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DNA-stealing shooter Beacon in early access next week

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“There’s nothing like harvesting the deoxyribonucleic acid from the corpses of your enemies and using it to modify your own genome to become an all-crushing gunwarrior capable of defeating entire planets” my grandmother used to say. She would have liked the look of Beacon, a top-down shooter with shapes and colours arranged in such a way as to communicate a hostile world full of angry wildlife and shooty locals. It rolled across the RPS firing range a couple of years ago, but now the developers are finishing it up, and it’s due to hit early access on Itch.io next week.Your hope, as the cloned survivor of a crash landing, is to find a beacon needed to signal for a rescue. Kill some aliens along the way and collect their DNA. When you die, you can use that DNA in the cloning bay to boost stats and buy mutations, making your next clone more useful. There are different enemy factions, each with their own DNA, “allowing you to become a battle-hardened mass of metal, a luminous abomination of insect flesh, or anything in-between.”

Along with these abilities you’ll be killing bad dudes with weapons, grenades, equipment, passive skills, and single-use pick-ups. Aforementioned bad dudes include the robo-gunners of the Prism faction and their “sonic and tesla technology”, or the insect-like Solus, who gunk you with acid and shine dangerous lights at you.

“Over our First Access we plan to release major content updates every 4-6 weeks,” say developers Monothetic, “with minor updates and quality of life fixes in-between.”

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It’s nice-looking, for sure. My only concern with toppo-downos such as this is that the perspective and background art sometimes work against each other, making the battleground a confusing place to be once the lasers start fizzing and the bullets start whizzing. There’s also set to be a bit of jumping from one place to another, which can be odd when you view the plane of battle from a particular angle. Anyway, there’s the skin from around my fingernails picked off.

You can buy it through Itch.io for $19.99 from April 30, say the developers (they’re the folks who made Half-Life 2 mod Black Snow, by the way).

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Brendan Caldwell

Features Editor

Brendan likes all types of games. To him there is wisdom in Crusader Kings 2, valour in Dark Souls, and tragicomedy in Nidhogg.

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