What could be better than lying to your friends? Lying to your friends, with murder! Digitally, of course. Social distancing. Well, Geoff ‘Zag’ Keene and his publisher New Blood Interactive are going to do you one better. They are bringing us today’s Indie Highlight: Unfortunate Spacemen. It’s lying to your friends, with murder, but in space!
All For One, and One For, Well, One!
Unfortunate Spacemen is a co-op/multiplayer much in the same vein as Secret Neighbor, or Deceit, or One Night Ultimate Werewolf for you people with IRL friends. Gross. That is to say that the objective is a group of players are banding together to accomplish some sort of goal. This could be solving puzzles, escaping a map, or defeating enemies. The rub here is that some, or in Unfortunate Spacemen‘s case, one player is not who they claim to be.
That’s right, horrible shape shifting alien abominations abound! One space human is, uh, not human. Whilst most of the party are trying to complete objectives to get the f-sharp out of dodge, one is silently lurking among them picking them off one by one, Predator style.
You are an employee of The Company. Not a very important one, as the tutorial does a hilarious job of reminding you. You are trapped on a planet with a group of other equally forgettable employees in order to collect research. Launch research samples into space via very nifty tubes, but don’t get too close. You yourself can get yeeted into the abyss either by accident, or from a helpful nudge from another “person”.
There are plenty of other objectives and weapons to be found around maps before you are able to board the escape shuttle. Monsters can sneakily sabotage these in order to delay progress to further their death agenda. Pick enough players off without being discovered and you can even board the shuttle with them and catch them all in a teeny tiny room.
So what makes Unfortunate Spacemen stand out from either asymmetrical multiplayer games? The scale, for one. Match lobbies have a maximum size of 16 players at a time, making the game much larger than most out there. You would think having this many players in a lobby would result in utter chaos, and it does, but it in a good way.
The game features proximity chat to kind of curb that chaos. As the players get further or closer to each other voices get subsequently louder or quieter. This allows for you to be talking with your friend Todd, he leaves the room and goes silent presumably from just being too far away, only for you to find later Todd has been gruesomely murdered! *cliche suspense music here*
At one point I thought this scale was a large handicap for the monster, as no matter the size of the lobby only one impostor is among the group. Whenever I was discovered as a dirty liar, I found 15 humans shooting at me to be an insurmountable opposition. Turns out though I’m just bad, and that’s the whole point of picking people off one by one.
There’s a story! Sort of.
Don’t want to lie to your friends? Why not? Are you one of them honest humans? Well, good. I’m proud of you. So is Zag, apparently, because he is rewarding your honesty with a small solo/co-op story mode. Group up with up to 5 other players and battle against Crumerian (those are the alien bug thingies) swarm. The dialogue in this game is dry and goofy and worth playing for that alone.
Horde mode time! Don’t have time for lying or stories? You’re just here for the shooty bang bang, huh? No worries. Up to 10 people can enter the co-op survival mode to last as long as possible against waves of enemies with scaling difficulty.
This weeks Indie Highlight Unfortunate Spacemen is free to play on steam, and is currently sitting on very positive reviews. There is also cosmetic DLC available, for you skin hungry people. I definitely recommend it if you have been itching for a new way to deceive your friends, or make new ones via mendacity.
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