by Derk Bil
previewed on PC
A new apocalypse
Good news everyone, there’s a new and exciting apocalypse coming our way! This time around, the game to give its vision of our bleak future is called Skyshine’s Bedlam. It’s all fun an games though - your goal is to get out of the overcrowded mega city of Bysantine, through Bedlam, to finally end up in the supposed utopia that is Aztec City.
Bedlam is a large and very dangerous wasteland. Marauders, rogue AI, mutants and cyborgs threaten to shorten the lives of anyone attempting to pass through. It’s the perfect setting for this new roguelike in which you assume the role of The Mechanic, the commander of a Dozer - which is nothing short of a mobile fortress - attempting to make it through Bedlam. On your journey you’ll be tasked with managing the well-being of your dozer and its occupants. A handful of mercenaries are coming along for the ride. These are the guys and gals who will do the fighting, under your expert guidance of course.
The similarities with Banner Saga, from which the engine was borrowed are, despite the radically different setting, very striking. You’ll get the first hint that the two titles related when you see the style of the artwork, the second are the checkered battlefields. Yet by no means is this a dystopian sci-fi version of Banner Saga. There are way too many twists for that. Unlike most turn-based games, Bedlam doesn’t cycle through the characters on the field. Instead, you and the AI each take a turn, applying two actions to whichever character you choose.
The mercenaries that you bring have a potpourri of skills and abilities. You have tank-like melee characters that are sturdy and can take a few hits. You’ll likely bring more of the gun-wielding kind though. Some will carry shotguns that can knock back whatever they shoot at, have limited range but good health to compensate. On the other end of the spectrum we’ll find the guys with the rifles, who have lousy health but get awesome range in return. Lastly, there’s a group that sits somewhere in between - these guys use pistols and are very effective as long as you keep them behind your front line defenders. There are some light RPG elements that help keep things interesting - mercenaries will accumulate experience based on their performance in battle which furthers their abilities.
The battlefields you’ll fight on will be littered with a hodgepodge of objects. Some do little more than provide cover and there for you to hide behind. Others can be recovered and provide you with resources to keep your rig rolling, including ‘surprise’ packages that will either give you double the resources or blast and a punch in the face. Literally. But let’s not forget the enemy - each has a very distinct fighting style and you will have to adjust your own style. Dealing with tech-savvy Rogue AI will require a very different approach than fighting the more primal Marauders.
Just around the corner
If all that sounds as strangely appealing to you as it does to me, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer to satisfy your curiosity. The journey to the promised land cannot start for another month or so - Skyshine’s Bedlam will be out by the end of September.