Monday, September 03, 2012

Gimbal Gameplay Review

I'm playing Gimbal, a multiplayer arcade space shooter with custom ship designs by 8888888 Labs.

The game is meant to be played online, but you can play against bots that are competent enough, though they do not retreat when outnumbered or near death, and don’t fly in erratic patterns, making it easy to eliminate them from a distance. Joining a game is easy using the included browser, and there are plenty of options (respawn time, collision damage, air density) to customize a hosted match. The seven maps, with additional smaller versions, offer obstacles that do impact the game (and impact your ship, if you run into them). The objective is to destroy the enemy carrier, or eliminate the most enemies before time runs out. Money is earned by getting kills, which can be spent customizing your ship design. The ship customization is well done, with lots of parts you can place on your ship, allowing you to quickly create something that appeals to your play style. Players can get really creative with their designs as well: someone made a crazy spinning disk that fired bullets in all directions, for example. Ship damage is also intriguing, as individual parts (and the things attached to those parts) cease functioning, resulting in a progressively crippled ship. The interface shows nearby enemy ships spotted on radar, but doesn’t do a good enough job differentiating friend from foe. The combat is interesting from the overhead perspective, featuring powerful weapons and the aforementioned damage model. There is a learning curve when dealing with the game’s physics, but ship customization allows you to equate your ship with your driving style. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with Gimbal, as the combat is brutal, the damage detailed, and the ship customization is meaningful and flexible.