What started as a tribute to one bad ass little pup is turning into a game that you can help support. Buck needs backers like you!
Ever since I was told about the demo for Buck and the Kickstarter campaign (go check it out here), I have been falling in love with the concept of this game. Started by three friends, Adi, Gal, and Amir, Buck couldn’t come from more humble beginnings: “It’s hard to describe the immense impact that Buck has had on our lives. We’ve been working on the game for over three years now, spending thousands of dollars from our own pockets to get the game up to its current pre-alpha status.”
And for a pre-alpha game, Buck looks incredible. The art style for this post-apocalyptic noir game is both haunting and rich, making it very clear that this game isn’t messing around. It is easy to navigate, fast travel is automatically unlocked for you as you learn of each new location. It’s clear to see what paths you can go down, when you are expected to jump over obstacles, climb ladders, and so on. And despite a couple of simple mistakes in writing, one of which is about a broken clock: “Broken or not, if it works, you keep it”, the story and dialogue seems interesting. Of course the demo doesn’t give you a lot. It is a demo, but you start the story off not knowing much about yourself or the world around you as you leave an unhappy home, stumble into two different towns that have definitely seen better days, all for the sake of looking for a girl who’s gone missing. But as you travel, you are introduced to new and equally intriguing factors, such as Vultures who have been killing people off for reasons you don’t understand and references about the people of this world making the same mistakes they have been making for years.
However, while playing through the game, I did come across quite a few technical problems. Again, I really want to emphasize that this game is in pre-alpha before I continue.
The enemies in the game are extremely powerful considering your lack of health and ammunition. I’ve been a gamer for 18 of my 22 years of life, and never have I been so quickly or easily beaten by low-level AI. I mean, I’ve had an easier time playing games on hard and legendary difficulties. During one of these fights, to assure I wasn’t just really bad, I used a health item that restored 20% of your HP and then let myself be hit and lost 25 to 30% of health, and this was fighting just an ordinary enemy. The enemy attacks also knock you down and before Buck has time to stand or fire back, you can be hit continuously. There were plenty of times in this short demo that I was knocked back once and would get completely erased because I couldn’t break the cycle of attacks.
There is also a boss fight of sorts toward the end of the demo, in which you drop down from a ladder suspended in air to an area that has supplies you were looking for. As you walk toward the exit, you hear an audio cue and are charged at by two enemies, one of which is much faster than you. The only health item I found before the fight (that I didn’t need to use in previous fights because of these chained attacks I mentioned above) restored 20% of your health, but again, the boss deletes that with one attack, leaving you very underpowered. After four attempts, I thought this boss would be the death of me in real life, and the only way I beat it was by accidentally “breaking” the game. As soon as the fight starts, you can roll pass the boss and run toward the exit. You have to die, but you will spawn in front of the fast travel point you needed to reach, far away from the boss.
My problems with the enemies of the game aside, the controls felt somewhat unnatural. You can go in and customize your keybindings, but for the sake of giving a good review, I wanted to test everything as is. And after consulting with my friend, we both wondered…who shoots with the “D” key? You get used to it, but let me tell you, that was a trip when I read the controls. I did like using the arrow keys to move though, feels a lot better for a 2D game.
Now I would be more critical IF I didn’t already know the team is working on fixing issues such as the ones I listed. On Buck’s Main Menu, there is a section for patch notes and the developers have already released updates addressing problems with the gameplay, the enemies, and how you and they take damage. This is extremely promising to me because they aren’t afraid to tackle problems head on or listen to the community that has been playing through the demo.
So, if I haven’t convinced you to download this free demo (IT’S FREE GUYS!!) and support the project, I want to leave you with a few more thoughts. These friends love Buck. They have been working on it for 3 years, and so far it seems like it is going to be a very high quality independent game. You can read it on their Kickstarter page, you can see it in their design, and hear it in the story that is being told that so much heart and soul has been poured into this game, and will continue to be until it is ready for everyone to play. And the rewards for backing are not just your typical “Yeah, we’ll give you a copy of the game and maybe like a T-shirt or something bro, just put the money on the table and GTFO.” The team wants you to be a part of this experience, offering to put your own pets into the game at different levels of donation. They even have rewards if they get enough people to like their Facebook page and follow Buck on twitter. They have a Youtube page as well, so go subscribe to them there too!
I’m genuinely excited by this project and the incredible talent behind it. I think with backers (and feedback), from gamers like us, Buck could be something truly amazing that we will all be proud to have our names associated with.
Keep up the amazing work guys. I believe in you and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Buck on this adventure.