Set in a futuristic neon lit cyberpunk city, Satellite Reign is a Syndicate inspired top down RTS game from 5 Lives studios. A Kickstarter project that smashed its target of £350k, at the time of writing it is currently in a Pre Alpha build. The game starts with the basic of tutorials, move, run and gun before allowing you free movement within this blazing yet rain soaked atmospheric metropolis. It is stated that the current build does not have a playable tutorial, I feel maybe a step by step introduction into a mission or 3 to gently guide you into things would help draw you into the basic game mechanics and I’m sure this will be included as development progresses.
You take control of 4 cyborg agents each with different abilities, a hacker who can access door panels and also temporarily knock out the big brother style CCTV.
The support agent can send out a world scan, which in a matrix style changes the view green and highlights objects or persons of interest and the agent can also heal your squad mates. The soldier deals out the pain and causes the most head on damage when plan A fails.
Finally the Infiltrator is the stealthily operative. These 4 agents can be levelled up with skills, which should make you life easier as well as opening up new ways to go about your business. Satellite Reign is a single player game, in the future I would love to see a 4 player co-op version with a friend controlling each of the agents.
Graphically the game is there, from the rain detail to the billowing steam effects and the beautifully bright signs and street lighting. The music is also full of deep bass and the thunder and rain effects add to the thick atmosphere and compliments and matches the view.
Mission control on the main menu lists the jobs available to you, giving detailed background to what is required, and an opportunity to purchase intel from either a bent enforcement officer or other shady characters who are in the know. Everything is for sale in the Downtown District. You start with a $1,000 which can also be used to scan locals for further information (which is currently a work in progress) as well as purchase weapons.
On starting one of the currently limited missions you can activate a ping, which sets off a tracker to direct you to your objective. Once in this location of interest, personally I found it tricky to evade or stealth my way past either the security cameras or guards, which then set off the alarms and the inevitable firefight (which then included enemy reinforcements). You can position yourself behind cover to increase your chances of survival and provides a defensive bonus against the enemy fire, however sometimes the positioning of my units felt clumsy and they didn’t always hold their position to where I had intended. There are relay beacons hidden around the city, interacting with these provide spawn points so your character will return at the closest relay beacon after they’ve died. Although I have found these missions challenging and frustrating there is an amount of satisfaction when something goes right, or using tactics and a bit of thought has turned a bad situation around.
If you’re a general fan of Sci-Fi, the original Syndicate back from ‘93, Deus EX or the film Bladerunner then you should be keeping a close eye on Satellite Reign, it’s full of potential and it’s got a solid foundation to build upon. Fans of this genre will also be pleased to know hover cars are in attendance, zooming and humming around the streets along with security drones; which I assume in this future do not provide you with 1 hour prime Amazon deliveries.
There has been a recent update 0.4 released which has doubled the size of the game area, the Industrial district has been added to complement the Downtown zone, which has it’s own set of corporations bossing the streets.
In its current state consider it a starter of seared scallops with leeks & lemon chilli butter, before your Sunday Roast, a topside of Somerset beef, which is currently on a slow cook. It isn’t ready just yet, but when it’s fully cooked prepare to crack open a bottle of red and enjoy this beautifully lit open world feast.
Satellite Reign is available on PC and is currently priced at £22.99.