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Simply an extraordinary game, with some very minor flaws grants this game a 9/10. Also it almost costs nothing, so get it!

Receiver; what I thunked about it (...yes, I really did mean to say thunked).

Story

Trying to describe the story of this game is like explaining to a child that sweets are yummy--it's really easy and really simple.

But just like a sweet, that does not mean it's bad. No... on the contrary it's great.

The story follows on from an event called the Mindkill. By the sounds of it The Mindkill an event where the media has brainwashed everyone, and then somehow everyone has died due to it. I have not actually managed to find all the tapes, so I do not have the full story (more on the tapes in the next paragraph).

Only not everyone has been killed. You play as an unnamed character who survived The Mindkill.

How is the story delivered?

Well as I hinted earlier: the backstory is delivered in pieces via tapes. Every time you pick up a tape you will be given a bit more of the story. There are 11 tapes in total, and I have only found 3 in a single play through... not good.

This, for those young folks who don't remember CD's, is what a cassette tape looks like. We used to wind them with pencils back in the day. Don't believe me? Ask your parents. 

How does the story make you feel?

That is a good question! Wait you didn't ask a question? Well, I will tell you anyway.

The story makes me feel.

What? Expecting more? Well, I won't spoil it for you because that's half the fun, but the underlying story, as I said before, is rather creepy. Even the way the narrator speaks makes me think, is this guy the real enemy? The story gets a big, fat great!

The Game Level/World

The reason I keep calling it a level/world is because you feel immersed in a world, but you are in a responsibly small-sized level.

Every time you die, you respawn with a random gun, with a random amount of bullets, with or without a flashlight (or torch in my land of England), in a random location with a random amount of enemies and their locations are random. That's a lot of random. Admiral Ackbar, huh?

The level is not massive, but it's by no means small, well at least it feels a lot larger than I think it maybe is. So where actually is it? Well... ummm... on top of a tall building, possibly a skyscraper, but that's as far as it goes. Were in the world, or anything else like that is not said, or at least in the tapes I found it wasn't.

The area makes you feel trapped but at the same time free. I have no idea how it does this, but probably something to do with the story, or mechanics and how you move.

Gameplay/Mechanics

The concept of the game is to give you an incredibly simulated gun. When I say simulated I mean it. You can:

  • Take individual bullets out of the magazines
  • Lock the slide
  • Pull the slide back to eject/load a bullet
  • Pull the slide slightly back to see if there is a round in the chamber
  • You can even spin the revolving section of the revolver
  • Pull the hammer back and push it forward.

There is a lot more, but that will be going toward a rather long list.

There are 3 guns, Colt 1911 pistol, Smith & Western Model 10 "Victory" revolver, and a Glock 17 (with either semi-auto, or full auto fire selection). As I said before you spawn with a random gun, with random bullets. To get more of anything you need to find it. Magazines, bullets, flashlights (well a flashlight) can all be picked up, along with the tapes.

The incredible realism really makes you feel tense when in your first combat situation, because you know exactly how long it takes for YOU to reload, especially if you only have one magazine. But as soon as you manage to reload and clip, and cock your gun quickly you feel like you are invincible, and then run around and die.

To run, you push W, like normal. To sprint you don't press shift + W, you have to tap W. The faster you tap the faster you sprint. Again this makes encounters feel tense, as you know if you stop tapping you will move to slowly to get out the way of that flying drone, or make that jump.

Death? Simply put, anything hurts you, you die. A fall from hight, death. One hit from an enemy, death. Fall on your face because your chair was pushed over, death. That one is not actually in the game, but it should be.

Who are you shooting at?

Robots. NEXT! Just kidding. Just as with the guns, the enemies are incredibly simulated too. They come in two forms, a flying drone kind and a static spinning turret kind. Each enemy has specific points you can hit, hit the motor, the turrets stop spinning, hit the battery all power goes out on that unit, hit the sensor it will not know you are there etc. With the flyers it's the same, but they are much smaller and move fast.

What actually is the purpose of this game? And what is it?

To put this game into a category, would be to look deep inside yourself and contemplate the meaning of your existence, and then come up with an answer which is correct. Near impossible, in layman's terms. I will give you an overview.

You play in first person. You run around trying to pick up as much stuff as possible, along the way finding tapes to further the story. You collect all 11 tapes...and, I have no idea, I have never collected all 11 tapes. So that's what you do in the game, well along with trying not to die, and deciding if shooting is a good option or not.

It's close to a survival game, except that says "massive open world" right? Which this doesn't have. The world is procedurally generated within set boundaries, these boundaries, are the area never changes but enemy and item placement changes. So that's what it is, in a nut shell.

Now for the purpose of the game, is it to learn how to use a gun? Maybe. To run around not knowing what the hell to do? Maybe. To pick up things? Definitely. To use tapes? Of course. To be very confused and not be able to explain the game, and the only way to know what it's like is to just go buy, and play it? Spot on!

Conclusions

Receiver is an excellent game made by Wolfire Games for the:

7-day FPS challenge to explore gun handling mechanics, randomized levels, and unordered storytelling.

(Taken from the Steam page).

The reason it's not a 10 is simple, it's really just a very long, and engaging fetch quest. The keyword being engaging. Oh and what are textures? This game doesn't seem to know, which isn't inherently bad, but is worth noting.

Leaning how to use the guns is a challenge in itself, using everything you know in combat is another challenge entirely. Engagements are fast, and over quickly, usually ending in you dying. Stealth is the best bet, storm in somewhere you will likely die. The game is tense, but also relaxing, I found myself playing before I went to bed, I would set myself 3 deaths, then at the third I would go. Running out of bullets likely means death, so you will always want to pick more up when you can.

There is the occasional crash, but as the game takes so little time to load up they are only a minor inconvenience, the exception being if you are on a very good run.

Verdict

I give this game a 9/10. Outstanding game which couldn't have done much better, I would love to see mechanics like this (although simplified) in other games, maybe in the Arma series?

Have you played it? What do you think of it? If you haven't, have I convinced you to buy it? Let me know in the comments below.

Featured Correspondent

-- Games are a passion as well as a hobby. Other writing of mine found on on www.etnl.co.uk

Published Feb. 21st 2014

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