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Plant Your Seeds in Terrorarium Early Access

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Terrorarium

Alien mushrooms and a grumpy granny are at the heart of the experience that is Terrorarium. As the game enters Steam Early Access, it shows a lot of promise to create a cute and casual action game with simple mechanics that inspires player creativity.

In Terrorarium, the player takes on the role of a sassy granny with attitude who is known as the Gardener. At her disposal is an army of alien mushrooms called Moogu: cute but terrifying creatures that uncontrollably breed with corpses of dead Moogu. Granny is on a mission to collect dangerous plants for her garden and is not afraid to kill her Moogu to get what she wants.

Terrorarium features two separate game modes: quick play and maker mode. Quick play features a series of levels that teach the basic mechanics of the game. Across the 24 levels of quick play, players are introduced to four types of Moogu—Spicy, Thick, Gooey, and Gassy—each possessing unique abilities that can be used to solve puzzles and avoid monsters to complete the level. The Moogu types also have different breeding multipliers. For example, the Spicy Moogu creates an additional five Moogu for every corpse they breed with. This detail is quite important in some levels by creating the additional challenge of managing the population size either by swapping equipped Moogu type or through carefully planned, deeply enjoyable Moogu murder. 

Completing the quick play levels present varying levels of difficulty. Most can be completed in one run, while others can take a few attempts to ensure enough Moogu are kept dead or alive to meet the population restrictions. Later levels in particular are deceptively hard to manage and complete. However, all of the levels are simple enough to comfortably teach the basics without feeling too tedious or over-complicated.

Maker mode acts as a level creation tool where the player can make and share their own terrorariums. As the game enters Early Access, four basic level types can be selected with each base type encouraging different play styles. Maker mode has no restrictions, thus enabling complete freedom to create interesting content using the variety of assets available. Some of these tools include monsters, decorative plants, destructive terrain, and barriers. Whilst players are given the option to craft puzzling levels, they also have the freedom to curate garden spectacles which are instead for visual enjoyment.

Level creation offers players the opportunity to share their work with the Terrorarium community. Shared levels will be accessible to play in maker mode. This feature is the most exciting future prospect for Terrorarium as players can draw inspiration from the core mechanics introduced in quick play or ignore them altogether to develop unique puzzle solving methods using the assets available.

The cute, low-poly art style is Terrorarium’s biggest appeal as it enters Early Access. The Gardener’s sassy face, squishy tummy, and twig antlers give her such a cute, odd look that captures the player’s attention, even if they do not understand why. The colourful flora, fauna, and Moogu set amidst a subtle background allow them to pop in the landscape.

Terrorarium has a few minor issues that bug the experience which will hopefully be resolved by release. AI pathfinding makes monsters glitch back and forth on the spot before moving, preventing them from acting as a hazard and making them distracting on screen. Adding controller support could alleviate rough camera and gameplay issues. Additionally, some of the signs in the early levels do not depict the button for the control they are trying to teach, which can make learning mechanics difficult for some.

Developer Stitch Media is creating quite a different project with Terrorarium than it is familiar with. The studio’s past credits are mainly interactive or experiential stories and documentaries, some of which are tie-ins with other franchises such as The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Hopefully, Early Access will be a great opportunity for Stitch Media to receive feedback and create a refined game with a focus on longevity through community created content.

Terrorarium has the foundations for a fun, casual experience that will only further develop through Early Access as it finds a community following. Terrorarium will suit players who enjoy creating and designing their own levels, which gives the game a lot of potential moving forward as an enjoyable, sandbox experience. The game may not be revolutionary, but it will be pretty cute for casual, crafty gamers.

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Cat Quest 2 Stands Out as the Cat’s Meow

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Cat Quest II

EGX Rezzed was filled with bright and brilliant playable demos, but the latest project by The Gentlebros really stood out as the cat’s meow.

Cat Quest 2 is a sequel to the original Cat Quest which debuted in 2017. The first title was met with critical acclaim among fans, receiving positive reviews. Cat Quest would arrive on console later the same year and has since won several awards.

The biggest and most pronounced change for the sequel are the inclusions of dogs and co-operative gameplay. The added co-operation is the real bread and butter of the game, as the combat and game mechanics work purrfectly when a pair is playing. The game can also be played entirely in single player, as well as co-operative with the option to switch between the two characters.

The EGX demo proved that working as a team is the best way of dealing with enemies. For example, a small spiked enemy will use a charged attack when provoked, which allows for one character to run in and bait the enemy to attack while the other moves in to land a blow. Timed dodging and parrying seem to be the best approach, as running in ham-handed will result in a swift K.O. Should the character receive a lot of damage during battle, players can rest up and recharge at several glowing stones by taking a quick nap. Playing as part of a team is not always as simple as it seems, however, with several traps designed to not damage the first player, but rather the one slacking behind.

Several other improvements have been implemented since the previous title, including new enemies and a complete overhaul to the inventory menus. One interesting feature is that the loot found throughout the levels is shared among the players, meaning if a particularly swanky new armour piece is found in a treasure chest, only one person will be able to equip it at a time.

Fans of the previous game will be pleased to hear that the gorgeously designed map is returning, as well as the treacherous treasure-filled dungeons. The design of the world is one of the game’s stand out features; players wander across an actual map complete with location names and, during combat, battle lines that prevent the characters from leaving a certain area. Another returning aspect that some may be thrilled about is the pawful pun-filled script, which often brings a quick smirk to the player’s face.

The helpful Navi-like sprite, Kirry, guides players along the vibrant and whimsical landscape and provides helpful hints throughout. Another returning character is Kit Cat who acts as the game’s upgrade and armour specialist. Players can visit Kit Cat to level up their gear via coins. The mage guild also makes a comeback and acts as the means to level up a character’s magical abilities. Other new characters include the villainous Lionar and Wolfen who have usurped the thrones of the two playable characters. Not much is known about the motives of the villains, but in-game clues suggest a Sheriff of Nottingham-esque villainy with sudden tax increases.

Cat Quest 2 is looking to be a must-have for RPG fans searching for a fun and fanciful adventure. The game will be arriving on Android, iOS, PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One in 2019. Stay tuned for more Cat Quest news and other EGX coverage by following our FacebookTwitter, and YouTube. Meanwhile, join the discussion on our community Discord server.

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