Solstice Chronicles: MIA is an RPG-sh, Rogue-lite twin-stick shooter from indie studio Ironward, located in Croatia. The game, which bills itself as a tactical twist on the genre, was born of a successful crowdfunding campaign on Fig, and is expected to be out later this summer (July 26th).
As far as the story goes, a mining accident has taken place on Mars; little else is shown in-game. Plenty of nasty creatures have since infested the area. You and your sentient AI drone have to pick up the pieces, find out what happened to the miners, and clean house. You'll pick up new weapons along the way, such as Gauss guns, shotguns, and flamethrowers for your power-armor-suited Marine to wield (two main weapons at any time, plus one “disposable” weapon that cannot be reloaded). You'll also find various special items such as turrets, grenades, and super ammo packs to help liven up the party.
Your drone friend, Saffron, can also take advantage of a few special abilities of its own – setting a huge bomb that takes time to go off (better run!), bringing you supply drops at the cost of increasing the Threat level (enemy strength/numbers), and the like.
Survival mode is also available, where you have to manage limited resources against increasingly powerful waves of bad guys, constantly moving and discovering new areas so that you can gather much-needed ammo and gear. Feeling overwhelmed? Go for an Evac point. Escape, and you can permanently carry your upgrades forward for future attempts; die on the battlefield, and you lose everything you were carrying. Local co-op Multiplayer is also available in this mode.
In terms of controls, an Xbox One controller seems to work well, though menus benefit from using the mouse. The game uses a modified twin-stick style: the left stick to move (press to sprint), the right stick to aim (press to auto-lock-on), right trigger to fire. Other triggers/bumpers use specific special items. Single-shot weapons use precision aiming via a laser sight; spray-n-pray ones like the shotgun show a spread of possible impact points. You can also pick up and toss barrels that make a satisfying “BOOM” when they land.
As you’d expect from an alien world, the graphics are dark and gritty, creating an Alien-like atmosphere. The visuals really could be cleaned up a bit, though, with more variety, but maybe that’s something that will come with time. At the current time, little to no music is present, but the sound effects and other sounds are pretty solid, adding to the sci-fi atmosphere.