'Minimum' Twitch Shooter / MOBA Hybrid Seeks to Carve Out Niche

By Published September 11, 2014 at 7:12 pm

It's rare that GN Editor Steve and I are able to play games at trade shows, and even rarer that we enjoy them. Alas, following-up on our Nosgoth coverage, it's time we played Human Head Studios' Minimum, published by Atari.

Named for the game's minimalistic styling, developers Human Head Studios aimed to make a twitch-shooter with borrowed MOBA mechanics. The result is a 5v5 third-person shooter with dialed-back MOBA lane/creep aspects and, despite the seemingly odd combination, we think it works.

The game currently has three game modes: team deathmatch, the user-demanded horde mode, and its signature “Titan” mode. In “Titan” mode, players assist AI-controlled titans across the map. Titans spawn on timed intervals and slowly tread toward one another, eventually colliding and battling it out head-to-head (with players providing supporting firepower). Once the Titans have been destroyed, players are given a short period to seek and destroy passive creeps.

Passive creeps provide power-ups for Titans, so it's encouraged that players on each team kill creeps (and each other) in time for the next Titan spawn. In the map we played, two walls and two turrets block the path of Titans, making for strategic choke points where players can combat one another in the shadow of Titans.

Hands-on time with Horde put us on a space station with altered gravity (think: Quake, UT), battling against waves of AI-controlled enemies. Because the game doesn't feature any overt setting, the creators are eager to experiment with various maps without being glued to a particular environment. The space station map features forcefields, beautiful lighting effects with thanks to Enlighten on Unreal Engine, and low gravity zones. We'd like to see this map move into other game modes – especially TDM – given its dynamic playstyle and classic twitch-shooter setting.

minimum-pax-2

Minimum's most differentiating gameplay element has yet to be discussed: Equippable item drops to visually and mechanically enhance characters. Throughout a match, players can pick up items that last throughout the session. Items can be equipped to the chest, head, and legs; items expire at the end of a match and must be re-earned, though in-game currency (not micro-transacted) will allow permanent purchase of equipment for persistent use in matches.

The game doesn't have any map-making options for players (and we think it'd be the perfect direction for the game), but if Human Head and Atari live up to their promises of iterative updates, it could come along eventually.

To focus on the game's minimalistic design, Minimum won't offer micro-transactions, instead opting for a more traditional one-time purchase of $10. I don't think Minimum will steal any spotlight, but the game stands as a fun addition to the twitch-shooting marketplace, made different with MOBA inspiration. It's the simplicity we liked most – very pick-up-and-play in style.

- Keegan "HornetSting" Gallick, additional reporting by Steve Burke.

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