Nimbatus- The Space Drone Constructor


I’m one of the small minority who actually really enjoyed the Gummi Ship parts of Kingdom Hearts. Yes, the interface was clunky and there was basically zero benefit to building anything beyond the standard design, and after a certain point in the story you never needed to use the ship again as you could just teleport between places. Still, for this Star Fox veteran, the chance to build your own ship (yes, entirely out of guns) was too much to pass up, and I always left the experience sad that there wasn’t more to it.

Ostensibly a roguelike, Nimbatus’ main game mode sees you traversing the galaxy gathering resources with which to build bigger and better drones, all while being chased by the Corp, who inevitably will catch you and kill you and you’ll have to start all over with nothing to show for it. Normally that’d be a Bin by itself, but it turns out Nimbatus’ developers are super cool people who also included a Sandbox mode with huge customisability, which essentially lets you play the main game while removing the permadeath mechanic. The breadth of options available in sandbox mode are praiseworthy and let you tweak pretty much every facet until you find the game you want to play. You can, of course, also play in full sandbox mode, with every item and upgrade available to you immediately with no cost or penalties, for those of us who just want to build the biggest scariest spaceship imaginable.

Drone building is fun, but there needs to be a purpose to it, and that’s where Nimbatus lets me down. All the planets and missions are procedurally generated, which I typically dislike. It’s used in games like this to ensure no two planets are the same, but in practice it often results in every single planet feeling the same. The story is no different here- when you’ve recovered one black box, you’ve recovered them all, and there just isn’t enough variance to engage me.

Fin or Bin:

But the planets aren’t the fun part, building a giant spaceship entirely out of lasers and rocket engines is the fun part! And that’s what I did, for the last 20 minutes of my hour. I did enjoy it, but I’ve done it now, and I don’t really see much reason to come back and do it again. For a player who enjoys receiving scraps and putting together the best machine they can out of the scatter there’s a lot of fun to be had here, but for me it’s time to disassemble all the parts and put them back in the Bin.

(Steam) (Comic – Awkward Zombie “Gunship”)

FTL: Faster Than Light

This might be the quickest Fin to Bin turnaround in BBLC history, lol

Alright, so this one is entirely on me. I do not enjoy roguelikes, and it’s not a problem that can be solved by playing a ‘good’ roguelike- it’s the features intrinsic to what a roguelike is that turns me off.

FTL is a good roguelike. I can tell it is, and I wanted to like it so much. Even to the point that, after suffering a frustrating death I could have done nothing to prevent- one of the keystones of roguelikes and one of the things I absolutely hate about them-  I still kept playing, and even allowed myself to be cajoled into Finning the game (spoilers).

It’s one of the reasons I so strongly emphasise the fact that these write-ups aren’t meant to be reviews, at least in the traditional sense of game reviews. Because after playing the hour and deciding to continue on, I made my way to the final boss and got killed because every single one of my attacks missed and there was nothing I could do to prevent a loss. And it’s a roguelike, so that means starting over.

Making sound decisions, fighting strategically, and getting screwed over by RNG anyway is frustrating in any game, but to be punished with a restart due to crummy luck is just beyond the pail for me. I know, I know, “that’s roguelikes!”, but that’s exactly what I mean!

Fin or Bin:

I played past the hour, which by the rules of the challenge makes it a Fin, but I’ve already dropped it since. I really tried, and please don’t be put off by my words- if you have even a moderate tolerance for roguelike BS, FTL is superb. That “Overwhelmingly Positive” rating on Steam doesn’t get applied to any old dreck (well… usually, but it’s accurate here at least). I was enjoying it, for the most part, but not enough to counterbalance the frustration it brought. You can watch the gameplay stream right here.


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