Chile is known for many things, great wine, great food, being extremely and ridiculously long, and a thriving indie developer scene. After ACE Team put them on the map with Rock Of Ages, new-indie-on-the-block Octeto Studios comes up with a unique take on the squad management genre through a self-described tech-noir lens: CyberOps
Delightfully wearing it’s influences on it’s sleeves,
CyberOps takes heavy inspiration from Yoji Shinkawa’s work in the late 90s playstation era. Octeto has done great work in characterizing a near-future scenario, injecting it with plenty of virtual reality (as we knew it in the 90s) flavor, such as the gorgeous overworld map that evokes the design of beloved doomsday simulator Defcon and other influential PC titles.
Partially built as a strategy game, CyberOps predominantly owes its gameplay stylings to the likes of Commandos and other squad management strategy games of yore, whilst mashing it together with stealth hacking infiltration mechanics. It’s a delightful combination that goes together as good as peanut butter and chocolate, and ultimately gives me serious vibes of Gunpoint whilst retaining a firm identity in the RTS genre. It’s up to you to study the landscape as best as possible, creating pools of visibility with the scanning tool and juggling hacking trace evasion.
It’s refreshing to have a strategy game make it exceptionally clear that your unit depends on you as a fellow operative, and that you aren’t merely some eye-in-the-sky high up brass glaring down judgmentally at your comrades. It forges a meaningful intimacy with the characters that you’re building familiarity and loyalty with, do your job in the pivotal support role and everyone gets to come home safe and sound. You’re engaging in just as much stealth as they are, and randomly charging ahead will swiftly result in a failed mission.
At least in the preview build I had a chance to get my hands on, the voice acting had a certain charm to it that I couldn’t put my finger on, but it certainly evoked that signature, slightly-off charisma found in early English dubs of games like Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, and Silent hill. It imbues the presentation with a warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling. Along with this familiar warmth, crisp mission instructions, clean tutorials that are straight to the point, and a gorgeous UI with some of the best readability I’ve seen in a while all add to a distinctly comfortable and pleasant experience.
If you like FTL, XCOM, or anything to do with squad management, you’re going to love CyberOps. If it’s up your alley then go Wishlist it on steam!
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice