With two newly acquired spawn points and a crab base at my disposal, the building of my red army can commence. My superior tactical brilliance should be sufficient enough to eradicate the map of the pesky, computer-controlled green bots. As my forces gather near the map’s chokepoint, the surprisingly relentless onslaught of the enemy forces rush forward toward my now defenseless spawn points. Man, why didn’t I invest into some faster units? Due to my crab’s sluggish nature, my two main spawn points were captured, securing my fate, and I could only spectate as my forces were overran. Either these easy-level bots are insanely difficult, or my tactical skills are lacking. Regardless, I was intrigued by the unique gameplay style presented in the early release title Boid, by Mokus.
Boid is a multiplayer RTS with a straightforward goal to victory, defeating your enemy by capturing all the spawn points on the map and destroying the opposing army. Freshly spawned units take the form of tadpole-like creatures, rocking a bright green or red color depending on which side you’re playing on. The two main ways the game allows you to build your army is by capturing additional spawn points and taking control of class bases. These class bases can transform your tadpoles into stronger units with varying attributes and skills. In order to utilize these points, you simply move your units onto the desired class base. The victor of each battle is determined by which player uses their time and resources in the most effective manner, your tactical prowess being the most useful tool in your arsenal.
Knowing how each class in the game works is important for victory, so let’s put the spotlight on a couple of them. The backbone of any army are units that can dish out large amounts of damage, while having a solid defense. This type of unit in Boid is called the Crab, which are, if you haven’t guessed by the name, little crab sprites. These little guys can put in the finest of work, but have the downside of being excruciatingly slow. Nobody is perfect. Being able to navigate the battlefield swiftly is essential, so stocking up on Scout units is never a bad choice. The downside with these crafty fellows is their lack of damage and defense output. Sure they are weak, but you can’t help but love the little buggers. Another necessary addition to any army is the ability to attack from a distance. The Gun units inhabit the range portion of your army, but need to be defended by your Crabs due to their weak defenses. I promise they are worth the trouble, if you utilize them properly. My mother use to tell me to always bring a gun to a crab fight! Boid has four other classes, which are kamikaze, leech, Medic and Venom units. I feel each class is balanced sufficiently and each offers multiple layers of gameplay that keeps the game interesting.
Mastering a single map would be fun for a while, but most people will lose interest quickly, so variety is key to a successful RTS game. Boid does not disappoint providing 30 unique maps, all vastly different from each other. Some maps only have a few different class bases, and others host multiple different classes. That brings me to what I enjoyed the most about the map layouts. Each map is identical on each side, eliminating any unfair advantages regardless of which side you find yourself on. To increase the tactical aspect of the game, there are different event bases that can be found on certain maps like turrets and freeze points that will instantly freeze all units within a radius. I found myself creating an array of different strategies for a single map, making each match different, which kept me alert throughout every second of the game. Currently the game only supports 1v1 play, but given the size and layout of a couple maps, I would not be surprised to see other modes available in the near future.
Sound and Graphics
From the moment I started up the game and sat on the home screen, I knew that Mokus took their time with this title. The first thing I noticed was the powerful beating of drums, causing my body to tense up and prepare for an epic battle. The soundtrack presented in Boid set the atmosphere exquisitely, helping to immerse me into the role as the commander of my army. The graphical art style presented in Boid was unlike anything I’ve experienced in the past. The bright contrasting colors of each side of the battle field clashed against each other, creating a futuristic feel which I greatly enjoyed.
With this being an early release title, it does need a lot of improvement and I found myself losing interest after about five hours of gameplay. That being said, I would love to see this game succeed, so here is what I find lacking, and what I feel could improve the game drastically. The control scheme caused constant annoyance, but can be fixed with some simple patches. On the left hand side of the screen, there is a box containing detailed information on your army. It lists the amount of each unit you have, and allows you to select all of one specific class, which is a welcomed feature. The issue I had is the plus and minus buttons under the Class breakdown box, which I believe is used to alter the amount of units you have selected of a single class. I never quite figured out how to use this feature properly. This may be due to a personal error, but either way, creating a tutorial on how to use this function would be greatly appreciated, and this feature should be more user-friendly.
By using the scroll wheel on your mouse, the screen will switch to an overview of the battlefield, which I appreciated. The only issue was the inability to issue commands from this view. I’m unsure as to the reasoning behind this, and it could be intentional, but I’m hoping they add more features for this view. Besides those two issues, I felt the controls were fluid and allowed me stable control over my forces. I did go through a short adjustment period, familiarizing myself with the control scheme. Once I learned everything I needed to know regarding the controls, everything was smooth sailing from there.
Man on a Mission.
Being the thorough reviewer that I am, pushing the game to its limits was necessary and crashing the game would have brought me no joy. This is the struggle one has to deal with when being a game reviewer. Knowing that my mission was pure, I invited my friend into a lobby, and the task began. We both stayed on our respected sides of the map, building up our armies equally. After a good five minutes of peaceful army constructing, the speed of gameplay increased by 50 percent, with the added bonus of changing the colors of each unit lighter. While I watched my beautiful minions come to life, a crazed hunger for a bagel washed over me and demanded to be satisfied. Returning to my computer with a glorious snack in hand, I was shocked to see an icon appear at the top of my screen informing me that I reached the max number of units. After consulting with my friend, we discovered that each player can only produce about 800 units a piece (didn’t remember to write down the exact amount, and the image in this review is from the Steam page, so the max limit may be larger now). With our hopes of out-smarting the developers crushed, we decided to rage an all out war, sending all of our troops charging into the center of the map. I mean, I felt like that was the only logical thing to do, since all those little guys were created for that one purpose. It had nothing to do with gaining enjoyment out of the situation. Either way, curse you Mokus Studios for destroying our dreams!
Despite its flaws, Boid was an enjoyable gaming experience and Mokus Studios has a lot more in store. They have recently added a Ranked feature, allowing you to test your Tactical skills and compare them to other players. They are also developing a Map creator feature, which I am excited for. Boid has a current price tag of $3 dollars, so it would be a shame for you to pass up a deal that great. I honestly feel this game has a lot going for it and due to the potential of the game alone, I would highly recommend picking this title up for yourself. If you would like to pick up Boid for yourself, you can check it out here. Once the game is officially released, I will revisit it in order to write a formal review.
I wanted to add a gameplay video to give you another way to experience the game, to help you decide if It is worth three dollars of your hard earned money.