Clone Drone in the Danger Zone: A Quick Look
British Humor and Robots with Swords
Indie games have undoubtedly evolved quite a lot in the past decade. What once was considered a mere shot in the dark at creating something with limited resources in an otherwise vast sea of AAA and third-party games, has now become this (some of the times) beautiful norm in the gaming industry, mostly due to platforms like itch.io that facilitate the distribution of such games. A great example of that revolution of indie games is Clone Drone in the Danger Zone, a beautiful little gem that’s all about laser swords and comedic robots.
Clone Drone – as I’ll refer it to in this article – doesn’t really do anything that innovative. Visually speaking, Clone Drone is yet another indie title with a mere Voxel style look to it, and it’s definitely no The Last of Us as far as the plot goes. But it’s fun, and in a world filled with epic grand adventures that look even prettier than real actual life, I personally welcome Clone Drone for investing my time in entertainment rather than anything else.
But what is it about anyway?
Clone Drone – which is still in Alpha might I add – is (mostly) a one man project – created by Erik Rydeman – that currently features 2 modes: a Story and an Endless Mode. The “campaign”, which by my understanding is still far from being completed, serves as a quick introduction to the Endless Mode, which is where (if you’re like me) you’ll spend most of your time.
Anyway, in both modes the player’s character is given a random name, occupation, age and favorite color – this will solely serve to distinguish all the characters you’ve used so far – only to then be thrown into an arena where he’ll have to battle waves of enemies, obviously getting harder every round. After each round th
e player’s given the opportunity to increase one of his abilities. Whether is it getting a clone of yourself (a.k.a. extra life) or unlocking a bow, there’s undoubtedly a huge amount of abilities to unlock – all of which branch into subsequent upgrades that’ll make you feel like a true immortal robot. The campaign goes up to 10 levels, after which you’ll be presented to a nice little ending that closes off the introduction of the plot in the Alpha, and the “Endless mode” currently presents 125 level variants for the 15 level mode. It may not be endless, but I sure had a blast going through the 5 hours I had with that mode.
The main gimmick of the game is that anything that wants to kill you can be sliced, that includes you as well. This gives away for some awesome neat little moments where an arrow can be shot from the other side of the arena, blowing away your left leg and making you unable to run away from the guy who’s about to slice our hero’s arm and oops there goes your right arm and now you can’t use the bow. Good luck fighting off the 3 giant spiders, 6 robots with a seemingly infinite amount of arrows and 12 ninja-like fighters, with only a leg and an arm. It’s brilliant in its own frantic way.
As previously mentioned in that weak attempt at humor, Clone Drone features a big variety of enemies (some of which you’ll only find in the Endless Mode), with a vast amount of standard enemies – that can use most of the abilities you can, depending on their color – and 2 different Giant Spiders, a true mechanic nightmare. Personally, I’m quite fond of the vast scale of enemies presented by Erik, even though they don’t talk like the commentators (whom I’ll talk about later) they’re quite charming in their own over the top way.
Even though it’s something I haven’t touched upon, Clone Drone is a game I so much love due to its personality, a lot of which comes from the dialogue provided by the two commentators that will accompany your character throughout the game. With a total of 7421 words (I have absolutely no idea how many lines that actually translates to) this duo will very rarely, at least by my experience, repeat themselves with their witty, almost british style of humor. By the way, these two are definitely Daniel Hardcastle and Clank, I refuse to accept it any other way.
The Cons (nit picks really)
I find it hard to talk bad on a one-man-project, and to be honest there isn’t much I can complain about, but I still have some nit picks to mention.
To start of, something that quickly called upon my attention was the soundtrack. The game currently features two songs, one for while you’re fighting, and one for the upgrades room. They’re not bad by any means (specially the upgrades room one) but it can get quite repetitive to listen to the same theme while fighting. I don’t expect this to be the case for the final product, but it’s something to improve on for sure.
Also, even though the endless mode presents quite a lot of variants to each level, I would still appreciate some different arenas, perhaps with different shapes or something that would affect the gameplay. Again, this is going quite far on the nit pick scale, specially considering Erik’s only been working on this game for 9 months.
Erik personally told me he intends to release the game on Steam sometime around 2017, after his team is done releasing some major features. But for now you can get the game on the game’s itch.io page. And to be honest, for the current price tag and content available, I don’t really know if I could recommend, it really depends on you. You shouldn’t probably get if you’re still in College and struggling to buy noodles, but if you like what was talked about in this quick preview and if entertaining games with physic-based combat similar to the one in Overgrowth then certainly yes. With such a promising future, $10 doesn’t seem that much for such a fascinating and humorous game.
Now here’s some gifs for you: