When a one man team develops a decent game, that is worthy of praise. Such is the case with Impulse Of War, developed by a lone dev who managed to deliver a fairly decent game in what is a fusion of your standard multiplayer elements seen in most FPS games with a bit of pinch of other stuff thrown in from other genres for good measure. Let's get into the details.
Impulse Of War is available on Steam and is free-to-play.
Impulse Of War is a vehicular combat game that features no story. You are greeted by a tutorial in a wide open map, that explains the controls, how to get the in-game currency, build your base, upgrade and customize your vehicles. It sprinkles some enemies across the tutorial map and tasks you with destroying them and that's it. Pretty bare bones, but a game like this doesn't need a more robust tutorial because the premise and gameplay are pretty straightforward and simple. The tutorial area features space for the construction of your base. Right now only two buildings are available, one for generating currency, and other that grants you access to using tanks. The developer seems keen on implementing more buildings and making the construction system more robust cause as is, it doesn't make much sense to even have it.
But this game is all about multiplayer and jumping into it, I expected, as is the case with a lot of early access games, to find barely anyone to play it with, but to my luck and surprise that wasn't the case as most games I played were full 10v10 affairs. You select one of the game modes consisting out of capture the flag and deathmatch, which are pretty known to anyone that has ever played any multiplayer game, plus the game's unique mode – Capture the train which is essentially you staying close and protecting a slow-moving train until it gets to a specified point on the map
The buggy will be your first vehicle and has thrusters that can make it go turbo, jump or re-orient itself in mid-air plus a basic blaster cannon to shoot enemies. The controls are pretty simple but the game's physics often makes you feel not so in control. You mostly feel like there is no gravity or weight to the buggy, where on the other side, the tank feels extremely heavy and slow (but packs a more punch, obviously). Since there are only these two vehicles, I can't tell if the devs intention is to make the vehicles extremely different from one another or are the vehicle handling and the physics not polished enough. When you are not floating like you are on the moon, the shooting can be fun and the action on screen chaotic but it still feels early access with a lot of bug fixing to be done.
Visuals and audio
The game looks surprisingly good for an early access game with a one-man dev team. Sure, the maps are mostly empty but the overall feel is positive as the game adopts a bright and saturated color palette. The desert and forest maps look aesthetically pleasing. The vehicles look a bit cartoonish and simplistic in comparison to the environment but it's not distracting and probably helps with the performance which is smooth despite a bunch of players flying and shooting in every direction imaginable.
What I found missing visual-wise, were the effects and combat feedback. It feels like there is only one vehicle explosion animation and there are not many other effects of shooting different surfaces. The sound has the same problem, you don't feel the impact, the force or the weight of your vehicles or the shooting. The music features only a couple of tracks that are nothing memorable. The also UI needs a lot more work, it serves its purpose but is visually unappealing.
Impulse Of War is free, so try it out for yourself but I can't recommend the game as it is now. I had fun for a couple of matches but it gets old pretty fast. It is still light on features and it offers little satisfaction when driving, destroying enemies or even winning. What is here requires a lot of polish before adding new stuff. The developer promises a lot of new features like robots, spaceships, hovercraft, more buildings, weapons, maps and a lot more but that won't mean much if the core elements, the driving, and shooting don't feel more polished and above all, more satisfying and fun. Set your expectations accordingly as most of the game's problems are excusable since it is still in early access. Sure, it has a lot of potential, promising to resurrect what is a sidelined genre, but it needs a lot more work to succeed in doing that.