A hyper-speed, twin-stick shooter with clever character evolution, Beacon is as fun as it is stylish.
Beacon, from Monothetic LLC, is a fast-paced rogue-like with a stylish visual manner and a whole bunch of clever ideas holding it together.
From icy-blue caves and glowing superstructures to craggy, egg-covered rocks, Beacon’s environments were what originally drew me over to its EGX booth. Once there, however, it was its easy to control nature that kept me there. I’m not very good at twin-stick shooters, you see, however Monothetic’s decision to replace a hero or class system with combat-led character updates was a winning choice.
As you fight your way through strange infected creatures, deadly robots or swarming insects, you collect the broken parts of your enemies. These in turn let you specialise between runs, bolting on things to improve your movement speed, rate of fire or much more. After four or five runs I’d become a melee maniac, dashing between enemies to deal massive damage — occasionally stopping to lob grenades at turrets or larger clumps of enemies. I later saw somebody playing as a heavily mutated character reminiscent of the bugs, a completely different playset — and while there are bonuses to building a whole set, players can mix-and-match at will.
It isn’t all combat, however. As you can likely see from the screenshots, the camera in Beacon is pulled back quite far. This is perfect, as a lot of the level components are fragmented when generated — requiring you to platform using jump pads, raising platforms and leaps of faith to move between the chunks of the level. The mechanical, futuristic factory areas were definitely my favourite, with angular edges and trap-filled container graveyards, but each setting type comes with its own challenges and traversal methods.
If you die, which you likely will, then play continues with you as a new clone. However, as time passes and as your character regenerates, your upgrades start to fade and weaken before expiring. It’s not too sudden, instead giving you a reason to experiment and keep spare parts with you.
Beacon is currently available in early access via Itch.io. It will be releasing on PC in 2019.