Indie Review: Krater
From the start, Krater is a difficult game to categorise as it fits quite nicely into the niches of both RTS and RPG, but what one definitely feels when playing the game is a true dungeon crawler experience. However, not in the tradition of Diablo, Dungeon Siege, Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights and others of that ilk, yet with a post-apocalyptic setting that takes more from the world of Fallout than anything else. The first part of the game released so far is called Shadows Over Solside and sees you exploring the nation of Solside.
- Addictive?Yes, it's quite addictive.
- Worth The Time?If you enjoy RPGs, Krater is worth your time. Especially, if you love a touch of RTS mechanics in your RPG mix.
- Things LovedI love the visual design, quirky characters, core combat mechanics and crafting system.
- Things HatedI didn't like the slow framerate problem present in certain in-game areas and the lack of diversity within enemy ranks.
- RecommendationIf you enjoy Magicka, Fallout and old school RPGs. Then this may be for you.
- Quick ConclusionKrater is a good game with great potential and if you're looking for a well priced RPG experience, this may be it. I enjoyed the post-apocalyptic setting of the game, the combat mechanics and characters. Fatshark have done a good job with the game, and it shows through the quality of Krater.
- Name: Krater
- Genre: RPG
- Players: 1-2
- Multiplayer: Co-op (to be added)
- Platforms: Steam
- Developer: Fatshark
- Publisher: Fatshark
- Price: $14.99 (R124)
- Reviewed On: Steam
Effectively, the game takes the gameplay mechanics of an action RPG and combines it with RTS tactics reminiscent of older games like Syndicate and the first two Fallouts. Whilst Krater at first appears to be a simple hack and slash affair, the game opens up. The world is extensive and with another two DLC add-ons promised and in the development, which progress the story further, the game looks to be quite an adventure. Glancing over the world map, the game’s world is large for an indie game which oozes great detail in every corner of the world, that is well crafted and conceptualised.
The story follows a band of Free-diggers, who have come to the centre of crater (the results of a nuclear explosion) where the population of the world has dwindled. Mankind managed to survive, and in Sweden where this catastrophe emanated from, remnants of scattered survivors have formed around the crater. Many of these people are called Free-diggers and roam through the catacombs of underground caves in the Underside, a vast network of underground caves within Krater. The first point of departure for the weary gang of misfits you control is small town of Norrmalm. Your objective is to pick up assignments, loot and survive the post-apocalyptic world, and at the same time solve a larger mystery which looms over the world of Krater.
Your initial squad of Free-diggers is made of three members from the beginning. This group is made up of a tank, medic and long range rifleman with highly unusual Swedish names, well that’s what I assumed. Each member of the squad is fully controllable with assigned attacks and abilities which can be levelled with boosters and implants that can be synthetically integrated into your characters. For example, you could have focus boosters and implants for a focus-based character, and as a result continually integrate those types of boosters and implants into that character. This means that to a great extent ‘stats’ on your characters are modifiable, with the right choice of boosters and implants. Most of which can be found in loot, rewards and bought from merchants you encounter across the wasteland.
The crafting system is very well developed within Krater and gives you the choice to craft an assortment of weapons from guns, to melee weapons ans other gadgetry. With the post-apocalyptic setting, swords, sorcery and magic of any kind are not be found and I found this quite refreshing from the tropes that the games in this type of genre normally follow, especially from a story and setting stand point. Furthermore, characters are affected adversely by injuries and gain experience from bouts with the various mutants that travel through the wasteland, and contribute significantly to the progression of your character. Subsequently, as you progress enemies become stronger and the stakes are higher, and your squad of Free-diggers become increasingly challenged by the foreboding wasteland that is Solside.
The gameplay adds tremendously to the feeling of “survival against all odds”, and enriches the experience even more so. Krater is not simply a hack and slash game, rather it is more concerned with how you think on your feet, and utilise the strengths and weaknesses of your squad. Without understanding the basic statistics, strengths and weaknesses of the characters within your squad you won’t make it very far through the game. In that sense, the game offers a true RPG experience with great amounts of loot and gives the player the opportunity to strategise and not run into situations guns blazing. Each ability you use in a fight has a cooldown period, and characters don’t have unlimited amounts of attacks, healing and what have you. So strategy becomes a necessity for progression in the game. That typifies the gameplay experience of Krater beyond anything else. Specifically, when you’re managing three squad members with each character having three unique abilities or attacks.
On the visual front, I was pleasantly surprised by the visuals of Krater. For a grunge-infused dirty place of a world, Krater’s aesthetics are clean and fresh with a colourful array of characters that brings to life the game world. Sidequest NPCs are fleshed out and don’t feel tacked on to the experience. The world feels post-apocalyptic and for that I was sold on the visuals for the game. The soundtrack was well suited to the all-round experience and didn’t reach the heights of other indie RPGs I’ve played over the past year. It was still a good effort and made the game more enjoyable.