For Your Eyes Only
A large facet of current indie gaming is built around nostalgia aesthetic. 8 or 16 bit visuals and ramped up difficulty. Practically speaking, it makes sense. The side-scrolling era that many current devs grew up on is the easiest to replicate with a limited skillset while you grow as a creator. It also gives you the most room to max out out game potential without having to devote limited resources to visuals. Screencheat looks to capitalize on another aspect of gaming nostalgia that is currently ignored; couch multiplayer. More specifically, replicating how someone would play even if the others aren’t in the room.
Developer Samurai Punk wants to bring you back to the golden age of couch gaming. When Goldeneye reigned supreme, and the only thing worse than proximity mines was someone screen watching. The most underhanded but totally expected element of couch gaming. There was no real way to stop it, so a small truce would come into most game sessions. A gentlemen’s agreement of sorts. Screencheat spits in the face of that agreement, by not only encouraging you to watch your opponents screen, but making it the only way for you to find them.
In Screencheat, your opponents are completely invisible. The only visual cues you’ll receive from them are their bullet trails. Or fire trails….or electric bolts. It’s a veritable “if you’re reading this, it’s too late” situation. To effectively defend yourself, and take out the enemy, you have to watch their screens, using the vividly and distinctly colored sections of the map. Memorization is key, but so is limiting your hip fire. Shooting wildly does nothing but tip the others off to your location.
In my time with Screencheat at PAX South, the game played fluidly enough, and the vast array of weapons kept things interesting. I had to tap into an old bag of tricks that i’d left in the attic of my childhood in order to keep up with the other players. Eventually it just became a matter of mapping out my route and trying not to look at anything too distinct. Deception became the winning tactic. It brought back memories of gaming past, and tapped into a nostalgic corner of the mind that is ignored by newer indie games.
Screencheat is currently available on Steam, but is on its way to both PS4 and Xbox One. And don’t worry, there’s only multiplayer as well, so even if you can’t get your friends over, you can still cheat to your hearts content. Keep your eye out for it, and for more from PAX South, keep it here at The Structure Network.