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BOID: Basic Life Form Strategy

Company: tinyBuild Games

With some rare exceptions, real-time strategy games havenít evolved much in the last few years. Some games have mixed up parts of the formula a bit, but for the most part, theyíve stuck to the tried and true models like resource management or small squad tactics. BOID (short for Bio Organic Infestation Drone), the latest from Contre Jour developer Mokus Games, is a departure from the norm, breaking the RTS genre down to its core essentials, only to build up the elements that are core to the genre.

There really isnít much in the way of story behind BOID other than youíre playing as a life form that has crashed on a planet. Your only goal is to take over other organisms intent on becoming the ecosystemís dominant life form. The simple premise offers a lot of freedom in terms of presentation, and Mokus Games has taken full advantage of the opportunity. Similar to Contre Jour, BOID makes a striking first impression. Units are simple, glowing entities set against dark backgrounds. Visuals arenít just for looks; it is very easy to tell how many and what types of units are at your disposal.

The clean visuals allow for faster-than-normal RTS gameplay. Each player starts with one Spawner, which acts as your home base, constantly producing units used to take over other Spawners or Class bases. There are numerous Spawners scattered throughout the labyrinthine maps. Spawners are your only method of obtaining new units, so controlling them is key to victory. Capturing Class bases gives you access to eight special classes, offering tactical advantages for capturing new bases. Each of the eight classes offers drastically different abilities. Gun, for example, has a ranged attack while Crab is a powerful tank.

Matches are meant to play out fast Ė like nothing by Zergling and Marines in a Starcraft match fast. Typically, you start with one Spawner and rush to the nearest neutral base. Once captured, you can use the new swarm of Basic BOID or your upgraded BOID to take over nearby bases. One of the more unique aspects of BOID is the amount of control you have over swarms. To select a group, you just need to select the group and click on the base you want them to attack. Units will travel to the selected point, stopping only if they encounter enemy units. Battles between Basic usually come down to which side has the superior numbers, while adding special classes can shift the odds in your favor.

The lack of complicated controls is another of BOIDís selling points. It is easy to understand the flow of matches after the tutorial, but like any good game, youíll find the simplicity opens the game up to deeper strategic play. Since youíre not worrying about resource management or making sure you have just the right balance of units, you can focus on larger strategies.

One of the few downsides to the BOID preview build is the lack of opponents. Although gameplay versus A.I.-controlled bots is available, the real fun comes when facing human opponents. Currently, finding opponents is hit-and-miss, depending mostly on the time of day youíre trying to play. But, as the beta expands Iíd expect this to become less of a problem.

Although it lacks the usual trappings associated with your typical RTS, BOID should find its way on to the radars of fans. To check out gameplay footage or sign up for the beta, check out the official site.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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