Published on June 21st, 2012 | by Mark Gibson, Editor/Community Manager
Krater: Shadows Over Solside Review
Genre: Adventure, Action, RPG, Strategy, Indie
Platform: PC [Reviewed]
Review Notes: GAMINGtruth received a copy of Krater on Steam for review purposes.
It’s a bold move to make a top view action RPG in the wake of Diablo III, and unfortunately, Krater: Shadows over Solside doesn’t quite pack enough bang for your buck.
Krater takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where civilization has taken refuse in a giant crater. You play a band of rag tag “diggers” on a quest across the barren wasteland to discover the secrets of the crater’s central shaft. The steam punk-ish world is artistically captivating, and the Terminator-cross-Blade Runner style music is really excellent, but that’s pretty much where the joy in this game ends.
The gameplay is grueling, repetitive and at times boring. Krater is essentially a cave crawling game, or in this case, crater crawling. You play as a three man squad, and while there are four different character classes to choose from in your party, their powers are limited to two, non-evolving moves. For example, the tank character has two melee attacks. Those are unique powers to his character and can’t be upgraded or swapped out. Instead of a skill tree, there is an “implants tree” which allows you to upgrade your characters hit points and defense. Not exactly the standard RPG elements when you really think about it.
Leveling up a party is easy, as fighting enemies isn’t too difficult with a well-balanced party. However, there is a level cap on your characters, and it brings gameplay to a screeching halt until you recruit more diggers to level up. There isn’t really any incentive to continue playing with a maxed out character, as weapons and upgrades are seemingly limited. However, recruiting new diggers to your party is time consuming. If you made it deep into a crater section, you will need to level up your new characters before going back to where you were or else you will be crushed by enemies. It’s the constant backtracking that makes the game grueling.
There is a crafting system in Krater, but it’s almost pointless. You collect blueprints and random junk and assemble weapons and items at a crafting table. The only problem is that most of the items you can craft can be easily found off dead enemies. I found that the weapons I crafted weren’t quite as powerful as the ones I found hours earlier.
The main downfall of Krater is repetition. Fighting the same enemies over and over again is a drag. Three hours into the game and I was already feeling bored. The story line is interesting, but it’s not enough to pull away from the dull gameplay.
Another annoying elements is the dialogue. Characters don’t actually speak. Instead, you read text as they mumble and grumble through their gas masks. It’s amusing for the first few sets of dialogue, but becomes old quick. It also becomes confusing as to why you are given dialogue response choices when the outcome is always the same no matter what you choose. In fact, there are times is the game where the main story comes to a complete stop until you figure out the right responses to make. It’s a feature that seems like more of an afterthought then actually being integrated into the story. The other thing that made me scratch my head was that you are not actually playing as a main character. You are a group of people. So, who exactly is speaking?
However, let’s give credit where it is due. The art direction in Krater is a tad bizarre, but still fun and quirky. The music was honestly my favorite part of the game. The same track plays over and over again throughout the game, but it’s good enough to where it’s not annoying.
Krater: Shadows over Solside is a cool concept for a post-apocalyptic RPG, but there are too many swings and misses. There isn’t enough variety to keep a gamers attention, and gameplay feels like work more than play. Krater is meant to be a trilogy, so we will have to see if the sequel can make up for so many shortcomings.
+ New take on post-apocalyptic game theme
+ Excellent soundtrack
– Repetitive grueling gameplay
– Hard work becomes unrewarding
– Seemingly useless crafting
– Pointless dialogue choices