Wickland revels in its silliness.
Players barely touch the ground when they’re dueling in arenas – they’re skating at a ridiculous speed. Animations of fireball-throwing goblins are so fast they look like a malfunctioning action man.
There have been several takes on the revival of mid-90s arena shooter. The ill-fated Reflex chipped down the futuresport core, making it as tight as possible. The next Unreal Tournament is being pumped full of high-end technology. Quake Live just said ‘eh, we’ll use all the old stuff again.’
Mad Ram games have carved out their own identity with Wickland. Rather than RPGs, railguns and hulking marines, it has gruesome spells and a roster of mythical beasts. Apes, lizards, goats and lychens scrap in medieval environments.
Every beast (there are eight to choose from) have their own unique primary and secondary abilities, in addition to special health and armor stats. Players get variety by morphing into different beasts – they’re picked up on the map like weapons.
Like classics FPSs, learning the spawn timing of the beasts is vital to success. You’ll be able to inflict wounds on walking lizards cross three maps and two game modes: Free-for-all and Duel, where the game’s central experience is. Duel mode is 1v1 and beasts don’t respawn, so each player has a unique set of attacks.
Despite the new system, Mad Ram are aiming keep Wickland within the competitive grounds of the genre’s history. Eventually the game will have offline mode to practice with bots, clan support and 5 additional maps.
Mad Ram is a team of five developers based in Taipei, Taiwan. Wickland is their first game, with work starting in late 2013. It’s currently a steal at £4.89 ($7.66), with the 30% discount ending soon.