Beacon takes the roguelite formula and slaps it onto a top-down shooter. In order to find your ship’s missing beacon and find your way home, you must fight your way through an alien, futuristic landscape where death defines your genetics.
Beacon, from Monothetic LLC, begins as you have crash-landed on an alien planet in your escape pod. Scattered about you, and seemingly dotting the landscape as far as you can see, is what remains from the wreckage of your ship. Your only suggested mission is to find your way to your ship’s beacon, but there are tons of enemies and obstacles in your way. Thankfully, you have a huge arsenal at your disposal that you can pick up to help you. Hopefully this planet doesn’t have rules about littering, because the bodies are about to hit the floor.
As you begin to explore the randomly generated landscapes, you’ll find that there are two guaranteed constants: the enemies are merciless and your death is inevitable. Each of the more than fifty different types of enemies has a secret hiding within them — their DNA. It’s up to you to fire away at them until they expose that ‘Tootsie Roll center’, spilling out their biometrics, ready for the reaping. Your death is a blessing in disguise, you’ll find, as that’s the only way to use the DNA gained from those enemies to your advantage.
One you die, you will respawn at a clone bay. In order to use the latest and greatest version of yourself, you will need to print your clone with the upgrades and mutations from those fallen foes. Each of the enemy factions have their own types of DNA mutations and such, so there’s plenty to experiment with in order to find the best you that you can be.
The graphics in Beacon have a neon, Tron-adjacent aesthetic. Lots of flashes, bloom and lighting effects round out the package, making this top-down shooter a visual feast of delightful explosions and lush, detailed low-poly environments. The drone of the soft ambient music gives an appropriate soundscape to each environment as well, furthering the feel of being abandoned on a derelict planet.
Being in Early Access, Beacon is in pretty good shape. I only came across some platforming-related bugs every once in awhile and everything from the character to the details of the random objects scattered around the land is polished and detailed. Each item and weapon has its own detailed description and I have no complaints about the frantic action, delivered by and to the challenging enemies.
The game is fun, the subject-matter is interesting, and it seems like a mostly finished project already. I’m anxious to see what else they can add to this futuristic shooter in the future.