The Earth has changed. Huge temperatures made whole continents suffer great losses and the operation to cool the planet went too far. Now Earth is engulfed in glaciers and humans must look for a new place to live. An elite researcher squad was sent to a research base to help with making that a reality. They have no idea that something is waiting for them. Something with sharp teeth and an empty stomach.
Dark Gate Opens Once Again
Neo Morphosis: Infestation is the newest creation by Dark Gate Games. Just like their previous title Dark Rituals, it’s shaping up to be a solid game with amazing quality of components, and a hefty dose of creativity in its rules.
The game is playable solo or with a group of up to 4 players. Everyone has to pick a crew member, who’s going on his scientific mission to the frozen station. Don’t expect doing research or building snowmen there though.
You have to survive and make the station stop from collapsing. It turns out that aliens which infested your the building are hungry… and they’re some real metal and cable aficionados. The more you let them rampage and feast on walls, computers and doors – the sooner you’ll be frozen to death.
Research station, made to help humanity leave Earth, is a colossal construction filled with tons of rooms and facilities. To make ingame scenarios more varied and replayable, locations inside the base are constructed from terrain tiles and can vary a lot. Same with different corridors, labs and the location of base controlling terminals (aka one of the favourite treats of our tentacled enemies).
Map tiles are divided into sections which determine alien spawns and the distance between combatants. Every room is separated with its own set of door that can be opened, locked and repaired by players in case of alien emergency.
Time to Take Action
To win, apart from staying as alive as possible, you’ll need to complete your mission and these can be quite varied. At the beginning of each game, you pick 3 encounter cards randomly. Their fronts show your objectives needed to win, and on the back there’s a bit of storyline flavor text. Still, winning usually has plenty of alien killing and to do that, some action is required.
So how do you take action? Each turn you can perform 3 activities. There’s lot to choose from: moving, interacting with terminals, fighting, creating medkits, repairing destroyed objects, controlling (or exploding drones), turning the fire system on and others. They all add up to whopping 17 actions (not counting some scenario specific ones). The order of members is up to players here, as long as everyone performs their 3 activities.
A Test of Skill
Some actions need to succeed after you decide to perform them. This is done by pretty standard tests you may know from pen & paper RPGs. You roll a numbered dice, add your bonuses and modifiers from weapons and try to reach a certain score to pass.
Programming tests are slightly different, as a player needs to use a special set of dice and roll a specified set of symbols.
Combat (ranged and melee) also uses the above formula and requires each character to roll a certain number, add bonuses and reach a specified result. Ending up with a number higher than the HP of your opponent ends in his death.
Like crew members, your mysterious enemies also have their own action phase and that’s when they start their bloody feast. During alien phase threat levels on the station rise a lot. Eggs hatch into larvae. Each of them has the potential to mutate into some serious, slimy glutton. Mature aliens can turn into more powerful types, move around, destroy station equipment and attack crew members.
Interestingly: characters attacked by aliens that end up with zero HP can keep playing. You get a “defeated” status, then turn to “recovery” status and go back into action. When all characters are “defeated” though – the game is over.
Everything mentioned so far is just the tip of an iceberg. Neo Morphosis: Infestation has systems for drone gameplay, scanning distant rooms or even frying the aliens in a certain type of facility. You can approach dangerous situations from any way you like.
So how’s the atmosphere? A dark game about aliens on frozen Earth should at least give players some thrills. Even though the Kickstarter campaign has lots of humor inside, Neo Morphosis: Infestation feels rather dark and will often make you feel helpless. Monster miniatures look disgusting, filled with fangs, tentacles and bits of humans. Illustrations on cards also fit the theme perfectly leading to a mix of 80s thriller movies and comic books.
Neo-Morphosis: Infestation launched few days ago on Kickstarter and is doing pretty well. So far the game got over $190.000 in pledges and keeps going higher.
Backers can either get a basic version for $100 USD or the one with expansion for $140. Basic pledge includes 36 minis (humans and aliens), a set of map tiles, dice, plenty of tokens and over 100 cards. Expansion adds 19 more minis as well as cards and tiles. A pretty nasty looking Brood Queen miniature addon will remain a Kickstarter exclusive.
The campaign still has 20 days to go, and new stretch goals keep being updated with some neat additions to the game.
If you feel like frying some tentacles while saving humanity’s future check out the campaign: >> Kickstarter Campaign Link <<