The Average Gamer – Cannibal Crossing

Once upon a time, in a fit of nostalgia, I purchased an 8-bit rogue loot-and-shoot called Death Road to Canada. It was a fulfilling, randomly generated trek up the Eastern Seaboard, past the encroaching zombie hordes, to the promised safety of Canadian Dominion. It combined all of the best elements of Oregon Trail, Fallout, and The Legend of Zelda.

You have died of dysentery, and your corpse has been consumed by the Irradiated Wasteland Shamblers. I told you it was dangerous to go alone.

I think about escaping to Canada a lot recently. Something in the air, I guess. So, I’ve been seeking distractions, and this game has provided a great deal of entertainment in some trying times.

Practice Makes Average.

So, when the people at RocketCat Games announced a new rogue offering, I was excited to get in at the beginning. And so far, Cannibal Crossing has not disappointed me.

The game begins, as so many do, with a scientist’s discovery of a mysterious substance that consumes matter. The government’s refusal to fund the research of this dangerous, invasive new substance results in an inevitable outbreak, and society collapses on cue.

This feels familiar.
Yep.

There are two modes of gameplay, with several story tracks depending on your character choice. So far, I am fantastic at dying in all of them.

Of a cast of 10 characters, 4 are unlocked at the start of play. You can play as Liam, a combat medic haunted by his past,

I’m still figuring out how to aim

Lola, a no-nonsense dixie-fried barkeep who gets stronger when she rage-drinks.

And yet…

Sgt. Heidi “Shots” Schatz – a mercenary brought in by special forces for her precision with a rifle

Mine, not so much.

and Theodore Quill, a research scientist who might be dabbling in the occult.

Probably the most accurate representation of my personal combat abilities.

Pretty neat that both combat heavy PCs are GIRL CHARACTERS. I like seeing GIRL CHARACTERS in pop culture. It makes the offerings more captivating. Maybe it’s an Autistic thing. Maybe it’s just reasonable to assume that I would want to see characters that I could relate to on such a basic level. The point is, I play as Lola a lot. I find her sass compelling. Maybe I just want to own a bar.

I feel seen.

Don’t be deceived by the cartoonish graphics or the rampant pop culture Easter eggs (both of which I love). There is a staggeringly complex series of metrics governing the moving parts of this game. You find yourself accounting for health, stamina and hunger, in addition to munitions and operational inventory. This is a game that offers itself up for discovery, and I’m having a fine time searching its nooks and crannies for secrets and puzzle pieces. Though it is still in development, it’s robust enough to capture and hold my attention – I just hope I can survive long enough to solve some of these mysteries.

Cannibal Crossing is available in early release on Steam.

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