When I first saw Snapshot Games' apocalyptic strategy game Phoenix Point in action, I was with Brendan in thinking that it was orbiting XCOM's star a little too closely, but after playing it at Rezzed I was struck by just how different it really is. This week's new gameplay build (available to backers today) further differentiates the game, including mid-mission inventory management and driveable vehicles, and you can see some developer gameplay footage below.
In the video (very lengthy on account of playing through the new build twice, so feel free to skip around through it), Snapshot's community manager Kevin Hill breaks down all that they've added since their first public release. Among the changes are a new member of the player's squad (the Technician) who deploys turrets, heal teammates and use their big robot arms to weld holes in aliens if needed. They've also added the Armadillo APC which can be driven and used as cover against small arms fire, and a far tougher boss fight.
The new alien queen (pictured up top in clean and EXTREME BATTLE DAMAGE varieties) is an evolved version of the one seen previously. As the campaign progresses, enemies mutate. In the case of this particular queen, she's grown huge curved armour plates on her legs, claws and back to dissuade you from just piling assault rifle rounds into her guts, but at least you've got your own armoured vehicle to even things up here.
While current backer builds are just an early look at the tactical combat side of the game (now with more possible map layouts in random mission mode), the introduction of infantry inventories adds a fun new wrinkle to combat. Your squad starts out underequipped, but you can find additional ammo, weaponry and even deployable turrets in the equipment crates scattered around, although it takes a chunk out of your action points to rummage through one of these boxes.
It's still early days for Phoenix Point, with the final game delayed until next summer at the earliest. Still, this new build (buggy, unpolished pre-alpha as it is) shows that the game is growing into something truly distinct, and one I'm eager to see mutate further.