldn’t do anything to get them out of harm’s way afterwards. You couldn’t just play it safe because, after a few turns, the opposing team were granted a Blitz status which gave them and them only more actions. The result was, to my mind, too many situations in which the death of your characters was unavoidable.
So that’s all changed. In Bedlam, each character on each squad now has two action points to be divided between movement and action – thus you can come up with a proper plan of action to manage a large enemy force and maybe, maybe not end up with all your guys bleeding out into the sand within a handful of turns.
It’s not a straight XCOM lift either: moving then shooting costs 1 AP but only inflicts 60% damage, whereas shooting right off the bat (and spending two action points in the process) lands 100% damage. There could be some fascinating tactics spooling out of that.
If you don’t like the sound of it, the original system can be restored via the settings menu, by the way.
Other changes include more and more unpredictable choose-your-own-adventure text pop-ups, but less clicking to navigate them; the option to choose your starting crew; the option to play as different factions from across the wasteland; the end-goal changing from always having to reach Aztec city to finding and fighting for various relics scattered about the place; many, many more units and sprites; randomised crew names. And a whole bunch more: the full breakdown is here.
Kudos to the devs for such an extensive response to feedback. Anyone had a chance to check it all out yet? I’ll definitely stick my nose back in if I can find a chance.