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Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal

November 22, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Sadly, it’s been a few years since I’ve managed to play the original “Creeper World” released back in 2009.  I do have fond memories of playing it, not to mention that it was addictive beyond belief.  The original “Creeper World” was a mix of real-time strategy and tower defense.  Every map featured multiple levels of terrain, starting points for the “creeper” to spawn, and a base that you had to protect at all costs.  Unlike other tower defense games, you only had to face one enemy…though it oozed throughout the map like a cascading waterfall and your towers were the only thing holding it back.  Your goal?  Extend your power network to the energy totems scattered around the map so that you could advance to the next level.  I missed out on “Creeper World’s” sequel, though I’ll be rectifying that by reviewing the third game in the series titled “Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal”.  Before we roll up our sleeves and get to work, I’d like to thank Virgil Wall from Knuckle Cracker, LLC for providing me with a free press copy.

Creeper World 3

Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal (Windows, Mac)

The main menu allows the user to participate in a few different modes, though you’ll need to complete a series of missions in the Arc Eternal story mode first in order to unlock them.  It’s probably for the best anyway, as these initial stepping-stones will guide you through learning the ins and outs of the game.  In the settings menu, you’ll be able to adjust screen resolution, toggle fullscreen, change keybinds, tweak audio levels, and mess with the color schemes a bit (creeper color, etc.). Just as a side tidbit, “Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal” runs off of the Unity Engine instead of Adobe…the latter of which was used to run the very first game in the series.

After playing “Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal” for a while, I discovered that there are a lot of similarities between this game and the first one in the series…at least, on the most basic of levels.  You’re still immersed in a tower defense/real-time strategy hybrid that tasks you with staving off the creeper while completing a particular objective.  The differences lie in the details…oh and what differences they are!  More enemy types (besides the creeper), more turrets, terraforming, experimental weapons, more maps, the ability to mine ore, and much more.  It’s comparable to watching the original “Star Trek” episodes from the sixties and then watching the latest movie by J.J. Abrams.  It’ll be hard for me to go back to the original “Creeper World” after exploring the options I had in “Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal”.

While there is a dedicated campaign mode, the real fun lies in the ability to customize your experience.  Players will not only be able to randomly generate maps based on size, shape, and dimension, but they’ll also be able to create their own.  For those of you who just don’t get kicks out of creating maps and scripting enemies yourself, the online community is more than willing to accommodate.  It’s there you’ll find hundreds of maps created by folks who do have the time to craft such things.  This works well for me, as my lifestyle doesn’t always grant an abundance of free time.  Uploading your creations is fairly simple and are done via your Projects menu, the same place you’ll be creating your maps.  The DMD is where you’ll find the maps have been uploaded by you and other players, as well as an “I feel crazy” button (via the “Edit DMD” tab) that randomizes a map for you.  It’s worth noting that a future patch plans to introduce the “Colonial Space” option on the main menu, which allows you to download maps created by others.

So, you’re probably wondering to yourself, “Great, but how does it play?”  In most cases, you’ll start off with a blank map and will need to choose where to place your base.  From here, you can use the menu located on the very bottom of the screen in order to purchase and place other structures.  These structures range from energy collection and defense to weapon platforms and special/experimental weapons.  The same menu also allows you to adjust the flow of play in regards to speed, as well as zoom in and out.  You’ll also find a handy height indicator, which changes depending on where your mouse cursor lies.  Height plays a fairly important role in regards to how the creeper flows around the map.  Along the top of the interface you’ll find your available resource counters.  The basic idea is to generate more resources than what you’re spending…so you can’t go all turret happy until you have a surplus of energy, for example.

Creeper World 3

Blowing up the creeper is fun, but watch those reserves!

Resource management really is the key to winning any map, especially since gaining energy often involves branching out to other areas occupied by the creeper.  The more room you have in which to work, the more potential resources you’ll have available.  The challenge is placing your turrets in a way that ensures your defense all the while allowing you to offensively expand your reach.  As such, you’ll be forced to make some pretty tough decisions.  Build too slow, and the creeper will reach important choke points that could have otherwise saved you a lot of headaches later on. There’s also the danger of expanding too soon and not having the energy to cover a larger perimeter, allowing the creeper to destroy all your hard work.

While you’re constructing resource generating buildings and building up your defenses, you’ll come across items on the map with which you can interact. There are also different enemy types besides the creeper that will force you to cover everything as opposed to keeping your turrets situated on the front line.  Luckily, you’ll have things like airstrikes, beam weapons, and other goodies to help out with these threats.  In most cases (at least in the campaign), you’ll be hopping from planet to planet and solar system to solar system in search of keys, which in turn unlock new worlds to play. To acquire these keys, you’ll have to either maneuver around or destroy the creeper generators and attach your network to these items.  It’s a lot to learn at first, but the learning curve is fairly light.

When it comes down to it, “Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal” keeps the addictive quality of the original alive and then some.  The extra content is just icing on the cake and almost assures return visits. In terms of whether or not it is suitable for kids, I’d have to go on record and simply say, “yes”.  There is no blood/gore and as an added bonus, it promotes critical thinking in that you’re forced to tackle maps in a systematic way.  Coming at the creeper from one side may not work, for example, but establishing a foothold elsewhere might be what you need to advance.  In a sense, this game is not only a real-time strategy/tower defense hybrid, but it’s also part-puzzle and will certainly make you think.  This combination is great for kids and adults alike, in my opinion.  All in all, “Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal” is a brilliant addition to an already fantastic series.  While this game is without a doubt a keeper, there’s a free demo on the official website (link below) should you wish to try before you buy.

Final Verdict: 9/10

You can learn more about and purchase “Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal” by visiting the following websites:

http://knucklecracker.com/creeperworld3/cw3.php

http://www.desura.com/games/creeper-world-3-arc-eternal

You can help bring the game to Steam by voting for it on its Greenlight page, here:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=191501079

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