Terrian Saga: KR-17
When a vital military base on the planet Valiant is sabotaged, thousands of killer robots are released to cause chaos. Shortly thereafter, military drones are sent in to liberate the base, but things don’t exactly go as planned and KR-17 is left as the only surviving drone. Taking control of KR-17 and his guided missile sidekick, J1M, you must eradicate the hordes of enemy robots and uncover their true intentions.
As someone who grew up with the PC platformers such as Duke Nukem, Bio Menace, Commander Keen and Jill of The Jungle, I will always have a soft spot for the genre. KR-17 might have a visual style that is closer to titles from the 32-bit era, but the gameplay is pure classic platforming. Terrian Saga KR-17 features sixty five boards set in nine themed zones and while things start out easy enough, it is not a game that you are going to breeze through. Finishing levels require a bit more exploration than simply walking from left to right and you will have to flip switches, push buttons and collect colored key cards if you want to progress. Anyone that fondly remembers the platform titles of the 90s will feel right at home with this game.
Your character is a military drone so it comes packed with all kinds of firepower. Apart from firing standard bullets you can also use secondary attacks such as mines, grenades and even a flamethrower to take down enemies. The secondary attacks require energy though, so if you run out you have to head to the nearest recharging station to top up. J1M is also powered by energy and can be sent into areas where KR-17 cannot go. As J1M is a guided missile its only interaction with the gameworld is exploding, but this comes in useful for blowing up obstacles in order for Kr-17 to proceed. Don’t worry as J1M returns even after exploding, so you can use him until your energy runs out. I also found J1M useful for exploring the levels and checking out where I might have missed a button or switch, although maneuvering requires some skill as he cannot stand still and if he touches anything solid he explodes. You’ll also find a jetpack on some levels which makes it even more fun to get around.
Your enemies are a varied bunch with their own attack patterns which means destroying them takes a bit more thought than just spraying bullets in their direction. Some will reflect your shots back at you while others will send dangerous debris flying in all directions when they explode. Destroyed enemies remain on the screen which is a nice visual touch and the large, colorful sprites give the game lots of personality. I did find that the foreground sometimes blends in too well with the background which can cause issues with some of the instant death traps like water or electricity. Luckily, there are plenty of save spots dotted around which you have to activate manually, but remember that these serve more like checkpoints because if you quit in the middle of a level you will restart from the beginning the next time you play.
Although the levels are teeming with enemies your main challenge will come from the tricky platforming sections and the puzzles. Some areas require pixel perfect jumping, which although not as strenuous as something like Super Meat Boy can still be quite challenging if you are not experienced in the genre. There are also 8 bosses to deal with and some require different tactics to defeat, such as the first boss, which is a spider racing you across the level while dropping down explosives to destroy the platforms you are standing on if you are not quick enough. Playing with a keyboard is serviceable, but I would really recommend a good controller to get the most out of the game.
The audio in Terrian Saga KR-17 is very good and matches the retro feel of the game perfectly. The sound effects also manage to recreate that retro atmosphere without being annoying or out of place. Overall the game does a great job capturing the look and feel of a 90s era title while avoiding most of the pitfalls such as repetition and lack of variety. Like I mentioned before, the game becomes quite challenging as you progress, but novices will be glad to hear that there are selectable difficulty levels. Playing on an easier setting might make the enemies less of a threat, but you will still have to deal with the tricky platforming and puzzles that are strewn in. The game also features some very challenging Steam achievements as well as leaderboards. There were a few issues during the initial release of the game such as savegames becoming corrupt and minor control annoyances, but the developers squashed these bugs within a week.
Terrian Saga KR-17 is really a game that offers a great retro experience without feeling like it is just using the style as a shortcut or because it is in vogue. It provides some great nostalgia if you grew up with these types of games, but has enough substance that modern players won’t find it to be too simple. Best of all, the price is ridiculously low considering the amount of content that the game has. The Indie platforming market is pretty saturated at this point, but Terrian Saga KR-17 is enjoyable enough to stand out from the pack and come highly recommended.
*Review originally published July 2014 based on version 1.1 of the game
- Minimum PC System Requirements
- Recommended PC System Requirements
- Recommended SteamOS + Linux System Requirements
- Minimum Mac OS X System Requirements
- OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP / Vista / 7 / 8
- Processor: 1.2GHz processor
- Memory: 1 GB RAM
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- OS: Microsoft® Windows® XP / 7
- Processor: 1.4GHz processor or faster
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Additional Notes: Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller or XInput compatible controller recommended.
- OS: Ubuntu 14.04
- Processor: Intel Core i5 2.8Ghz or equivalent
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 450, AMD Radeon HD 5670 or better
- Hard Drive: 3 GB available space
- OS: 10.6.3, 10.9
- Processor: 2.5ghz processor
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: OpenGL 2.0 compatible graphics card, 258 MB video memory
- Hard Drive: 3000 MB available space