City of Steam keeps chugging along nicely. Now in closed beta, I had the chance to play around in it for a while (many thanks to Gabriel from Mechanist for the opportunity and being a great guide).
The game felt much improved from my last go around; much more solid, feature complete and visually packed with goodies. After the break, some brief comments and screenies about the new stuff that impressed me the most.
From the get go, things felt much more focused and polished. A pretty cinematic intro sets things up nicely and the tutorials do a much better job at easing new players in. Quite a few number of different playable races have been added and from the very beginning you can tell Mechanist put some work in the new UI elements, making things feel visually tighter without letting go at any point of the steampunk feel.
Gabriel led me through a couple of dungeons and a few of the new additions to the game. There’s now an item modification system in place, which lets you slot upgrades you find in order to make your equipment better, but here’s the kicker – upgrades are visual as well, reflecting, for example, on the actual weapon model your character wields. A very nice touch.
Another nice touch was dungeons having challenge modes. For instance, you can choose to be challenged to reach the end of a dungeon (packed with enemies, mind you) before the allotted time expires, or perhaps eliminate all of a particular type of enemy inside the dungeon, etc. Adds a lot of variety to what otherwise would be regular dungeon runs. Beating these new challenges rewards you with orbs that you can take back to town and…
… transmute them, using them as currency in a steampunk themed slot machine, which can reward you with a variety of goodies (to my surprise, there’s even a chance to win actual currency to be used in the game’s shop!). The device worked just like a slot machine, with each orb working as a quarter coin of sorts that made it go. Simple and straightforward.
PvP and PvP arenas are also being tested, although we did not spend much time there as we were wrapping things up. Gabriel was kind enough to let me win, which right there puts him one step above the entirety of the gaming population in my view.
I was particularly and pleasantly surprised at the work they’ve been doing with the effects and the environments. Everything seemed more vibrant, alive and present, with a good number of little (and not so little!) touches here and there like water splashing as you run through, airships flying above and casting shadows on the ground below. Some environments are by now plain beautiful to look at.
Yes, this game runs in your browser.
(Thanks again to Gabriel and the folks over at Mechanist. Keep on truckin’… or… uh… steamin’?)