Subterrain: Mines of Titan – Demo Impressions

Subterrain: Mines of Titan is an turn-based tactical RPG set on the moon of Titan, and it’s made by the dev-team Pixellore Inc. My initial impression from the demo is that it’s very similar to Stoneshard, everything from the visual style, to general gameplay and survival mechanics – like having to eat and drink. Personally, I wouldn’t say this a bad thing, because both games look fantastic with great pixel-art. It looks very soothing for the eyes, especially with the awesome lighting system that helps setting the mood and graphical richness. Yeah, I’m a sucker for this kind of visuals.

The game starts with you waking up from stasis in a dinky medical station on the moon of Titan. The medical team nearby tells you have been asleep for several years, and your condition is as confusing to you as to them. Slowly, you are presented with the conditions of the mining base, and stuff isn’t looking good. Everything is in disrepair, and there is a mystery that needs solving with a vanished colony – the colony you were part of. And so far, you have been the only one recovered.

The mysterious “demo” strikes again!

A very good start I would have to say with snappy dialogue hurrying you along, overall, the mystery had me hooked. The whole thing had a feeling of Total Recall, mixed with Doom 3 – a pretty darn good mix. What is interesting here, and I’m not sure if part of the demo, or this is how it will be in the full release – and that is that you are playing a set character by the name of Addison Thorpe. The dialogue and story progression seems fairly linear as well, with not many choices to be made. I don’t mind it too much, but it does lower the RPG value a bit, but at the same time it does gets easier to tell a good story with an established character.

Gridbased inventory… mmmm

Mechanic wise, the game is in turn-based mode, so the game only moves when you do. Don’t fret, though, from what I played the small base you inhabit felt very much alive with NPCs moving around and such. Combat is as simple as clicking on the enemy you want to kill, which gets a bit more advanced with unlockable perks that get added as active skills during combat. You get to pick themselves of course, and they depend on usage, and amount of perk points you have unlocked. You gain experience by using, instead of allocating stat points – a system I think fits this kind of game perfectly.

As mentioned Subterrain: Mines of Titan also have survival mechanics that has you scavenge for food and drink, you will also have to rent a room for a bed to rest in. Lots of interesting things to juggle, and if you don’t manage your needs, you get hit by all kind of penalties. But as it is, there is more than one way to alleviate negative effects. It seems to work fine in the demo, and not overbearing like in some games, which has you eating food every second minute to survive.

Death for you, 5 XP for me!

There is also a fairly big crafting apparatus, which means you will have to collect all kind of weird broken items like a crazed hobo if you want to use this system. I’m not sure how necessary it will be in the full game, but it seems a lot of important products will have to be made through this. I have nothing against it per se, but stuff can quickly go out of hand when there is too much junk to collect. I mostly ignored this in the demo, since all the stuff I used in the demo could be found, or bought.

All in all, the demo impressed me. It looks good, seems to have a good story, and the setting is perfect – creepy moon of Titan, what is not to like? I recommend giving it a try, it isn’t too long, well-polished and fun. I personally can’t wait for the full release, which probably is a few years away, unfortunately. And not to forget, the music is very atmospheric, it reminds me a lot of the music from Aliens.

Thanks for reading.

/Thomas

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