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Indie Game To Watch - Habitat
by Jeff Cork on Mar 18, 2014 at 08:00 PM

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Platform PC
Publisher 4gency
Developer 4gency

Habitat is one of the weirder games that was on display at Microsoft’s ID@Xbox Games Showcase. It’s set in the distant future, where nanomachines are devouring Earth. In one last, desperate play, humanity launches junk of all types into orbit so engineers can build space stations. Players take command of a team of those engineers and construct habitable environments for fleeing humans.

The demo I saw was essentially a sandbox environment, with just a few of the basic mechanics filled in. Even in its early stages, though I see a lot of potential in the game. The stakes may be high for the characters in the game, but there’s a wry sense of humor that governs everything; some of the junk the people have sent skyward include the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty’s head. Players send their engineers from their home module to retrieve the junk. Once they’ve gotten ahold of the item and positioned it correctly, you can move it onto your base and connect it like a Lego brick. Some objects, like asteroid fragments, have terminal points, while others will allow you to chain them to your station in increasingly bizarre shapes.

Players will also have to contend with hostile entities in space, too, as if things weren’t bleak enough. You can fire missiles at foes, or sling objects toward them. In a move that reminded me of the old N64 game Blast Corps, 4gency founder Charles Cox secured an asteroid chunk on the rear section of his station and pulled a quick turn – transforming it into a makeshift battering ram.

Your goal is to ultimately create environments that contain enough oxygen, food, and electricity to sustain Earth refugees. That means you’ll have to be smart about what you collect and where you put things on your ship. Those elements weren’t in place during my demo, but Cox told me that he looked to games like Spaceward Ho! and XCOM as inspirations – not bad places to start.

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