Compromised Preview: Retro, Twin-Stick Action

At PAX East last weekend, I sat down to play the new local multiplayer portion of Super Soul Studio’s indie game Compromised. The single-player game, which has been out on Xbox Live Indie Arcade and in beta on PC for some time, is getting a multiplayer update in the coming weeks, and I got a chance to test it out early.

Compromised is a twin-stick, top-down shooter where you control a spaceship in battles against waves of enemies. It feels like Asteroids only with better graphics and sounds. By using the left stick to move, the right stick to aim and fire, and specific trigger buttons to use things like bombs and missiles, players navigate through levels on a mission to defend the planet while fighting off waves of invading viral enemies.

Walking up to the booth where already a few guys were playing, I was handed a controller and told to jump in. By pressing start, an extra ship suddenly popped up on the screen. In an instant I was playing. The game is incredibly simple, and the learning curve is nonexistent. With friendly fire off, all I had to do was shoot baddies and keep advancing forward with my teammates.

Scores on each corner of the screen let each player know how well they were doing. In the ensuing chaos, I lost sight of my ship a couple times, resulting in untimely deaths. After dying, I simply had to wait a few seconds before I was respawned to continue fighting.

Near the end of the level, players had to coordinate attacks in order to win. While I and another player shot at generator to lower a boss’ shield, the other two shot at the vulnerable enemy to take him out. Instances such as this made me feel like Compromised co-op component wasn’t just a single-player experience with multiplayer tacked on; working together was necessary to win, and that made it fun.

I didn’t play the game for long, but the time I did spend with it was enjoyable. The game is obviously a throwback to the simpler days of gaming, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. While not for everyone, older gamers nostalgic for the days of the NES and Sega Genesis could have a good time with this title, and the addition of local multiplayer is shaping up to be a mode worthy of attention.

You can get the game now on Xbox Live Arcade for three bucks or on PC for five. You can get your hands on the multiplayer update when it releases for free for Compromised owners in April.

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