Publisher: Nicolas Games
Developer: Intoxicate Studios
System requirements: Windows XP SP2/Vista/Win 7, 2 GHz Intel Core2Duo/AMD Athlon 64 X2 or better CPU, 256 MB graphics card with Shader 3.0 support, 2 GB RAM (Windows XP)/3 GB RAM (Vista/Win 7), DirectX 9.0c
Genre: Third-person shooter
ESRB rating: Not rated
Release date: November 2011
All psychiatrist Dr. Albert Tokaj wanted was an energy drink. He had just fallen asleep during his last session with a patient (his eighth of the day, thanks to the edict of the Shelter’s commanding officer), and he desperately needed a sugar injection. But he ended up in the bar instead when he found the nearest vending machine was empty. Soon after sitting down for a drink with a friend, Albert’s life took a distressing turn…and so begins Afterfall: InSanity, the debut shooter for indie developer Intoxicate Studios.
The Shelter is similar to the vaults of the Fallout series, a three-level underground habitat for survivors of a devastating nuclear war in 2035. It has a very lived-in, grungy look; residents congregate in the corridors while cleaning robots try to stay ahead of the human-generated blight. A monorail system links this shelter with others in the area. And it seems that Dr. Tokaj is not on many Shelter residents’ Christmas card lists; government-mandated therapy sessions have not endeared him to the populace. Still, when the General summons him to go to the lower levels with two security guards to find some missing scientists, he follows his orders and descends to the dark depths of the Shelter, where even darker surprises await him.
I recently had a chance to take the first few hours of InSanity for a spin, and I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen. The Unreal Engine 3-powered shooter delivers some very atmospheric visuals, which become more detailed the deeper you go into the Shelter. Some sections of the complex have a distinctly Doom 3 look about them, with your character having to depend upon a small flashlight and a PDA to navigate the gloomy lower levels. Combat is heavily melee-based; there are plenty of blunt-force weapons to be found (pipes, hammers, electric cattle prods, etc), very few firearms and a scarcity of ammo, most of which is found in dispensers instead of lying around on the floor. And the story has a few interesting twists and turns, with some unique puzzles to solve to top off the experience.
My preview build of Afterfall: InSanity had a few minor problems, including stability and the odd English text typo (much of the text on background monitors and TV screens is in Polish), but I suspect that these will be fixed before the final version of the game is launched at the end of the month. InSanity is shaping up to be a fine, low-budget indie offering. And with publisher Nicolas Games offering a $1 pre-order deal with 10 percent of the proceeds going to charity (click here for details), you could check it out yourself for the change in your couch cushions.