New DOtA mode adds co-operative play
By Andrew Webster
When we first previewed Vorp, the arcade shooter had just two of its four game modes available to play. One of those unreleased modes was DOtA (short for Defense of the Ancients, a popular mod for strategy game Warcraft III), and ahead of release we had a chance to play a few rounds with the development team at End Games. The real-time multiplayer mode adds co-operative play to the experience, and a surprising amount of room for experimentation.
The mode divides players up into teams of up to five, and the ultimate goal is to destroy the other team's base. However, to do that, you'll first need to not only destroy a series of turrets leading up to the base, but also destroy them in the right order. Oh, and defend your own base and turrets from being destroyed. With a full game things can get very intense, with large-scale battles that are impressive to behold, featuring not only player ships but a number of AI controlled ones, as well.
This type of play almost necessitates communication amongst players, and while I was able to chat with the developers over Skype to help co-ordinate attacks, the game also features a built-in real-time chat box for this as well. You can collect gems to level up your ship, just as in the other modes, unlocking new abilities and weapons. By forcing players to work together, the new mode also offers up opportunity for players to combine their abilities in inventive ways. For example, one player can lay down a mine while another uses a special ability to push that mine towards the enemy's base. This creates its own risks, however, as an opposing player can destroy the mine if they're quick enough, taking out both ships in the process.
One thing the mode isn't designed for, though, is quick play sessions. Matches can go on for up to an hour, though in our experience things tended to end around the 30 minute mark. This, coupled with the fact that you'll likely want to play with friends, makes the new mode something you'll want to plan for as opposed to a game you'll just pop into for a few minutes.
The modes on offer in Vorp continue to impress, and coming next will be the campaign mode, which brings a single-player narrative to the experience. If it's anywhere as engaging as the DOTA mode, we can't wait.
The DOTA mode for Vorp should be available to play later today.
Vorp brings rocket-powered multiplayer battles to Facebook
By Leif Johnson
About seven minutes into my second play session of Vorp, a new space-themed arcade shooter from End Games, I realized I had broken a light sweat. And the funny thing? I loved it. For a moment, all my professional questions about replayability and graphical prowess faded away in light of that one miraculous fact. Here was a promising game on Facebook that wasn't shying away from action and a light challenge, all while making its players forget that they're playing a game on the social media juggernaut. While it's still very much in development, Vorp has a solid foundation here for a hit.
Vorp sports a rather convoluted background story involving an element called "Clichebangium"—or B!, for short—but all you really need to know is that you must break up and collect the green rocks scattered throughout each ten-minute round until your cargo hold is full. Along the way, you also need to pick up the blue shards of "vorp" to refill your ship's energy meter. Once your cargo hold is full, you fly back to the base to dump your haul. If you repeat this step enough, you'll gain enough points to level up and gain new skills and weapons for your ship.
This is essential because you're not alone out there. While you're minding your own business among the green and blue rocks, a host of enemies are ganging up and trying to kill you. And as the minutes go by, these foes get stronger and stronger until you're making decisions about whether to nab that last bit of cargo or just run for your life. Thankfully, you have four widely different ships at your disposal. While many games like this equate "different" with simply slapping different types of guns on each ship, End Games allows for some vastly different choices. In Vorp's current state, you can play as a light fighter (similar to the old favorite in Asteroids), a flame throwing offensive ship, a heavily armored spacecraft that shoots buzzsaws, or the unique "Hirudo" which grabs everything around it with tractor beams.
It's enough to add a crucial sense of variety to the two available gameplay modes, particularly since each ship requires a different style of gameplay. In Survival, you play alone with the goal of killing as many enemies as you can before the 10-minute timer runs out. While useful for practice, it's also a good way to see how you match up with your friends on the leaderboards. But the true strength of Vorp and the best hope for its future lies in its multiplayer Deathmatch mode, in which you battle either your friends or other random players for resources and kills until the timer runs out. It's not always easy to find a match at this point, but it's addicting fun when you can.
Vorp may be simple—with gameplay that recalls both the 1980s classic Asteroids and the recent hit Geometry Wars—but it's quite beautiful for what it offers. The explosions and flame effects are among the best I've seen in a Facebook game, the vibrant graphics look both retro and contemporary, and an irresistible techno track complements the heavy action. Best of all, if you're tired of playing the game within your Facebook profile, you can enlarge the interface to fill your whole screen with just the click of a button.
Vorp would probably be a decent game with its two current modes alone, but End Games plans to add a host of other options that might push it to greatness. Indeed, in an age where many developers slap a "beta" tag on their social games regardless of their states of development, End Games' insistence that this is an "alpha" reveals just how much more it has planned for this promising little title. In the future, for instance, players will be able to battle in new game modes (such as base defense and fox and hound), and even battle with different types of ships. In fact, if you donate $20 to the cause, you gain the "Founder" status for a limited time and a host of goodies that come with it.
For now, though, give Vorp a spin. It's certainly a title worth watching.