Preview: The Superfluous

Prepare to save the world from an asteroid by killing various monsters with several different characters in The Superfluous!

The Superfluous is an upcoming PC game from Voided Pixel Studios. The developers worked on a few games for mobile devices, specifically Android, with games such as Tappy Flap Family. Now, however, they are stepping into the PC market.

The story takes place in the year 2121, and revolves around an asteroid that is half the size of the moon and on a collision course with Earth. Rather than panic, humanity stays apathetic when it’s revealed that the asteroid will not hit Earth for 1,000 years. However, there is one group that is concerned, causing the government to spend billions of dollars to send a spaceship to the asteroid. At this point, the plan is similar to Armageddon: plant an energy bomb and destroy it.

Of course, it’s not that easy. This asteroid contains life and dangerous environments.

Little of the story has been revealed, but what has been shown has quite a bit of humor. The intro wasn’t exactly wrong about humanity, simply saying, “It’s someone else’s problem.”

Gameplay revolves around a party of four characters that can be chosen from a roster of twelve. (Some characters feature recognizable names from sci-fi films, such as Ripley from the Alien franchise.) Each unit has different weapons and uses, such as using shotguns, pistols, machineguns, etc. They also have specialty moves, which can be utilized to help change the tide of things -- from something small as summoning a health power-up, to launching rockets or slamming the ground. As a single-player, you can switch between these four units at any time -- though once a unit is gone, they are gone for the entire stage.

Levels are not simple side-scrollers. Rather, you must traverse a fairly large area filled with dangerous enemies. Even the environment can be dangerous, filled with poisonous plants, or even spikes on the ceiling. Thankfully, you are very mobile, able to use a jetpack, and to shoot in almost any direction through the use of three firing buttons. It did take a while to get used to, since at first you may run in one direction, expecting to shoot that way, only to shoot the other way, but it was easy to get around.

Due to the size of the environments, you also have units that can throw teleporters to escape intact, or use a shovel to dig through the area and get around traps or enemies. Of course, this could have the opposite effect too, so planning is needed, especially when it is very easy to connect two areas filled with enemies.

The overall goal in these levels -- aside from killing foes and avoiding death -- is to mainly find treasure and power-ups. Even digging around the area can help find more power-ups, such as more health.

Unfortunately, the game suffers from the lack of music, or at the very least, noticeable music. It was certainly something that felt absent in the game. Although this could just be because the game is just a demo. Another gripe I had was differentiating the enemy and the environment. They can often blend in almost too well. This wouldn’t be so bad if it were just certain types of creatures, but almost all of them can do this unless they are specifically bright, leading to getting ambushed. Hopefully the developers will improve on these aspects after some feedback from the demo.

The Superfluous still has their Kickstarter open for less than two weeks to meet any extra stretch goals. It's set for release on December 2016 on PC and Steam Early Access in August 2016. For more information on The Superfluous, or to try out the demo, you can check out the website here.

Published Jul. 18th 2016
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