It's a good day when you can pick up a local indie — and you struggle to put it down.
I first saw Super Mutant Alien Assault at a Beer & Pixels event, a gathering run by the local chapter of the Independent Game Developers Association. It's mostly an opportunity for developers to mix with other developers over food and a couple of drinks.
Most of them are students from local colleges and universities. Some of them are people chasing up passion projects. SMAA (not the anti-aliasing technique) is the latter, the by-product of Sydney developer Chris Suffern.
"My friends and family know I’m a little obsessed with games," Suffern writes on the website for his studio, Cybernate. "If you have a love for challenging, hardcore games that you can play with or against your friends, you’re in for a real treat."
And that's what SMAA basically is. It's a one-screen rogue-like platformer where you pick up weapons and fight off waves of enemies while protecting or destroying a number of objectives. Each level, including the weapons, enemies, objectives and layout, is randomised. The trailer below gives you a good idea of how it all comes together.
SMAA actually started life as a flash game on Kongregate, where it was called Mutant Alien Assault. The premise was pretty similar there too: shoot the mutants, return fuel rods back to the ship's nuclear reactor and survive the waves of enemies until the hyperjump drive kicked in.
SMAA is will be available through Early Access on Steam from next week for US$10. It's "about 85% complete" and has all the main features, and Suffern hopes to have the game released for PC and consoles next year.
It's worth noting that the game is fully funded as well, with the Early Access release "purely about polish and feedback". "The full game will launch regardless of what revenue we make during Early Access," Suffern wrote on the Steam page.
If you do pick Super Mutant Alien Assault up, make sure you play with a friend. It only supports two player local co-op, but like most things it's substantially more fun with company.