Black-Screen Simulator 2012 is almost out of beta! There are rumours of first-day DLC dropping too, the exclusive “Error Report” pack will be available to customers who try to run the game. Those poor fools.
Wait a minute, you’re telling me there’s actually a game somewhere in there? I assumed I’d just bought it for those mind-numbing minutes of uncertainty while a black screen flickers and the Windows loading circle spins around, and around… Come on, I invested in this to torture myself (and save some money on the hookers I pay on a regular basis to enter my house, think about taking their clothes off, only to leave just as I’m getting excited for that inevitable disappointment high we’re all so fond of). Don’t ruin the fun by actually working.
As you can tell, Miner Wars 2081 did not make a great first impression on me. I’ve seen all the pictures and videos, all of the gamers raving about it, and the gorgeous visuals do make it look quite tempting, but the end result feels a little bit like walking into a room filled with beautiful women/men only to discover that they all have plungers for genitals. As I eagerly loaded up the first campaign, my initial cynicism blown away by the shiny graphics, I prepare for the inevitable rush of flying my own little miner ship through wartorn space. The game starts, bullets start to fly, and I’m told “Just get out of there!” So I duck and weave through an environment that to be fair, looks extremely good, but I haven’t been enjoying the thrill of flight for more than three seconds before my ship starts screaming at me on screen. OXYGEN LEAKING! ARMOR LOW!
Boom – mission failed, and I assume it’s because I didn’t stop and shoot at the hostiles trying to kill my friends. The game doesn’t convey scale very well because of the non-linear state of the environment, and it’s easy to assume that what you think is a little bullet drone is actually a full sized attacking ship trying to mess your day up in a big way. So I try again, but this time, I fight back. Bullets feel like they just ping right off of anything you fire them at and missiles are, well, hit and miss at the best of times. I die again, and for the last time I restart the game and decide to try the “running with my tail between my legs” approach again.
I get to blast some rubble out of the way and fly alongside a narrow shaft devoid of enemy miners, until my buddy tells me to look outside. I stop and look out at a few ships getting blown up, and at this point I felt as if the game screamed in my ear “big mistake, motherfucker” before killing me again. At first, I felt as if it was my fault, like beginner’s jitters, but from then on it started to feel like there was someone sat in an office somewhere pressing a button that killed me whenever I thought I was doing well, chuckling at my frustration. Once you get used to the idea that you can be killed from any angle at any time you start playing appropriately, realising you have to apply your movement carefully, and things start to get better. It’s fun but brutally unforgiving at times, and not in a good way. But that’s enough of the ‘Wars’ part.
Everything you see in the game is completely and persistently destructible. The engine behind this is pretty spectacular, and it quickly helps you to overcome the initial shock at how volatile and deadly the world around you is. You can drill into meteorites to create hidden bases and defences, all the while managing resources like fuel, oxygen, and ammunition in real time. It gets pretty hectic when the bullets are flying and the intensity makes up for that initial nip to the bud of freedom.
This is of course a review of a game still in Beta, and there are a few fundamental things that will be worked on before the game goes fully public. I had a few initial misgivings about the movement and combat but it becomes much easier when you get used to measuring your freedom of movement with caution. For now, Miner Wars 2081 might warrant a look for the curious, and the building blocks of greatness are indeed present. If you like your action fast and furious, then look no further – it has a few flaws, but it’s early days yet, and all the foundations of an awesome game are here and waiting to be built upon.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.