Puppy Games latest rather good game, Basingstoke [Official Site], offers up some truly intense action and some clever use of stealth.
For a small history lesson: Puppy Games also developed titles like Revenge of the Titans (which happens to be one of my favourite indie games), Ultratron, Titan Attacks! and Droid Assault. They’ve supported Linux gaming for a long time, some time before Steam even arrived on Linux.
With thanks to the awesome folks at Puppy Games, I had advanced access and I’ve been seriously enjoying it. I even had a hand at making sure the Linux version worked properly on SteamOS, so that was fun.
Basingstoke is a game that has genuinely shocked me for how good it actually is. It's incredibly deceptive that's for sure, since you start off thinking "oh this is cute" and it quickly warps into a hellish nightmare. Although, one more like the film Shaun of the Dead and less like Dawn of the Dead, thanks to the wonderful British humour from Puppy Games.
It does seem to be set in the same universe as some of their other games as well, with the design of some enemies like what you might find in Revenge of the Titans. I like this quite a lot, since I love their simple style and it lends itself surprisingly well to the perspective in Basingstoke.
Some things in life are learned the hard way, like the fact that my cooking really is atrocious (I set an oven on fire making cheese on toast once) and death comes rather abruptly in Basingstoke. Since it’s a stealth game, running at your enemies really isn’t the best idea. You will need to sneak past enemies and hope they don't turn around, or throw something like a flare or perhaps an irresistible sausage roll to attract enemies attention away from you.
They certainly weren't kidding when describing it as a tense game. The first few minutes past the intro are filled full of explosions, as you make a mad-dash to escape certain doom. Some fantastic use of lighting effects too, the atmosphere was quite insane! I could feel my heart pumping faster as I dashed to escape, while also attempting to avoid getting eaten.
My first death, surprisingly, didn't come at the hands of the zombified city inhabitants, nor did it come as a result of the speedy little aliens that make a mad dash for you—oh no—I was running away from said zombies and ran right into a giant purple tentacle that smashed up through the road, grabbed me and pulled me down into the ground—dead.
Some of what you can do is truly hilarious! Found some hairspray? Spraying it at enemies can make them panic and run away, some panic so much they might run directly into fire and die. Are you being chased? Find the nearest bin, jump in it and hope for the best. An interesting part of the stealth mechanics, is that it then turns first-person as you peer out to see when it's safe to exit.
It has all the usual suspects you would want including looting and crafting, some hilarious equipment like the ability to poison a kebab, unlockable characters, achievements and trading cards on Steam and so on. Also, for those who have issues with flashing lights and gore, the game presents you with options to reduce both before you even begin—awesome.
I’ve never felt so safe holding a sausage roll before…that's not something I thought I would be writing about a game. It's slightly comical, downright brutal at times and such fun to play. Absolutely go check it out, it's easily one of my favourite releases so far this year.
If you want to join the ride, I will be livestreaming it tonight after Day of Infamy on our Twitch Channel.