Preview | Grey Goo plays like an RTS champ
In what turned out to be the last game I played during E3 this year, I had the chance to go hands on with Grey Goo, the sci-fi RTS from developer Petroglyph (who has members that worked on Command & Conquer at Westwood Studios) for PC. As a fan of RTS games, and particularly ones like Starcraft, I was excited that Grey Goo plays very much like it, which features your prototypical gameplay mechanics such as collecting resources, building structures and of course, producing a variety of units. However, while other RTS titles have a trio (or foursome) of races, each with their own quasi-similar style, Goo does something very different with one particular race, the titular Grey Goo, which are unlike any race I’ve ever seen.
At first glance, you could say they resemble the Zerg, given how the Mother Goo is purple and all blob-like (when you think about how some of the Zerg hatch and how there’s purple stuff all over the place). But the Mother Goos are giant masses of blobs that can roam around on their own, that can either pick up resources, do massive amounts of damage while attacking, or spew out units. The Goo don’t have any bases to speak of either, as the Mother Goo basically does all the work. After settling a Mother Goo into a resource-heavy area, she can then use those resources to spit out groups of units, each requiring a certain amount of resources. There are clusters of units that are available, and once you’ve selected a cluster (which has a corresponding amount of resource requirement), you can then select one of a handful of units from that cluster.
As I mentioned before, the Mother Goos can also attack, and they’re no push-overs either. They will seriously f*ck you up, and what makes them even more relentless is their ability to climb over things, traverse mountains and basically go wherever the hell they want to. You can even combine mothers to create a powerful weapon of destruction.
The other two races in the game, the Beta and Humans, also have their own “epic units” that can stand up to the mothers, so the game’s balance isn’t at risk here. I managed to play a little bit as the Humans, just to see how they fared and they played a bit more traditionally, with turrets, aircrafts and more. Their bases are also modular so you can rearrange them however you like as long as those structures are attached to the base’s power grid.
I also liked how placing certain structures next to each other produces different effects, which will be interesting if the results are varied. Maps also look quite detailed, and there is a variety of environments with distinct layouts. The game will feature both a single-player campaign, as well as online multiplayer.
Though my time with the game was short, I came away impressed by both gameplay, design and by the odd Goo. Those guys are unique and I am very excited to get more hands-on time with those purple creepy-crawlers when the game releases in the fall.