Block by block, brick by brick, that’s the way the strategy game Cataclismo, showcased at Steam Next Fest, wants you to think. As waves of monstrous entities referred to as "Horrors" hurl themselves at your stronghold every evening, you are the architect behind the defenses holding them back. As is typical of most real-time strategy (RTS) games, the fundamental premise is of building robust fortifications to repel invaders. However, what sets Cataclismo apart is its unique approach to offering unfettered control over your defenses, quite reminiscent of constructing with Lego. This is an unexpected but fascinating intersection of imagination and strategy.
Contrary to classic RTS games that would just allow the player to click and erect sizable stone defenses between themselves and the enemy, Cataclismo encourages the players to place every single block with conscious consideration. The higher and more fortified your walls, the more determined your enemies grow, creating the need for truly impenetrable fortresses.
While this may seem elementary in the initial stages, the strategy swings into effect in the later waves. For instance, your archers might be standing atop a formidable wall, but a well-placed blow from the Horrors could cause the whole structure to collapse, resulting in your soldiers falling right into the belly of the beast. Consequently, this calls for a meticulously planned network of wooden balustrades behind your central wall that can enable archers to maneuver more freely – thereby uncovering the true potential of the game’s Lego-like toolset.
Another intriguing aspect of Cataclismo is its application of resources. Yes, you have your primary defenses, but you could also place additional barriers to further block the path of the Horrors, buying a few extra moments for your archers. This tactical approach, although not groundbreaking, is an interesting way of utilizing the Lego-esque toolset that Cataclismo offers.
The world of Cataclismo however, does not just limit itself to building. There are interesting concepts tied within its apocalyptic setting. Its world is enveloped by a mysterious 'Mist', requiring you to pump out additional oxygen to maintain your settlement. Usage of this resource is mandatory for creating buildings and training new units. In an interesting cyclical setup, the oxygen purifiers, the higher they're placed, produce more breathable air and can be placed atop pre-existing infrastructures.
Despite all these promising features, the full depth of Cataclismo is yet unrevealed. What I've touched on only provides a tantalizing glimpse of the game’s potential reach when it comes to building and unit types. The full-fledged settlement, equipped with a variety of building options, will only reveal the true mettle of this Lego-style creative system. Due for release next summer by Digital Sun, the developers of the popular indie game Moonlighter, Cataclismo has already racked up nearly two-thirds of its goal a day after launching on Kickstarter.
Looking at its innovative promise, Cataclismo definitely warrants keeping an eye out for its future progress. Gamers can anticipate with bated breath what more building options and enemies may be added to this intriguing blend of imagination and strategy. For those intrigued, this game, as well as other promising demos, are available for a sneak peek this week at Steam Next Fest.
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