Steam, and Zero Point Software, just offered free access to Interstellar Marines for a week. I played the game for a few hours, to determine if it is worth buying yet.
Interstellar Marines was released via early access on Steam, by Zero Point Software, back in 2012. Interstellar Marines is a tactical, FPS game, that is based in a near future setting.
The game kicks off with a short mandatory tutorial, which does a pretty good job at showing you the ropes. After completing the tutorial, you can jump into multiple options on how to play. Right now there are a few single player campaign missions to try, a four player co-op mode, and a 8v8 competitive multi-player mode.
Single Player, lets you tackle campaign missions, after choosing your mission, you will receive a short briefing of the mission objectives, and then be sent into the map to complete them. I only tried one campaign mission, and it was the exact same mission available in co-op mode. So it looks like to me that the Single Player mode might just be the co-op maps available to play off-line.
The co-op mode is quite fun, and my favourite part of the game currently. There are a few different maps available, and for each map, the goal is to take your four player team into hostile territory to perform various objectives. As your team makes their way around the map, you will be forced to work together to cover your flanks and rear as the AI has a nasty habit of attacking from an unexpected angles.
Competitive mode, has 16 players battling it out on a map trying to obtain way-points. Death is punished greatly, as re-spawn times are quite long, so if you do not play tactfully with your team, be prepared to be watching more then playing.
Weapon Selection for all modes is very limited, you are given a SMG, and a Rifle to battle with. The rifle has a smaller clip and additional recoil versus the SMG, but the rifle does a lot more damage, making it suitable for medium to long range fights. The SMG is handy for close range combat.
There is an XP rank system, you currently gain XP for typical FPS actions such as killing enemies, capturing objectives, reviving team members, etc. You gain levels as you collect XP, but I couldn't find any unlocks or character customization enabled by it yet.
The current visuals are pretty basic. Zero Point Software will need to put some time into styling things up a bit. Everything looks a bit plain, environments are lacking flavour, but the current lighting effects are done well and add some nice atmosphere. The sound quality, on the other-hand, is excellent, AI controlled robots make frightening thumping and robotic sounds as they move around the map. The gun sounds are satisfying, and environmental sounds such as alarms and weather sound realistic.
Interstellar Marines is a long way off from a full release and in my honest opinion, there is not enough content, or polish, to justify the current asking price of the game. If you enjoy supporting early access products, this is a project that has some great potential. I won't be buying in myself just yet, but will be keeping a close eye on the progress of Interstellar Marines. If Zero Point Software keeps adding additional content, fleshing out the experience system, and fixing the bugs, they could have something really decent here.