Is it too early to start tossing names in a hat for indie game of 2016? Early last month we began coverage of Blacksea Odyssey, and now the Alpha Access (click to signup) is finally here. If you did not sign up for alpha demo access, there’s no time like the present. I sat in front the development studio for two days with a megaphone. “Please let me play Blacksea Odyssey!” I clamored. Of course I was wearing my “Welcome to Miami” themed floral print tourist shirt and a Mickey Mouse cap, while I made a full blown spectacle of myself. I was quite surprised that they actually gave in to my demands – and after only one arrest for loitering. What’s so great about this game that I would subject myself to such fictional humiliation, besides enticing you to chuckle, you may ask? It’s an original concept, a Captain Ahab space simulator, and finding such unique gems is what makes fishing through hundreds of indie titles so fascinating. Watching this development team work on this game live on Twitch has raised my anticipation for the finished product. Not to mention, most warm blooded males have a subconscious need to spear a giant purple galactic troglodyte in the anus, and tear that dirty organ right off (or maybe that’s just me).
Fortunately, the alpha test has set off my indie sense (like “Spidey sense” but more video gamey) and it has confirmed what screenshots and the Twitch sessions have been showing; this game is indeed shaping up to be a clever and addicting roguelike. I was not anticipating that hunting down and battling these giant bosses to be so thrilling and time consuming. I felt compelled to patiently check out every corner and pocket of each procedural map for keys, treasures, and runes; the hopeful build up of needed items to take on these spectacular bosses is worth it. And yes, there is much joy in harpooning a giant screeching monstrosity in the ass and ripping off its left butt cheek.
Unfortunately it’s not all good news, there is only a limited portion of this game available in this alpha. When you finish the final available boss you are reminded that the game isn’t coming out until early 2016. I know, suicidal thoughts right? When the demo ends, you maybe overcome with the depressing urge to rip off all your clothes. Maybe even dropping down into a fetal position, thumb squarely lodged between your tongue and your palate. The thumping impact of the dead sea fishing net you start whipping yourself with, sends your salty teardrops bouncing in every direction. Its ok, everything is going to be alright, my intrepid space hunter. Don’t torture yourself too much, because there’s more Blacksea Odyssey coming, with more runes, titans, and more sinewy Old Man nipples.
There is a learning curve involved with Blacksea Odyssey, and that’s not a bad thing. The challenge involved is at the heart of what makes this game so addicting. These bosses evolve into awesome moving cities of death as you progress. Blacksea’s AI, especially for each boss, keeps each battle thrilling and exciting. Each end monster defends itself against your sharp spears and harpoon pulls, in their own specialized way. Some may spin around tossing crystal shards periodically to keep you away. Other bosses might speed off the screen, and just when you feel like you’re hunting it, only to notice it flanking you at full speed. Its giant deadly wings are slicing at your six meter long white ponytail, as you desperately try to escape.
Dying is not much of an option here. Like most true rogue-likes, Blacksea Odyssey believes in hardcore permadeath. With that fact hanging over your head, losing your hard earned runes, and power up items to a pissed off space kraken is nerve racking. Good runes are hard to come by, and they make a world of difference in combat. It becomes essential to study your prey, getting a hang of how to best approach it. When you do put it all together and tear apart a giant space Leviathan after a long lengthy battle, you can’t help but smile. It’s too bad that after all the trouble, you don’t have a chunk of space fish to mount on your wall.
This alpha does more than tease our appetites, it offers an opportunity for game fans to communicate with the developers. Letting them know of any glitches and improvements you would like to see. I would love to see a separate co-op campaign, taking down a giant city with a friend? Sign me up twice. Finally, check out our gameplay video, sign up for the alpha, and argh! slap Blacksea Odyssey in your Steam wishlist, the full game will feature more bosses, runes, and more themed procedural locations to get your much needed harpoon fix on.STEAM