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Shelter Skelter: Sanctuary 17

Wonder-blog IndieGames.com has posted a link to Sanctuary 17, a top-down browser shooter set in some dark, dank, robot-filled tunnels. Say what you like about gamers, we sure know where to have a good time. Sanctuary 17 sees you picking your way through this mysterious maze as an explorer for some last bastion of humanity, collecting equipment for yourself, repairing subsystems for the survivors back home and accessing terminals in a Marathon stylee to piece together the story. More excitingly, it's also a bit spooky.

Why is it spooky? Well, you're constantly struggling to locate your foes in the environment, a single hit kills you and the robots happily take pot-shots from their position in the shadows. You learn to operate on sound, quickly falling into a tense routine of bringing up your shield at the sound of lasers and returning shots at their origin, but all the while the pathetic battery that powers all of your gear is withering away. And if that wasn't enough, there are plenty of organic horrors that make no sound, emit no light and seem to exist solely to creep up and be Right There Jesus Christ! when you turn around with the flashlight.

For the most part it's good, unclean fun, occasionally strolling over into irritation with some of the more brutal level randomisation and the fact that after each death your new "Follower" has to recover that all-important shield from your (occasionally distant) corpse. That said, Sanctuary 17 developers Twofold Secret are choosing to support Sanctuary 17 by selling actual real dead tree manuals containing enemy rundowns, helpful hints and "behind-the-scenes secrets" (!) at €8 per, allowing players to support the project and get some help with that rough difficulty in one move.

Waiting for this to arrive in the post seems hardly ideal when most browser games are devoured within an hour or two of discovery, but that's just me. If you're interested and need no namby-pamby manual, Sanctuary 17 can be played right here.

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Quintin Smith


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