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Game Info:

Drifting Lands
Developed by: Alkemi
Published by: Alkemi
Release date: June 5, 2017
Available on: macOS, Windows
Genre: Shoot 'em Up
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $18.99

Thank you Alkemi for sending us this game to review!

Citizens of the Ark live together or die together. They are the few survivors of worldwide devastation that wiped out billions of humans and robots. Together they piece together ships and try to make a living in space, but now they are under attack and must continue to fight for their survival.

When you first launch the game, you’ll have to select one of two difficulty levels and a ship. In the Forgiving mode you won’t ever lose your ship and all of your broken equipment can be repaired (for a fee) and is never destroyed. Normal mode allows for complete ship and component loss. Ships are not cheap, but if you get another and are low on funds, free base components are available to get you flying again.

There are three different ship classes and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. You can always buy the other types later on in the game, funds permitting. The Interceptor is fast and has good firepower; its only drawback is that it only has two armor slots. The Marauder is a more balanced ship that provides three armor slots. If you’re looking for a tough ship then you’ll want the Sentinel with four armor slots. It’s the slowest ship out of the bunch.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Fun and challenging shoot 'em up gameplay with RPG elements for upgrading various ship components for the best configuration possible
Weak Points: No voice acting; good but repetitive soundtrack
Moral Warnings: Language (hell, d*mn, sh*t); drinking/drunkenness; religion shown in a negative light; meditation and references to mother nature; optional smuggling quests

Like many 2D shoot 'em ups your ship has a hit zone that will deplete the shield when it comes in contact with enemy ships or their bullets and/or lasers. Once the shield is gone, your ship’s HP will start to drain. It is always advisable to manually retreat and keep your cargo and credits you have earned instead of losing all of it by relying on the auto retreat module. Without the auto retreat module you could lose more than your current cargo and credits. Even with manual or auto retreating you still have a chance of stuff breaking, or having the retreat fail altogether. Be sure to read each equip-able item’s flaws before attaching it to your vessel.

Your ship has three main attributes: structure, power, and navigation. Depending on the model of the ship, the maximum amount of points you can assign varies. You can purchase and assign points until the maximum amount is reached or your wallet is empty. Many of the components you install will raise and possibly lower these attributes for you. Higher level items have a required minimum amount needed before you can install it. Like many good RPGs, better equipment is just a mission away.

There are three types of missions: story, side quest, and glory missions. Each mission is randomly generated and classified as short, average, or long in length. There are ten tiers and the difficulty spike between each tier is significant. A boss battle/trial must be completed before advancing to the next tier. Since some of the missions are linked together, mastering the manual retreat is a must. It's better to leave on your own terms and not fail multiple missions at once. As you rise in the ranks more ships and power-ups for them become available for purchase. The story missions and side quests only take place in the first five tiers. The later five tiers are for bragging rights and glory missions.

Drifting Lands
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 18/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 76%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 6/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 8/10

The glory missions don’t provide with you with any credits or loot. They’re for ace pilots who want to have their names on the leaderboards. After completing your first couple of story missions you’ll notice that you only get to keep 10% of the credits earned per mission. The rest of the money goes to the crew who provide you with shelter and basic components if needed. The side quests offer a way to make more than the 10% cut as long as you’re willing to supply and smuggle rare and unique items.

Visually, this game looks stunning and there is a lot of eye candy with the bullets, lasers, and enemies all over the place. There's a decent amount of variety in the enemies and bosses. The cutscenes are minimally animated and get the job done. The lack of voice acting is noticeable. While I enjoyed the background music, I noticed the same few tracks playing over and over.

Aside from smuggling, you’ll encounter drinking, drunkenness, mutiny, and foul language. An enemy group has a strong religious slant and demands that your group atone for their sins by taking orders from them. One of the characters meditates and seeks balance with mother nature.

If you don’t mind the moral issues and challenge, Drifting Lands is bound to entertain gamers who enjoy shoot 'em ups and RPGs. With the random levels and one-hundred difficulty levels of challenge, there is plenty of replay value. The asking price is a reasonable $18.99 and there’s a demo available if you want to give it a test drive beforehand.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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