Review – Antares

Ambitiously developed by a single person, Antares joins a line of titles such as Bright Memory, Iconoclasts and Infliction, that try to push what a solo developer can achieve. With that being said, there are some unfortunate issues here that seriously bring down the gameplay experience.

20200228234736_1

Antares makes good use of UE4 reflections, at the very least.

The first thing that’ll you notice is that the game initially looks pretty decent. Running on Unreal Engine 4, Antares throws every trick in the book at you, from decent looking reflections to particle effects. It does look a bit too clean at times, with the amount of reflections being thrown at you looking a bit overwhelming. Unfortunately, the praise stops there, as enemy designs are just plain bad and you will often see dozens of the same enemy model stumbling towards you with the exact same arm flailing animation perfectly in-sync. The game’s UI is also a tremendous mess. Just look at the pictures in this review and see it for yourself.

The overall sound design might be the best aspect of the entire game, but that doesn’t mean it’s much better in comparison. Weapon sounds are weak, whilst enemy sound effects get old really quick. There is some voice acting in the game, with an AI/Robotic filter over the top of it which is just passable. Overall, the sound design here is just very unremarkable: it’s not really any good but it won’t negatively impact the gameplay experience in any way. There’s a lot more elsewhere that will.

The basic gameplay is simple. You explore the Antares station to complete a variety of objectives and kill hordes of enemies. Within just an hour of gameplay, I was already bored of doing the same thing over and over again: walking into an area and getting swarmed by an overwhelming number of the same enemy type that just isn’t fun to fight. There doesn’t seem to be a limit on how many can spawn, and they can even spawn right behind you as you just enter the area. There’s not much else to it. A simple awkwardly controlled dash can get you out of harm’s way quickly, but it can be very jarring to use.

20200229235404_1

The enemies just look goofy.

You only have a single weapon in Antares, in the from of an assault rifle, and it just doesn’t feel fun to use, as it features no impact at all. Its one interesting mechanic is when Antares goes into a power cycle and the power gets shut off, things are supposed to get more dangerous and you should make less noise to stop attracting more enemies. Sadly, this is the only unique mechanic that Antares has going for. Everything else is just dull and reptitive.

With that being said, the worst “feature” in Antares, without a doubt, is its framerate. Even when you’re doing nothing but slowly rotating your camera, you will experience massive frame rate drops. I don’t consider myself to be bothered by slightly inconsistent frame rates but here you could be ranging anywhere between 20 – 120fps for no apparent reason. Not only does this make the game look horrifying (more than it already is), but it also makes it downright terrible to play. To make matters worse, there is no way (In-game at least) to enable v-sync or apply a frame rate cap which should make the harsh drops feel less brutal.

20200228144319_1

Yes… The HUD can get that cluttered.

If the huge frame rate drops don’t put you off while playing Antares, the repetitive enemy designs and overall boring gameplay loop will. There is some hidden potential for a good game in here, and some credit needs to be given to the fact that this has been developed by a single person, but considering its current massively underwhelming state, there’s no way I can recommend this to anyone.

Graphics: 3.5

Some good environmental design choices can’t make up for the awful enemy design, terrible UI, and even worse frame rate.

Gameplay: 2.0

Once you finally get used to the abysmal frame rate, you’ll notice that the overall gameplay loop isn’t much better either.

Sound: 4.5

Unremarkable sound design. It might be the best aspect in the game, but it’s still very underwhelming.

Fun Factor: 1.5

Some good ideas aren’t enough to save this game. Antares is riddled with technical issues and very boring gameplay.

Final Verdict: 2.0

Antares is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Antares was provided by the publisher.

Advertisements