Subsiege by Headup Games and Icebird Studiosis is a “real-time tactic game with focus on massive 12-player battles” that has been in development for a few years, and is now in early access on Steam. It’s clearly inspired by a variety of RTS games such as Starcraft, as well as by MOBA’s such as League of Legends. The setting is one which is relatively uncommon for these genres: underwater, hence the submarine units which the player controls.
The crystals are your friends. Collect as much as you can. But focus on oxygen more.
Let me make something clear – I have never played a MOBA or an RTS game in my life. It’s not that I was never interested in them; I simply just never got around to trying any. But it didn’t take long for me to understand the rules of Subsiege: collect crystals to upgrade your sub fleet, collect oxygen to stay alive, collect gas to upgrade your fleet, and kill your enemies before they kill you. The rules may be simple, but there is more to the game than that. Your greatest enemy is not the other player but rather the oxygen meter at the bottom right corner. If that reaches zero, you lose. At the beginning of each game, you start off with about four minutes’ worth of oxygen. This encourages you to think and play extremely quickly…which was not a good thing for me. My first several matches destroyed me over and over again. And did I mention they weren’t even real games? They were practice against AI opponents. I died more often than the average newcomer to the Dark Souls series. I still am not sure how to play the game well.
Oh great – a giant fish that can one-shot all my units
Of course, I cannot the fault the game for my own lack of skill and experience, but I wish the tutorial was more helpful when it comes to various strategies and explaining the abilities of each submarine unit in the fleet. That’s the biggest obstacle to MOBA newbies here: the daunting descriptions and abilities of each sub unit. Perhaps a more in-depth tutorial could make the game more attractive to outsiders of the genre.
Despite the game’s touting of 12-player multiplayer battles, I was only ever able to experience 1v1 gameplay. And I didn’t even get the chance to play with an actual player. Much like another multiplayer-only, early access Steam game I reviewed back in January (Heavy Gear Assault), no one is playing Subsiege. I did attempt to arrange a game session with at least one other person, but the only players who responded to my forum post lived in faraway time zones that conflict with mine way too much to have worked around. In fact, I’m only now realizing that may be a significant reason why the servers are so vacant for me – a good chunk of the game’s audience may or may not live in Europe. (This is pure conjecture on my part, but this article from a few months ago makes it appear as though the game has not really reached western audiences yet: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/11/14/subsiege/)
Every early access developer’s biggest fear: no one is playing their game
Unless you have at least one friend whom wants to play this game with you, don’t bother with Subsiege yet. It’s far too empty, in terms of players, to justify the $30 price tag. That’s a bit of a shame, because the game would be a lot more fun if there was a sizeable player base. Otherwise, it’s one of the more promising early access Steam games I’ve played. And that’s coming from someone who has never even touched a MOBA or an RTS until now.
Here is the Subsiege Release Trailer:
Subsiege is now available for PC on Steam Early Access.