Gareth Hillston reviews the unique Cortex Command
Far into the future humanity is in competition with everything else in the galaxy for gold, because it’s obviously the most valuable resource for space travel, and will stop at nothing to succeed. Playing like a mix of Terraria and a RTS, Cortex Command pits you against all the other opportunists on the planet to destroy their commander brain-cases and claim the gold for your own.
The game offers a huge amount of variety through different game types including standard skirmish, one man army, bunker defence and rocket keepy-uppies, as well as six unique factions with their own units and dozens of weapons. It also features a campaign mode in which you vie for control of mining sites around the planet, fully constructing your bases to defend, and attack the enemy. It supports four-player local multiplayer (sadly no online) and this is where the game is at its best.
Playing with friends is similar to Worms except far more hectic, being in real time. Units always explode with satisfying pixely gore, the range of weapons leads to plenty of innovation and the physics engine introduces many interesting ways to kill units which are never the same and always brilliant.
However the physics engine doesn’t always work in your favour and can then be quite frustrating, in addition to some lingering post-alpha bugs and unit movement that will occasionally leave your soldiers flailing on the floor the game does sometimes feel as though it’s working against you. Additionally the campaign is somewhat lacking in any kind of progression in terms of weapons or abilities, or much actual story.
It is though worth noting that this game was designed with modding in mind and makes it very easy to mod; there are already entire scripted campaigns, extra maps and factions available. It promises to keep providing free content far into the future.
Whilst it can’t compete in terms of skill with other strategy games and definitely can’t be taken as seriously, if you like the sound of piloting a rocket full of crabs directly into your friend’s brain it may just be for you.
Cortex Command was made by Data Realms LLC and is out now for PC