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Retro FPS Ion Maiden slips into 2019, adds multiplayer

Ion Maiden is blasting off again!

Authentically old-school FPS Ion Maiden will feel just that little bit more retro when it arrives, as it's slipped to launching in "early 2019" according to developers Voidpoint and publisher 3D Realms. On the plus side, the game will now include multiplayer at launch.

The Build-based spinoff from 3D Realms's ill-fated Bombshell impressed both myself and John when it bombed its way into early access a few months back, which makes the extended wait all the harder.

Developed by Voidpoint (a crew of retro FPS modders turned pro) Ion Maiden is built on the same DOS-era foundation as Duke Nukem 3D and Shadow Warrior. It may look old, but Voidpoint have learnt a few FPS design tricks over the decades. Levels flow better, enemies are less frustrating to fight, auto-saves are semi-frequent and your rolling ball-grenades are so well designed that it's hard to hurt yourself with them.

While multiplayer is now on the cards for Ion Maiden's 2019 launch, Voidpoint haven't elaborated on whether that's just traditional deathmatch, co-op or both. The early access version hasn't seen many updates since I last played, either. They've improved performance, rebalanced difficulty levels a little and added a basic arcade arena-survival mode called Queen of the Hill, but nothing massive or game-changing. Still, all good improvements.

3D Realms have also announced a limited-run collectors edition. It's authentically '90s 'big box' format and contains the game on a USB stick disguised as a 3.5" floppy disk, although ironically does not seem to include a manual. Also in the box is the usual collectors-edition silliness; a plastic model of the protagonist, a set of coloured keycards, etc. Neat as this is, you're also unlikely to get one - they cost $100 a pop, and the majority of them have sold already.

Ion Maiden is available as early access on Steam and GOG for £15.49/€20/$20. Buying now gets you access to a preview chapter of the game, a few levels long.

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