The city walls were breached five days prior and now the survival of the citizens is entirely down to small squads of soldiers, fighting against the odds to recover resources and save survivors. Shardpunk: Verminfall is a modern, squad-based strategy title and we’ve been playing it.
Shardpunk: Verminfall cites both Darkest Dungeon and the modern XCOM games as its influences — good so far then. I’d definitely agree with the latter, as Shardpunk feels mechanically close to XCOM 2, specifically to the levels which revolve around The Lost: XCOM 2‘s freaky, sound-sensitive zombies.
Shardpunk: Verminfall‘s enemies are humanoid rats, and they’re INCREDIBLY sensitive to sound. The moment you start blasting off your guns or lobbing grenades around, you’ll find them crawling out of the city ruins. It is, of course, unavoidable. But, unlike in the case of The Lost, where you were frequently just tasked with getting away from them, there’s plenty of reasons to fully explore the Capitol. There are resources everywhere, ranging from medical equipment to equipment, not only that you can also find more of the cores that you’ll need in order to access the safe areas between levels — which is where you deal with a strategy layer.
Combat is also a familiar, action-point-led affair. You’ll be moving from cover to cover, watching ammo levels — or in this case, weapon heat — and blasting enemies as you try to creep your way through levels. Due to the overwhelming odds it does, at times, feel similar to Space Hulk and other Warhammer properties (maybe the humanoid rats help that too) — but the steampunk weapons and equipment feel like a welcome change.
There’s more to watch though, each character also has a sanity bar which you definitely need to keep an eye on. They’re also strapped up with traits, some positive and some negative. This adds a lot of character to each of the soldiers almost immediately, and I’m looking forward to seeing how characters can evolve as they persist through the story.
Shardpunk: Verminfall is going to be launching on PC when its done, for now you can play the alpha over on itch.io.