The idea of evolving from a single-cell organism into something a little more awesome was the catalyst which saw Spore rise to success (until all of that Galactic nonsense kicked in). The idea of a fast-paced competitive battles has long been a tasty morsel which brings players together from all corners of the world, both online and terrestrial, in MOBAs like League of Legends or DOTA 2. Surely then it’d be a good idea to take the two, put on some Barry White, light some candles, and wait for a suitable child of both to be born. Well it’s time to call the midwife, because BOID is on the way.
Traditionally Real Time Strategy games are 3D affairs where base building and obsessive micromanagement are key to success. Look into any forum associated with Starcraft 2 and you’ll find incredibly detailed guides. Should you take a cursory glance into twitch.tv at any time and you’re likely to find competitions streamed from around the world with people in the chat box talking about strange things like Zerg Rushes and Macros.
Now, for reasons such as these the wonderful world of competitive strategy titles is a little daunting to a new player. Complexity can be a terrifying thing when you don’t even know how to make different control groups. Luckily enough, the folks down at Mokus Games have been able to craft something that invites both long-toothed RTS fans and newcomers to the genre in BOID, which sees its release on Early Access this coming Thursday.
In BOID, you play as a Bio Organic Infestation Drone (hence the name) who is able to control primitive lifeforms on a planet you’ve crash landed on. Right that’s the story out of the way. BOID doesn’t need a riveting plot that sits you upon a narrative rollercoaster. Instead, it puts every ounce of strength behind a gameplay concept which is so infectious, the CDC should get it on their Steam Wishlist.
As stated before, BOID does away with the complicated nature of most strategy titles in favor of a streamlined experience. Each map only contains two elements; spawners and nodes. The first is a source of basic little organisms. Players start with one of these spawners of their own. There are usually several more scattered across the map along with nodes. Nodes are where the strategy aspect of this Real Time Strategy title comes into play.
A node in BOID will always have a small image in the center. This image represents what kind of creature your little gribbly cell-thing will turn into. The most common choices are the slow but strong defensive Crab, the quick and capable Scout, or the weak up close yet powerful at range Gun. In just these three there is a combat system which holds true throughout the whole of BOID. Ever played Rock, Paper, Scissors? Then you’ll get the gist of it.
Crabs are very slow and defensive but quickly fall to the ranged attacks of Guns, who themselves are extremely vulnerable to the speedy movement of Scouts. Scouts in turn fall quickly when faced with a strong line of Crabs. While 4 other unit types with self-explanatory names are present at this time (Bomb, Leech, Medic, and Venom) the success or failure of any battle in BOID will often come down to proper management of the initial 3 variants.
When you’re actually playing BOID, your pathway to victory is decided primarily by your skills of map domination, much like old-school FPS such as Quake or the MOBAs of recent times. At the very beginning, you have the option to send your spawner’s initial gaggle of cells to capture another spawner, or take on a specialized node. There are benefits and drawbacks to taking on either of these, and that’s the beauty of it. You’re in a constant state of a decision in games that will actually matter. A decision that isn’t even in a Telltale game, for crying out loud.
Hear that, games industry? It is possible to present players with important choices without the need for hours of narrative and quick time events.
Add to this an opponent who’s probably in exactly the same boat as you and bam, that’s BOID.
You’re going to be flitting across the map, trying to manage spawners and nodes correctly while fending off the attacks of enemies and preparing assaults of your own. You’re going to curse your own idiotic mind for not keeping close watch on the pathway you’ve just been attacked from. You’re going to literally scream with euphoric delight when you take control of an opponents spawners. Basically, you’re going to have fun.
This isn’t fun that takes hours, either. It’s quite easy to make a fresh pot of warm coffee, sit down and take out an opponent before that java has cool by any more than a degree. BOID streamlined tactical Real Time Strategy at its finest. Rarely in times gone by has such a simple gameplay system been knitted together so beautifully that your attention is grabbed from the moment you start playing, only to later infest your mind and keep ticking over with the best way to achieve success on any map.
If you’re a fan of Real Time Strategy in general, fast paced competitive arena titles, or just like making creatures evolve a la Spore, you’ll find a happy home in BOID.
The best bit? This game isn’t even freaking finished yet. The prospect of using the currently unavailable Map Editor and a single player campaign mode alone are worth looking out for.