One Nick Smart, Developer of From The Depths, has been quite the busy bee. In the time since my last article on his efforts, he’s gotten up to version 1.09 with his new creation, with another on the horizon. With that in mind, I decided the game was due for a more thorough looking-into.
The game has much more detailed instructions, with explanations of controls and the different blocks in the main menu. More options, including mouse movement speed, have also been added, which I really appreciate. I had discovered in my time playing the earlier versions that precision aiming was tricky with the default mouse speed, but the control options and binoculars item seem to have addressed that, so good. Oh, and a screenshot button, which allowed me to easily capture these images you’re seeing. *Note- notched down the quality to stay within my storage limitations, so don’t hate on the game for my issues*
The tutorials, which I probably should have mentioned before, have been improved somewhat, showing a checklist for players to follow to get an understanding of how to operate the craft they will hopefully be building over the course of the game. The starting information given in a new game is also good, explaining the role of your starting fortress as a resource collection platform, and the need to keep it afloat with a powerful engine and turbines that use the resources it collects. You still have to figure out where to go from there, though.
Ideally, your next step is to build a vehicle and visit another tile in the grid that makes up the game world. This done by hitting ‘M’, selecting the tile you wish to visit, and what vehicles you’ll be bringing along for the ride. If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble across another resource zone, where you can set up another fortress to get more resources to put towards better vehicles.
The forum regulars have made some impressive creations, but I’m still trying to reach that level of building expertise. Thus, you won’t be seeing any magnificent battleships built by me on this post, but you will get to see some decent AI ones… being blown to pieces by my little boat that took 5 minutes. Speaking of which, the combat is something I seriously neglected in my last mention of the game… in spite of mentioning how I should see if the game was delivering the enjoyable combat it promised.
So I sailed off to battle and promptly took a cannonball to the face, as I sat in a chair on the top of the ship, completely unprotected. Oh, that might be why the developer put in glass blocks and the ability to set the camera back from the ship you’re using, eh? Initial combat was clumsy, but it was the fault of my design, rather than the game itself. Once I had a ship that was stable enough to hit full throttle without capsizing, I managed a measure of success against the starting enemies. Though, part of that is torpedoes being a more effective than… everything else in the ‘Simple Weapons’ category.
The first few ships I fought weren’t much of a threat, being as reliant on the simple weapons as I was, and not having been built with torpedo launchers. Minus that unlucky shot to the face on my first attempt, the enemy achieved only glancing hits against the hull. That changed when I got to the first ship with a custom built cannon, which was stronger, longer ranged, more accurate and… it’s better, okay? Custom built weapons are just better. Anyway, the ship did a good job attacking until I got behind it. I guess the AI doesn’t understand that it can use reverse. After that, one lucky salvo blew the entire back end of the ship off, on account of that’s where all the ammo barrels were.
This wave of relatively easy victories was only broken by the first appearance of an enemy galleon, which quickly proved that even the basic weapons can be effective if you build 30 of them. Ultimately, I’m impressed with the gameplay so far. The enemies in the first map territory aren’t very dangerous, but that’s to be expected. At some point, I shall get to the later areas and see if the opponents there are more threatening, but I believe the AI has something to do with it. That aspect of the game, along with most others, only seems to be improving as time goes on. In other news, the game was just Greenlit on Steam, so I can only see this trend continuing as more players find and contribute to this title.
As before, you can find a link to the game site below. Donating $10 will get you access to these nifty early builds I keep talking about.