We’re looking at our own face. We’re maneuvering a little green spaceship against the backdrop of our own face. With every laser fire, the image relayed to the game from the webcam flares with red. As we weld parts to our chassis, our face bleaches with arc lightning. It’s a cosmetic, optional effect, but another cute touch in a smart top-down shooter.
Captain Successor is the bastard child of Spore’s Cell stage and Robot Wars, in space. It’s Web-based. You start with a ‘command module’, then attach weapons, defenses and thrusters to this vulnerable core. Where do you get them? You find them floating in space, attached to space assholes. Kill the assholes, loot the debris. Your goal is to kit yourself out with bits of vanquished enemies.
You can build whatever shape you want and attach any item to any surface, but the catalogue of gadgetry you’ll encounter is what makes it exciting. It seems like there’s an unending supply of weapons. Every five minutes, you’ll encounter something bigger, more powerful or stranger than anything before.
Better yet, your introduction to a particular component is always when you encounter some pirate using it against you. The decision you’re always forced to make is: “Do I want to destroy his awesome engines to stop him, or do I want his engines for myself once I’m done?” The combat is about position, like the ship-to-ship battles in Empire: Total War. You need to circle faster than he does and punch through to his core.
The space thugs come in a great many configurations, from ships to stations. Some enemies spin at you. Some boast guns and engines on all sides. Some will ram you. Some are so advanced that you’ll flee for your life. Space stations can’t move, but are often bristling with guns so you must plan your approach carefully if you want to destroy the core and start welding things to your bulk. Then a raider will swoop in, sleek and trim, with one or two cannons that make mincemeat of your new toys. When your ship perishes, the command module destroys everything on screen and goes dark. After a moment, the lights flicker on and you’re back to square one.
Captain Successor won’t stay fun forever, but we’ve yet to tire of it. It’s worth the measly access price.
Dec 17, 2009