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“Embark on a glorious odyssey where survival depends on tactically combining diverse weapon classes to annihilate the hordes. Beware of your choices traveling through the stars, the next combat can determine your destiny.”

Survivors of the Dawn – a game I stumbled upon by chance on Twitter – can best be described as a classic bullet hell or horde survival game.

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It's important to note that what you’ll read and see here is not the finished game or even a demo, but an early playtest version currently provided by the developer for free. The game is currently in version 0.3, so in its alpha stage. I've tried the game on Linux Mint 21.1 with Proton Experimental and the Steam Deck without any tinkering, despite no official Linux support.

Survivors of the Dawn comes from the small studio indieGiant in Turkey. Like many other games of its kind, Survivors of the Dawn follows the typical gameplay loop of slaying monsters, levelling up, and slaying even more monsters... until we eventually run out of steam or hit points.

Despite sounding simple and familiar so far (like many other horde bullet hell games), Survivors of the Dawn brings a few fresh ideas that could set it apart from its competitors.

What's already in Survivors of the Dawn?

Like most other games of its kind, Survivors of the Dawn is about purely our survival from hordes of monsters. It doesn't really have a story – and I'm uncertain if the game will ever have one. However, in this type of game, the story doesn't play a major role, so I'll skip that part and talk about the gameplay instead.

As for the core gameplay, the playtest version currently only features one main weapon, a shotgun, which is a bit disappointing. So, I hope the developer upgrades this aspect before the game enters early access in July, as planned. 

And yes, according to the Steam page, the current version of the game is just a glimpse of what's planned for Survivors of the Dawn. The developer intends to add more content over time, including additional weapon classes, synergies between power ups, randomly generated sectors, playable characters, and extra game modes. Currently, there is only one mode, but a second survival mode is already visible in the main menu.

Besides the initial main weapon, there are some interesting upgrades we can select and improve as we level up. These include a small striker drone as a companion, which constantly takes care of our enemies and becomes powerful at higher levels, exploding kamikaze spiders, rocket and grenade launchers, orbiting laser barriers, and lightsabers à la Star Wars.

And, if you already thought our protagonist looks a bit like a Stormtrooper from Star Wars, I agree – that was my first thought too.

Despite these obvious design inspirations – as well as gameplay inspirations from Vampire Survivors and Slay The Spire – Survivors of the Dawn also brings a few unique ideas that I haven't seen in other games of the genre.

The game features a kind of mini-campaign consisting of individual levels connected through a space map. We move forward with our spaceship and choose the next level, small text events, or a shop. The text events grant us either advantages like additional credits or disadvantages like starting with half of our hit points. It's unclear how much these text events contribute to a story, though.

In the current playtest version of the game, the campaign map is still relatively simple, but I spoke to the developer on Twitter, and he mentioned plans to expand it in the future. I really hope he does because I find this feature quite cool. Not only does the map create a sense of connected missions, but progress between individual missions also carries over. That means the weapons and upgrades we obtained in one level will carry over to the next one – and the same goes for the upgrades bought in the shop, of course.

Until the full version of the game is released, I hope some points will be improved. For example, currently it's quite difficult to regenerate hit points. There is a power-up between missions that allows us to regenerate hit points when we deal damage at the cost of 70% of our hit points, but it's not very effective. Besides that power-up, there are small green orbs on the map, but they are so rare that even with extreme caution, I hardly obtained any.

The overall difficulty of the game is acceptable. Although I initially found it somewhat easy, I haven't managed to complete the boss level entirely yet.

Currently, Survivors of the Dawn doesn't have controller support, but the developer stated that it will be added. This also means that the game isn't really playable on the Steam Deck at the moment.

However, I still took a look at the game on the Steam Deck, and it runs quite well already. In fact, despite the lack of controller support, you can already move around, but there is no way to control the crosshair except through the touchpad. Nevertheless, at this point, I would assume that Survivors of the Dawn will be playable on the Steam Deck.

The official demo is expected to be released on Steam no later than June 16, with the early access version coming in July. I can't provide exact information about the price of the game during early access presently, but I think it will be reasonable.

If you're interested in trying the game yourself, you can find the game on Steam. There, you can either sign up for the ongoing playtest or, if you're reading this later, download the demo or the full game.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
About the author -
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Based in Vietnam, Etienne has been working as a freelance writer and editor for different media. When he's not busy working or caring for his partner, he is playing various games on PC and Steamdeck and making content on 2DLinux, his YouTube Channel.
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1 comment

StalePopcorn Jun 7, 2023
OH CRAP this looks like fun!
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