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EXCUBITOR (the word basically means "sentinel" or "guardian") is an outer space action and adventure game which uses missions and tower defence operations to hold your interest and indeed push you further into the story. To begin with alien drones are attacking the civilian populace and as is always the case, whether it be a tv series, a movie or a computer game, you are the only one who can save them. Flying your trusty old battleship, the Hammerhead" you set off to defend the universe against the marauding hordes, opening new tales and finding new enemies along the way. There is a lot of game here but there is also a lot of learning before you truly can enjoy the action.

Although it is a prototype ship you have flown the Hammerhead for many years, (at least that's the impression I got), like a knight has ridden his trusty steed, it is always in need of upgrading and of course successful missions bring with them the necessary rewards that allow you to customise your ship.Before you can get into the action well enough to be more successful than not you will need to learn how to operate this powerful spaceship and how to identify and aim at and destroy enemy targets before they do nasty things to you (by way of explosions and such like).

EXCUBITOR is NOT a game for the arcade player. It isn't a load and start shooting type of entertainment. It requires some thought, some planning, some listening, some intuition and some understanding. In other words it's "some" game!

The action is exciting once you have a handle on it, but to begin with it is downright difficult because the actions are quite cumbersome and the ship's weapons may as well be firing cotton wool for all the damage they initially do - even a large amount of cotton wool will eventually cause damage. Having two main weapons deployed at a time the placement of these (weapon turrets) as well as the choice of updates and upgrades is your main key to success. This probably means (it definitely did for me) that you will need to suffer a few defeats before you know what you are doing. Having prior knowledge of an enemies tactics is also a boon and you generally only get this during your first combat.

As a tower defence game you are basically a sitting target blasting away at the various and numerous enemy who arrive in droves and attack in waves. It is late in the 22nd Century and humans are, as always, greedy for more energy, though in this case they need it to survive rather than just to make more money, and so the Hammerhead is also looking to gain what are known as Voidshards, elemental fragments that when used collectively and purposefully can give humans all the energy they can ever need.

There are many opportunities to upgrade your ship with new and exciting sounding named weapons, though in principal as long as you place the turrets in the best strategic positions the name of the weapon rarely affects the outcome, just the fact that it is upgraded to the best possible damage dealing power will usually do the trick. You cannot continually fir without overheating but you will be given warnings that overheating is occurring, it's up to you to take notice ... or not !

For an old player like myself I can relate this game back in memory to the original game of Asteroids which in my mind I certainly see as a fore-runner to the beautifully produced game we have here: EXCUBITOR. Okay perhaps my saying EXCUBITOR is advanced "Asteroids" may not be totally fair, because it has advanced way beyond what I could ever have thought it could, but in my opinion that is what it is, Asteroids with knobs on - many technical, shiny, amusing, powerful and fun knobs, but still knobs all the same. 

Not a game to rave over perhaps, but a solid all round play as long as you are prepared to give it the respect and time it deserves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015