Wed. Jun 12th, 2024

Exploring the Abyss: A Comprehensive Review of Abyss Crew

Article Image Diving into the abyss world carries an allure of mystery and challenge that few games capture as vividly as Abyss Crew, a multiplayer cooperative adventure that sets you and your friends aboard a steampunk submarine to explore the deep unknown. Developed and published by PGM Studio, Abyss Crew marries elements of adventure, indie, RPG, and roguelike genres, offering an early access experience that beckons to the adventurous spirit in every gamer. It stands out in the gaming landscape by not only enabling you to take on the abyss with friends but also by providing a rich, immersive co-op gameplay experience that emphasizes teamwork and strategy.

As you navigate through the depths of the abyss in Abyss Crew, your journey is supported by detailed graphics, innovative co-op mechanics, and a unique game development journey that showcases the dedication of PGM Studio. The game’s appeal is broad, attracting both casual players and those who appreciate the nuances of game design and development. In exploring this submarine-based adventure, you’ll engage with the game on multiple levels – from piloting and gunnery to engineering and sonar operation. This article offers a comprehensive review, highlighting not only Abyss Crew’s gameplay and design but also sharing insights into community feedback and future updates, ensuring you’re fully prepared to dive deep into the abyss world.

Gameplay Overview

In the heart of Abyss Crew, you and your fellow adventurers are thrust into a steampunk submarine, tasked with navigating the murky depths of the abyss world. The game ingeniously assigns players to specific roles aboard the submarine, each critical for the vessel’s survival and success in the underwater exploration:

  • Pilot: Steers the submarine through treacherous waters.
  • Gunner: Manages the submarine’s defenses against hostile creatures.
  • Sonar Operator: Detects valuable minerals and looming threats.
  • Engineer: Keeps the submarine operational, managing repairs and upgrades.

With the game supporting up to five players, a unique feature is the optional Abyss Master role. This player acts as the game master, dynamically altering the environment to challenge the crew, adding an extra layer of unpredictability and excitement to the gameplay. This cooperative experience is heightened by the game’s design that necessitates teamwork for survival. Players must communicate effectively, leveraging their unique roles and working in concert to explore the abyss, gather resources, and fend off dangers. The game’s cooperative nature is not just a gameplay mechanic but a core experience, fostering a sense of camaraderie and collective achievement among players.

Abyss Crew’s gameplay is further enriched by its diverse environments and submarine customization options. Players can choose from four submarines, each offering a different play style, and navigate through three expansive maps filled with mysteries and challenges. The game’s design encourages exploration and strategy, with players needing to balance resource gathering with submarine upgrades and defense against the abyss’s inhabitants. The inclusion of a Friend Pass allows for easy access among friends, ensuring no one is left behind in these underwater adventures.

Graphics and Design

Diving deeper into the abyss world, Abyss Crew’s graphical prowess and design elements stand out, offering an immersive experience that’s as visually appealing as it is engaging. Here’s a breakdown of the game’s technical and aesthetic highlights:

  • Resolution and Display Options:
    • Supports widescreen, multi-monitor, ultra-widescreen, and 4K Ultra HD resolutions.
    • Adjustable Field of View (FOV) to suit player preferences.
    • Available in windowed and borderless fullscreen windowed modes for flexible gameplay setups.
  • Graphics Enhancements:
    • Implements Anisotropic Filtering (AF) and Anti-Aliasing (AA) for sharper, cleaner visuals.
    • Vertical Sync (Vsync) and High Dynamic Range display (HDR) support ensure smooth and vibrant imagery.
    • Optimized for both 60 FPS and 120+ FPS, catering to a broad range of hardware capabilities.
  • Artistic Direction and Accessibility:
    • Features a distinct steampunk art style, with plans to evolve the submarine’s look towards a more abstract representation.
    • Exploration of touchscreen-friendly interfaces indicates a push towards accessibility, making it easier to set up games on tablets.
    • Developed with GameMaker, the game is set in an alternate history universe, enriched with steampunk technologies, adding depth to its narrative and world-building.

Abyss Crew’s graphical fidelity and design philosophy not only enhance the gameplay experience but also reflect the developer’s commitment to creating a game that’s both visually captivating and accessible.

