There’s a famous scene in Aliens where Ripley and the company men watch as the marines make their way through a derelict colony base, giving orders and eventually seeing them succumb to untold numbers of xenomorphs over their helmet cams. Salvaged [official site] is that idea extracted and put into a videogame. You play a commander who controls and observes AI soldiers as they sweep different spaceships for bits and pieces, investigating what went wrong. It looks a lot like Duskers, but with burly men instead of poor, doomed robots. It’s out today on Steam early access and you can see how it works in the trailer below.
As you take your salvage crew from ship to ship, you upgrade and customise them, giving them new weapons and armour. You can see the four-person team on a split-screen feed in front of you at all times, but you also have to twiddle buttons and command them to go from place to place. The early access page says it currently has a complete 8 to 15 hour campaign mode built-in, and it can also be played on Oculus VR. If there isn’t a climactic moment in the game when something big and slimy starts knocking on your own door, forcing you to leave the command desk and do some fighting/fleeing for yourself, I will be disappointed.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because we first spotted Salvaged back in 2014, when it had just come out of the design womb as a “two screen game” – using a touchscreen tablet to issue commands as the action unravelled on another monitor. There was a failed Kickstarter, but it looks like the team managed to get it moving anyway and it looks to have come a long way, visually at least. They are still planning to add full tablet control in future updates, but for now it is a 20-level scramble for survival. I’ll probably pop in for this week’s Premature Evaluation and see if shouting “GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE” at computer-controlled spacemen works as well as it did for Ripley and co.