February 16, 2017 12:00 PM | Thomas Faust
To call Dimension Drive's development history turbulent would be quite the understatement. Raising enough money on Kickstarter, just to have a very generous pledge withdrawn in the very last moment must have been a truly heartbreaking blow. After nearly giving up on the game, creators 2Awesome Studio tried again to fund continued development, and their second attempt turned out to be successful.
Today, Dimension Drive releases as an Early Access title on Steam, and 2Awesome Studio have thought of something quite special to get people to spend their money on an unfinished game.
The game is a vertical shoot 'em up with a rather interesting mechanic: your screen is essentially divided into two separate battlefields, and you can switch between them at will. Not only does this allow you to evade enemy fire, it also lets you overcome obstacles. To get a better idea of how this works, let's just have the trailer do the talking:
The thing is: this is a cool feature, but without suitable level design, it is worthless. And that's where Dimension Drive manages to win you over. The existing content uses the full potential of the switching mechanics, constantly challenging you with new ideas. Some of the stages make your head hurt in a good way, as keeping both battlefields in your sights while zipping around is no mean feat.
Many a game over happens because you accidentally teleport yourself into a wall, or you're getting torn to pieces by enemy fire because your attention was focused on the other screen. There's definitely a learning curve, but it's more fun than frustrating.
Dimension Drive can - and should! - also be played as a co-op game. Two players, watching out for each other and totally not flying into walls because they confused the other player's ship with their own. No sir, that totally wouldn't happen to me. In any case, it's a blast and if you happen to have a capable pilot at your side, make absolutely sure to play it together.
The game has just entered Early Access, and it's understandable if all of this doesn't quite convince you to pay for a linear, half-finished product. However, 2Awesome Studio found a rather elegant solution for this particular predicament. David Jiménez, lead game designer, explains it like this:
"We didn't want to release new levels of the story mode until they are polished. We came up with the idea of releasing the first 2 worlds that are very polished and stable and engage the community with something new to play every 2 weeks on The Multiverse, a new mode exclusive to Early Access.
Each Multiverse level is only available during a 2 week period. Once the period is over, a new one releases and the previous one is gone forever. It's basically a bi-weekly challenge with a manually designed level. This solves the problem of Early Access for us, people will have something new to play every 2 weeks and we avoid releasing broken levels of the main story. Our target was quality."
Early Access exclusive levels and leaderboards as additional incentive to buy in early sounds like a neat concept. If the existing levels are anything to go by, you'll probably need all the exercise you can get to vanquish the alien invaders in the full game!