Co-op Experience

Diving into the cooperative heart of Abyss Crew, players have found the game’s co-op mechanics not just a feature but a cornerstone of the entire gameplay experience. Here’s a closer look at what makes the co-op experience in Abyss Crew stand out:

  • Dynamic Team Roles:
    • Pilot, Gunner, Sonar Operator, Engineer: Each role is crucial, demanding players to communicate and cooperate to navigate the abyss world successfully.
    • Abyss Master Mode: Adds an extra layer of excitement, with one player controlling the environment to challenge the crew further.
  • Multiplayer Options and Accessibility:
    • AI Crewmates: Planned for future updates to ensure even solo players can enjoy a full team experience.
    • Multiplayer Modes: Supports single-player, online co-op for up to four players, LAN co-op, and cross-platform multiplayer, making it accessible for a wide range of setups.
    • Friend Pass: Buy one full version and invite friends to play along, enhancing the sense of community and shared adventure.
  • Engagement and Feedback:
    • Community Expeditions: Monthly expeditions managed by an experienced Abyss Master, offering new stories and challenges.
    • Early Access Feedback: Players have reported bugs during multiplayer sessions, but overall, the cooperative play has been successful and highly praised for its uniqueness and engagement.

Abyss Crew’s commitment to a rich co-op experience is evident, from the detailed role mechanics to the inclusive multiplayer options and engaging community events, making it a standout game in the abyss world of cooperative play.

Game Development Journey

Embarking on the development journey of Abyss Crew, Pol Grasland-Mongrain and his team have navigated through both challenges and milestones that are as intriguing as the game itself. With a vision to bring this cooperative submarine exploration game to life, the team’s roadmap includes:

  • Kickstarter Campaign:
    • Objective: Raise 4000 CAD$ (approximately 3100 US$ or 2600 EUR).
    • Timeline: Launching on February 23 and concluding on March 18.
    • Platform: The funds will facilitate the game’s early access release on Steam.
  • Development and Feedback:
    • Early Access Release Date: April 30, available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
    • Feedback Loop: Despite discussions around the game’s demo and player count, there’s a strong call for more developer communication and regular updates.
    • Community Involvement: The team is committed to incorporating player feedback into regular updates, focusing on enhancing accessibility, adding new levels, and translations.
  • Strategic Decisions:
    • Professional Expansion: Hiring professional developers, the team expanded the game over two years to align with their full vision.
    • Blockchain Integration: Initially considered, this feature was later abandoned to keep the focus on core gameplay experiences, reflecting a responsive and adaptive development strategy.

As Abyss Crew progresses towards its full release in early 2024, the team’s dedication to transparency, community engagement, and a clear development path signals a promising voyage ahead in the abyss world.

Community and Player Feedback

Diving into the abyss world of Abyss Crew, the community and player feedback have been a mixed bag of constructive criticism and enthusiastic support. Here’s a closer look at the sentiments shared by players:

  • Technical Issues and Solutions:
    • A notable frustration among players involves the game’s exit issue, where the attack button doubles as the exit button, leading to accidental exits during combat. Players have creatively suggested workarounds like remapping controls or tweaking custom settings to mitigate this inconvenience.
    • Reports of technical glitches such as files flagged as viruses/malware, white screen occurrences upon launching the game, and challenges in hosting games have surfaced. These issues highlight the need for ongoing technical support and patches from the development team.
  • Community Suggestions:
    • The player base has voiced a desire for more customization options for characters and ships, indicating a keen interest in personalizing their gameplay experience.
    • Despite these hurdles, the overall community sentiment remains positive, with many players eagerly anticipating future updates and expansions. The use of a community-based unlock system, where only the first “phase” of the game is available at launch, has sparked interest and speculation about what lies ahead in the abyss.

This feedback loop between the players and the developers of Abyss Crew underscores the importance of community engagement in refining and enhancing the game. As Abyss Crew continues to evolve, addressing these concerns and incorporating player suggestions will be crucial in shaping its future in the abyss world.

Final Thoughts and Future Updates

Throughout this comprehensive exploration of Abyss Crew, we’ve navigated the depths of its unique gameplay, innovative cooperative experience, stunning graphics, and the dedicated journey of its development team. By bringing friends together in a vivid steampunk submarine adventure, Abyss Crew stands as a testament to the power of teamwork and the allure of exploring the unknown. The game excels in encompassing the thrill of discovery and the strategic depth required to navigate its challenging abyss, fostering an environment where collaborative effort is not just encouraged but essential for survival. The game feels claustrophobic in a good way. It does a great job of feeling tense but not stressful.

4 OUT OF 5

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