Indie Review: Livalink
Livalink is a wave-based arcade first person shooter from indie developer Ben4Views. The aim of the game is to survive for as long as possible against the deadly Progeny. Is it worth the time?
- Worth The Time?Yes, if you want some old-school fun, but it needs more content.
- Things LovedIt's old-school fun, it makes good use of contemporary mechanics, the level design is great, there's a healthy variety in weaponry and enemy types, the game has a lot of scope to get even better, the visual style is really cool, it's very enjoyable to play, buying it means you'll get free content updates.
- Things HatedIt really feels like it's missing multiplayer co-op, it's a bit light on content.
- RecommendationIf you're into old-school arcade shooters, this is a fun option because it delivers that with some modern mechanics thrown in to deliver a fine balance. It's a bit light on content, so you might want to watch it for when more gets added, which will only make it even better.
- Name: Livalink
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
- Developer: Ben4Views
- Publisher: Ben4Views
- Price: R88
- Reviewed On: PC
Livalink is an arcade first person shooter from indie developer Ben4Views. More specifically, it’s a wave-based survival shooter. It’s still early days for the game, so right now there are only two levels, Southfrost and Space Station. But buying the game promises more free content in the near future, so there is definitely that to look forward to. Basically, you’ll be fighting it out in these levels against waves of enemies called the Progeny, and they get progressively stronger as you proceed through the waves. The main idea is to survive and rack up the highest score possible. However, what’s very interesting about Livalink is that its arcade style is a call back to the old days of shooters, yet it takes contemporary elements from modern games that have wave-based survival modes, such as Call of Duty’s famous zombies mode. The result is actually quite an engaging game that can stand on its own.
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In the game you’ll start out with a standard pistol, and you’ll need to accumulate credits from killing and surviving waves in order to buy stronger weaponry. You’ll find these guns on walls, and buying them is as easy as getting close and holding the action key. However, there is a catch. The levels are fairly large and many areas are barricaded off, requiring you to pay credits to unlock them. These don’t keep enemies out though. This not only gives you more room to move and spread out the Progeny so you don’t get overwhelmed, but it also gives you access to advanced weaponry. In addition to this, there is also a main station where you can acquire permanent upgrades each time you level up, and these provide more or less the standard improvements like increased health, faster running speed and a higher ammunition capacity. You can also use this station to replenish ammunition and grenades.
The game has a distinct futuristic feel, and it’s a pretty cool look. Enemies are quite quirky and fun to kill. There are a variety of types and more get introduced the longer you play. There’s the standard creature which is tall and has blades for arms, and these will try to get in close to attack you. Then there are little creatures that run up to you and explode if they get too close. Later on you’ll fight enemies with laser rifles, and eventually you’ll take on the ones with bladed arms, except they’re stealth camouflaged. The game encourages headshots as they do high damage and you can waste bullets if you shoot anywhere else, but right now it feels like the game is a bit too headshot focused and this can get annoying when things intensify in the later waves and there are a lot more enemies to deal with. Other than grenades, there aren’t really any tools or on-hand weapons to use for crowd control.
The weapons as well look pretty futuristic, but they’re reminiscent of Borderlands in the sense that they have standard functions. A pistol, rifle, SMG and shotgun pistol all make up some of the weapons you can acquire, and while they’re enjoyable to use and the shooting is great, it would be nice to have the means to acquire them earlier on. There’s a chest in each level you can open for a certain amount of credits and it randomises a weapon to give you, and once I got a rocket launcher from it. But it would do a lot for the game’s variety if you could acquire weapons like these more normally, or if there were more exciting weapons like shock rifles, flame throwers or cannons on offer. There is a gun called The Sunflower which fires a laser beam, and it’s what I want to see more of personally. As for secondary weapons, I found grenades to be pretty useless in all honesty, and I didn’t really use them all that much. I really liked that you can use credits to activate gun turrets to help you out in combat, and it’s elements like these that will keep the game exciting in future updates, and maintain a sense of tactics.
Of course, right now the game does feel a bit light on content, as the two levels on offer will only keep you busy for so long. But more significantly, the feature that the game most needs is a form of multiplayer co-op, and that would make it an infinitely more fun shooter. Perhaps even some mini-bosses on later waves would be great. This is subject to the support the game gets though. Right now, however, it does enough to be entertaining and fun to challenge yourself with, and the most important thing to take note of is that Livealink has effectively set its foundations down to be a much better game in the future. There’s a lot of scope here for improvement, and if it’s your type of game then the free updates will be right up your alley, and you will constantly get more reason to return to it as time goes by, which is great. But to be frank, that’s the only reason the price tag is justified, because in its current state it definitely needs more content, and it doesn’t last very long. Time will tell though.
The visual style of Livalink is very cool, and it has all the right ingredients to feel like a futuristic world. I very much like the fact that the enemies are quirky, and it gives the game its unique flavour. The game has a clean look to it, and the design of weapons and the Progeny is really good. The music is decent, but the problem with it is that it can get repetitive, and more variety in tracks would definitely help. Performance wise the game is as clean as a whistle, and it’s completely smooth every moment of playing. I read that an update should be rolling out soon which will bring a few improvements and additional features, so it’s good to see that the game is being supported, and this will help its longevity.
Livalink is light on content, but it’s a really fun game that has the potential to be so much better, and it will be with future, free updates. If you’re into old-school arcade shooters, this is a fun option because it delivers that with some modern mechanics thrown in to deliver a fine balance. Due to it being early days, you might want to keep a close eye on it, as more gets added to it, if you’re hesitant about buying it. But the good part is that it will keep getting better, and only time will tell how this one turns out.