It’s next to impossible to ignore a name like GoD Factory: Wingmen: but when I first discovered the game, it was more than just the name that drew me in. Between the art designs and the gameplay – which currently revolves entirely around team-based space combat simulation – I’ve found much to like about GoD Factory: Wingmen‘s current direction; and after getting my hands on the most current build of the game, I have to say that I’m hooked, and impatiently waiting to play more of it.
GoD Factory: Wingmen is set in a world where current space-faring civilizations have developed the means to instantly create titanic structures, called GoDs. If you’re curious what the GoD stands for, it’s “graphite or diamond,” since the celestial monuments are made of carbon-based materials. These civilizations are represented by four species in the game (with more being considered): the Guantri, the Ar Blossom, the Chorion, and of course, the Humans. How these GoDs and the interaction between the species will figure into the mythology of the title remains to be seen, and will be explored more in the coming months; but my time on the game dealt more with gameplay and mechanics of the multiplayer portion of the game, which is where Nine Dot Studios is focusing to get GoD Factory: Wingmen off the ground. And it seems it’s a good place to start.
One thing Nine Dots Studios wants to make clear is that customization is key: Nine Dots wants you to tailor your experience to your play style with a number of diverse factors.
Customization starts with GoD Factory‘s species. Having various factions involved and vying for power isn’t just a convenient plot device, it’s a device Nine Dots is using to explore the diversity of each gunship’s mechanics. Each species’ gunship sort of has its own class: the plant-like Ar Blossom have “trickster” gunships that implore the use of teleportation to confuse and disorient enemies; the dragon-like Guantri have “versatile” ships that allow players to switch between a “yin” and “yang” mode, offering higher mobility over speed, accuracy versus range, and so on. The mecha-like armored suits of the Chorion are highly resistant, like tanks, while Human ships are made for aggressive hit-and-run tactics, like a rogue class, and can also use decoys to confuse opponents. But what’s most impressive is that the customization doesn’t end there.
Many of the gunships have much room for variation, with different types of hulls, cockpits, wings, thrusters, shields, devices, add-ons, computer systems and that allow you to alter your gunship the way you want it. This isn’t just translated into attractive aesthetic differences: even with the Alpha build I played, I could radically change the way I approached combat. For example, I created an Ar Blossom gunship I called Anansi (after the African spider trickster-god) which could teleport up to five times within a short distance using the “Springbuck” device, and use the “Sabotage” Add-On to make enemies think their carrier was malfunctioning or getting attacked. Using the “Targeting Assist Chip” main computer and the “Assassin” weapon control unit, Anansi could lock on targets fast and from afar, and keep enemies disoriented.
Later I tried switching to a “Barrier Harmonic Chip” main computer and the “Multi-Phase Shield” to give my gunship stronger defense, used the “Marathon” thruster to increase maneuverability without too much energy consumption, and added “Supplies” add-ons so I could find allies fast, give them aid, and still keep myself in the game without becoming a liability. From guerrilla saboteur to tank-medic, just a few alterations to my gunship completely changed my play style, and that’s only one species.
But just because you can load up your gunship with a host of special abilities doesn’t mean you’re going to just start kicking ass and taking names: GoD Factory is a squad-based multiplayer game where teamwork is key. Operating on your own is just asking for failure, not just for you, but your team. Nine Dots noticed that many “multiplayer games” really didn’t encourage multiplayer at all: instead, players often just went out, went on a killing spree, and their combined kill score was enough to count as cooperation. Wingmen seeks to change that, forcing players to approach every part of a match as a team to increase their chances at survival, with several key mechanics.
First, gamers will notice that each player is allowed up to two gunships per battle: gunships can be switched during a match at any time by docking in one’s own carrier. Doing this allows a player to let a gunship repair or to switch up one’s play style on the fly. Players can also share their gunship with an ally, so that if their ally’s ship is destroyed before it can be repaired, their ally can use their extra ship to get back into the action. Of course, should they both get too damaged, then that’s just another handicap working against the team.
The main objective of each match is to take down your enemy’s Carrier. Each carrier is huge–13 kilometers long, even–and is not only the place where your rival team can recharge or repair their ship, but the way you can dismantle your enemies efficiency. Each carrier is made up of multiple key components, including a Communication Tower, Radar, Repair Station, Ammo Warehouse, and Cannon, as well as several smaller turrets. Get inside the station and there’s also a forcefield generator and Power Core. What all this means is multiple approaches to breaking down your enemy’s defenses, bit-by-bit, while inflicting penalties: destroy their Radar, and it’ll take longer for enemies to detect your team; destroy their Repair Station, and it’ll reduce the speed in which a gunship can be repaired.
But even besides accomplishing particular goals, there’s a very simple reason for attacking as a team: power. No gunship is strong enough to cause much damage to the carrier on its own. The carrier is remarkably resilient to attacks, and only attacking in groups can any real progress be made. Instead of a plain “attacking in swarms” method to engaging a team effort, Nine Dots Studios introduced a “combo system.” This means that when shots are fired in-concert–especially different types of energy (designated by color)–they can create effects that cause even more devastating attacks. Each addition ammo-type thrown into the combo has the potential for more diverse effects: I had the chance to see a “Nova” blast during a multiplayer match, which caused a big, destructive explosion; later, I saw a “Black Hole” get created that sucked in anyone near, causing damage until the singularity collapsed or gunships escaped. Nine Dots promises a variety of effects to come, all that make working in teams more engaging.
Of course, players will need to be aware of the enemy gunships trying to take them down, which is the obvious approach to stopping opponents. Thankfully, the influences that Nine Dots have attributed to GoD Factory‘s development–critically acclaimed games like Freelancer, Armored Core, Starfox, Star Control, and Ace Combat –have influenced the gunships’ controls. Gunships are highly maneuverable, able to air break left and right, adjust throttle, use afterburner, and do quick turns in all directions. I used my gamepad for gameplay and was hugely satisfied by how comfortable the controls were.
GoD Factory: Wingmen is still in its Alpha stage, but it’s simply amazing. Each build I played was more beautiful than the last, and with each build comes a host of improvements: as a huge fan of space combat sim games and mecha-themed anime, I can’t wait to see more of what Nine Dots Studios can deliver. Check out GoD Factory: Wingmen‘s Kickstarter Campaign and Steam Greenlight page if you’d like to support the game, which is currently set to release in August if the project can garner enough backing by the end of its campaign, which ends in about three weeks.
For a really good look at how the game plays from the perspective of two clashing teams, check out the two videos below. For more news on GoD Factory: Wingmen, stay tuned to DualShockers.com.