Price as of Writing: $14.99
BossConstructor is a top down physics based shooter where you build your ship using the modules in the game. The game is being developed by a singular developer, Mirko Seithe. The current game is filled to the brim with content, over 60 modules, several game modes, and a ship editor. The current game modes are Exploration, Skirmish, Wave Survival, and Random Skirmish. In Exploration, you start with one of several basic ships or a ship you create in the main menu ship editor that fits the criteria. Your goal is to fight your way from one end of a galaxy to the other, mining resources, buying from shops, and fighting bosses along the way. You gain more modules to add to your ship through combat and through the store, those modules will vary in effectiveness based on prefixes assigned to them and how much you bought them for. Skirmish and Random Skirmish are where you chose a ship and battle a predetermined or random number and type of ships. Wave Survival is fairly self explanatory, you fight waves of enemies until you are destroyed. There is a passive game mode called Evolution that has 3 sub-modes, Ship Evolution, AI Battle, and Evolution Pool. Ship Evolution where you chose a base design and it creates anywhere from 15-100 variations that are then battle simulated. The winner of each generation can be added to your hangar as a ship that you can use in other modes. AI-Battle pits 2 AI factions of 8 ships against each other. Finally, there is Evolution Pool, which allows you to watch a smaller portion of ships fight in real time and it allows you to spawn in as the selected template to participate in the fight.
There are just over 60 modules, not including all the variations between different qualities and traits. There are blasters, missile launchers, mine layers, armor, and others tools at your disposal. You can build a ship that is just a wall of guns or you can build a flying battering ram. Your ship designs are limited to a 14×14 square, but you are able to increase that in the setting files outside of the game.
For most of development, you would control your ships with a standard Keyboard and Mouse, but, as of a few updates ago, you can use your mouse and controllers to control your ship. With the keyboard, the game uses the arrow keys for direction and you can use whatever keys you want for the weapons and utilities, but it defaults to WASD.
Combat is pretty standard, you have to account for inertia and rotation, much like the classic game Asteroids, and you must have thrusters on facing away from a direction to move that direction. Inertia and Rotation does eventually reach 0, but it is enough of a delay that the mechanic is meaningful in combat. You can turn and move with only rear facing thrusters, but turning will also push you forward. The AI can be very dumb at times, pushing against asteroids and shooting their allies, but for the most part they are challenging enough to enjoy. The game offers a large variety of settings that allow you to optimize performance to your machine.
The graphics, while a somewhat simple looking art style, are very clean and easy to understand. Each module has a very clear sprite that tells you what it is and what direction it is facing. The game, is fairly well optimized, as long as you keep the particles settings down on lower end machines
The gameplay is great, if you are interested in physics based games. I believe there are things that do need to be added, but the core gameplay is there and very playable.
The AI is one of the weaker parts of the game. It can be less than intelligent in combat, but other parts of AI, like the Evolution game modes are very well thought out and well structured.
There is a lot of content for you to dig into for the price. While 60 modules may not include exactly what you are looking for, there is enough variation for you to create a unique ship and the game is still being developed, with an estimation of 80 modules at release.
There really is not much setting in the game currently, besides space, but this game does not necessarily need a defined story setting for the mechanics and gameplay to work well.
The module sound effects, like weapons and engines, can be very repetitive to listen to, but the soundtrack is great to listen to and helps you tune out the repetitive sound effects.
Mirko Siethe maintains a detailed roadmap and puts out regular updates. He also hosts live coding sessions on his YouTube Channel where you can watch him create content that will be released in the next updates. In-Game, there are regular polls where he asks for community feedback on what should be added next and what should be focused on. The dates for the last 5 updates are 11/17/15, 11/08/15, 10/26/15, 10/17/15, and 10/15/15.
BossConstructor is very much worth $14.99 in its current state. The developer is very driven towards creating a great product and much of the core components are present and properly balanced. The developer has also shown a great ability to listen to community suggestions and implement them in a meaningful manner.
|OS||Windows, Mac, Linux|
|Rating on Steam||98%|
Disclaimers: I DID NOT receive a key from the developers. This review is based on the build published on 11/17/15.