Quick Look – BARRICADEZ

BARRICADEZ plays sort of like someone took a look at Craft the World and decided to make it a whole lot darker, slim down the craftable items, and get rid of some of the most annoying mechanics. As someone who has put over 70 hours into Craft the World, in spite of it’s many many flaws, I knew I had to pick this one up as soon as I discovered it.

Your avatar is a little robot, who has somehow ended up with what could quite possibly be the last human baby in the world. There are demon things who want to destroy it, but you need to do whatever it takes to keep the screaming little bundle of joy safe. Thankfully, you don’t also need to worry about meeting its normal, human-type needs, just keeping the baddies off of it.

For me, the tutorial was above average and didn’t overstay its welcome. It gives you a reasonable approximation of what is going to required from you during the main game. Collect resources and build up your base during the day, and hope it all lasts through the night when the zombies show up.

The story mode pops you into a randomly generated world with rudimentary defenses set up that will likely get you through your first few nights. Every day you receive a “report” on what to expect that evening, and for the first few days, you only have to worry about shoring up one side of your base. However, neglecting the other will have pretty dire consequences on the seventh night – I lost my first two games on night seven because I didn’t add nearly enough to the previously unbothered half of my base.

The game does give you option of replaying from a game over state while keeping your previously purchases upgrades (called engrams here), but I elected to start over twice, and the third time, having just barely been breeched, I loaded that morning’s autosave. This is not a roguelite; you are given multiple manual save slots as well as three rotating auto save slots.

It feels like choosing the proper upgrades early on can be critical – getting harvest bots online early will save you a ton of time in the gathering of basic materials. You also only start with the most basic beginner traps and walls, and all improvements have to also be purchases with your engrams, earned from defeating monsters at night, or occasionally from things you find while exploring the caves. You can pause time while building, but your harvesters and crafting machines will pause as well, and you cannot repair in build mode, so this is really only useful if you like to take your time building a crafty kill box. Which you probably will absolutely need eventually.

There doesn’t seem to be any actual manual combat – your traps and defenses need to take out the monsters when they show up because there’s very little you can do about it at that point. During the night, you won’t be able to repair things or build too close to where the creatures have already gotten. However, it can be a good time to make sure all your workshops, forges, and chemical labs are producing, and you can still reload your supply chests if you’re running low on ammo or trap fuel.

There are multiple difficult levels, and at least two separate challenge modes to be unlocked. Add that to the procedural world generation, and it looks like there’s a lot of replay value here if the mining, crafting, and tower defense loop is up your alley. About 10 hours in, and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.

However, the deeper into the game I get, the more I feel like some things aren’t well enough explained. It took me probably too long to figure out that steel bars come from putting iron bars through the forge a second time, and the deeper you get into exploring the caves, the harder it seems to be to do everything you need to do between nights. BARRICADEZ may not be the most polished experience, but it both looks and sounds great, and I’m finding it a lot of fun to figure out as I go.

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