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BOID

Score: 90%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: tinyBuild Games
Developer: Mokus
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Online)
Genre: Real-Time Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

BOID (short for Bio Organic Infestation Drone) strips RTS mechanics to their very core. You have units, territorial acquisition, and a familiar "Rock-Paper-Scissors" combat model. There are no resources or unit formations to nitpick over, nor do you have to spend much time figuring out an optimal base setup. Even without these pieces, BOID still provides a surprisingly solid RTS experience.

Visually, BOID has an incredibly clean, flat look that is suggestive of what to expect from the gameplay. Units are simple and iconic, making it very easy to quickly tell what type of unit you are looking at, allowing you more response time when planning your strategy. The flat units are even more striking against the high-res, more detailed backgrounds found on each map. I especially like how the glow coming from both units and bases illuminate the walls of the dark, labyrinth-like maps. The glow of the opposing side is a helpful, quick-look indicator that your territory is under attack.

The look is enhanced by a smooth, almost minimalist soundtrack that helps push the presentation even further.


Gameplay:

BOID follows a premise as simple as its gameplay. A spaceship crashes on an ocean planet, scattering its cargo of drones. Soon after, the drones infect the local wildlife, mutating them. Eventually, the newly-formed organics "go to war" with each other in order to establish dominance.

The story is just window dressing, setting up the one-on-one matches that make up BOID. At the start of each match, you begin with a single base, called a Spawner. True to its name, the Spawner pumps out basic units you then use to infect nearby bases. These include other Spawners, giving you even more basic units to work with, as well as specialized bases used to produce other units. Specialized units fill in the usual RTS unit slots. There are fast, but weak scout units; slow, but heavy units; and ranged fighters.

The only objective is to beat your opponent by capturing all of their Spawners. Both single-player and online multiplayer is available.


Difficulty:

Despite its basic approach to playstyle, matches still provide enough depth to remain interesting and challenging. Beyond the first few tutorial matches, BOID will challenge you to think about your approach. My initial strategy was to just capture bases as quickly as possible, not paying attention to defense. Even on Easy, the A.I. was quick to pick up on my strategic blunder and quickly capitalize using some very sneaky strategies.

Bumping up the difficulty and adding even more advanced units, like healers and units that could teleport, bumped the challenge up even further. Not to say I couldnít win, but I really had to think during some matches. Online matches proved even more of a challenge. Although the community seems rather small, the players are dedicated and can quickly eliminate you if you arenít careful.


Game Mechanics:

Keeping with the theme of "simple," it wonít take very long to figure out what youíre doing. Nearly everything you need to do requires a mouse click. To direct your units, you select a group (using drag selection), then click on the base you want them to attack. You donít have to worry about formations, though you will want to think about group composition. While the game seems to encourage attacking a base with the unit type it is weak to, the A.I. (and human opponents) are good at keeping a variety of swarms around, and single unit groups are not a good choice in later battles.

Combat is, for the most part, completely automated. Units will attack any nearby enemy unit, even if they are outmatched. Though this does require a fair amount of babysitting, keeping up with every unit and every base is a challenge Ė especially since the camera stays close in. On the plus side, units repopulate in Swarmers quickly, so youíre rarely without some units, even if they are basic ones. Usually, the best strategy isnít complete dominance (though superior numbers help), but rather figuring out which special units give you the greater advantage when capturing enemy Swarmers.

BOID is simple and a bit basic, but in a good way. What it lacks in options it makes up for in strategic depth. If youíre the type of player who needs extras like unit upgrades, resource micro-management, and other RTS features, BOID may not be as satisfying an experience. Players interested in pure strategy, on the other hand, should add BOID to their Steam collection pronto.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Minimum System Requirements:



OS: Windows 7 and up; Processor: 1Ghz and up; Memory: 1024 MB RAM; DirectX: Version 9.0c; Hard Drive: 200MB
 

Test System:



OS: Windows 8.1; Processor: Intel Core i7 2.2Ghz; Memory: 8GB; DirectX: 9.0c; Hard Drive: 500 GB

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