Freaking Meatbags (Wild Factor)
Freaking Meatbags is set in a world where puny humans are even lower on the food chain than lowly cleaning robots. You don’t play as a human in the game though, but as the lowly cleaning robot, named Chip by the way, who has to wrangle the meatbags into performing some labor. Chip is given this unpleasant task after getting on the wrong side of his boss and to make matters worse, he is ordered to protect the humans under his command. This is not an easy feat seeing as his job is to gather resources from planets in a solar system that is on the brink of exploding. Then there is also the small matter of roving bands of wild robots that attack at night.
Freaking Meatbags is basically a strategy title, but as you are given direct control of Chip it has some nice arcade elements as well. During the daytime you have to order the humans around to ensure that resources are gathered and structures are built. As soon as the sun goes down, the wild robots appear and make a beeline for your base, which turns the game into a bit of a tower defense title. To shake things up not every mission requires you to survive a certain amount of enemy waves. Some levels allow you to pick up offensive turrets directly and then shoot at enemies without any base building involved. Others give you a certain amount of days to accomplish goals with your humans, so the gameplay remains varied throughout.
The humans that you “persuade” to help you with your mission start off pretty lazy, but as you complete missions they do get better in areas such as exploring, walking speed and even their willingness to work. You can also “help” them to be more efficient with biotechnological upgrades and brain slugs. When you start encountering other alien species things become even more interesting as you can toss a human and alien together into a DNA mixer and create new and improved humans. Humans that can shoot lasers out of their eyes are just the beginning as you can create even crazier mutations.
Freaking Meatbags blends all these styles and genres together quite well, so it doesn’t take long to become hooked. The pixel art visuals look great and the chiptune soundtrack is just as good which, along with the excellent humor makes for a very entertaining experience. The game is already polished enough that it doesn’t even feel like an Early Access title. The way that you can upgrade Chip, augment and DNA mix your humans, unlock new offensive and defensive structures and experience new missions on each planet makes it hard to put this game down. As great as it already is the developers have some more things planned for the future as well, such as new structures, new meatbag types, new enemy robots, new planets and even a map editor. Linux and Mac fans will also be glad to hear that ports are in the works.
Many Early Access games have a lot of potential or give a good indication about what the game will be like when it is complete, but Freaking Meatbags is something that you can enjoy pretty much right away without anything spoiling the fun. There is a lot that I already love about this game and very little to complain about, which is not often the case with Early Access titles. Freaking Meatbags is one Early Access title that is not just worth keeping an eye on, but worth buying right away.
This preview is based on version 0.8.5252.40190 of the game.