Drone Strike Force from Odisi Games launched into early access on Steam this past Friday. This third-person shooter has players assume the role of a combat drone to fight the wars of the future. In today’s shooter space this concept is pretty unique so I was eager to hop in and see what it was like!
When you first boot up Drone Strike Force you are brought right to your garage. The garage is where you can select which drone you will be using in your next match as well as purchase new drones and weapons. You can also upgrade unlockable skills here. When you first start three drones are available with each fitting into one of three classes. First is the Raptor, as part of the Hunter class, that favors speed and maneuverability at the expense of defense and heavy armament.
Next, we have the Sky Reaper that is part of the Combat class which performs a front-line role of attack or support. Combat class drones are a touch slower than the Hunter class but offer more protection from oncoming shots. Finally, we have the Megadon as part of the Sentinel class which is the heavy artillery in the game. Sentinel based drones are slower than the other two classes but have much higher defense and can equip the largest cannons available in the game.
Movement in Drone Strike Force feels very natural and should come easy to any shooter players. Horizontal movements are mapped to your WASD keys and Vertical movement is mapped to Space and Control for up and down respectively. As you move forward your drone will also fly towards where you are aiming so there are times you won’t use these vertical controls at all. Each drone also comes equipped with a boost that can be activated with a press of the Shift key. Boosting will deplete your drones energy gauge so don’t spam it too long. Again it all feels very natural and I love how it feels to play!
Combat likewise works as you’d expect, aim at enemy drones and blow them out of the sky! Your drones come outfitted with 2 weapons, a secondary ability and an ultimate like ability. Pressing the Left mouse button fires your currently selected weapon while the Right will zoom in. You can switch between your main weapons with either the mouse wheel or the number keys on your keyboard. Using your weapons is also tied into your drones energy gauge and you will need to let it recharge before you can begin firing again. Pressing Q will allow you to deploy your secondary abilities and F will let you use your ultimate. Using your secondaries will deplete them and you will need to find a pick-up on the maps to restore them.
There are currently three different gametypes available to play and they include Team Deathmatch, Domination, and King of the Hill. Deathmatch is a fun game of seeing who can get to 30 kills the quickest. Domination is a map control mode that has three capture points players will need to hold to gain score. The more zones you hold the more points you get. King of the Hill is similar but instead of three zones it is just one singular point that needs to be held. When you begin matchmaking you can be placed in any of these gametypes.
Being a mix of offense and defense I decided to start my time with Drone Strike Force as the Combat class Sky Reaper. Sky Reaper comes equipped with machine guns and a rail gun type projectile by default. The machine guns were great for close-range encounters with their high rate of fire. The rail gun could be used in either close or long-range engagements. It is a slower firing weapon but landing hits with it was very satisfying and destructive! I liked the way Odisi Games setup their weapon systems and boost being tied into a single energy gauge. Using the boost to get into or out of combat also means that you have fewer shots available when you decide to engage. There is a fun strategy involved with managing the gauge in intense situations that can result in a kill or death. The gauge doesn’t take very long to recharge but those few seconds are crucial!
After a couple of games, I had enough money to equip my Sky Reaper with a repair beam to heal my allies out on the field. This new weapon was an absolute blast and I am sure I pissed off more than a few opponents with it this past weekend. As my teammates would be engaging in a fight I would swoop in and heal them at the last seconds before death allowing them to turn the fight around and win! As expected though it didn’t take long for players to realize going after the healer is a good strategy. In these instances, a quick switch to your other weapon and maybe a launch of your ultimate can save your bacon!
After my time with the Sky Reaper I decided to try out the other two available drones and the playstyles are very distinct! The Raptor was a blast to zip around the map with and its close-range shotgun might be my favorite weapon in the game so far. Admittedly there aren’t that many in the game yet but still. The Megadon was also a very different experience with its large cannon and ultimate defensive shield. I really enjoyed using the big guy for the two objective gametypes available but sadly you never know what you are going to get when you start a round of matchmaking.
What It Could Have Done Better
Overall I was loving my time with Drone Strike Force this weekend, but there were a few things that bugged me. First off is the wait time to get into a game. Since the game is new and the population is still low there could be moments I’d have to wait 3-5 minutes to get a match. One extreme was even as long as 7 minutes. This problem will thankfully diminish as the population rises. My next irksome waiting moment came from the in-game respawns. Each death results in a 10 second waiting period before you are back in the action. While this length is great for the objective game modes it could feel like an eternity in Deathmatch. Hopefully, a patch will come out to shorten this time for the mode. My last big gripe came from the drones secondary abilities. As you use them they are depleted making you have to go and find a recharge for them, which is cool, the problem lies in death not resetting them. If my drone exploded and I have sent out a new one should it not be reloaded?
Honestly, the 2 biggest issues I have so far with the game are easily fixed and the last will be better once people begin to realize how much fun the game is. And yes I found the game to be very enjoyable. It is hard to play a shooter that genuinely feels unique in this day and age, but Drone Strike Force has pulled it off! Tried and true shooting mechanics combined with the joy of free movement in all axis is a combination I can enjoy for years to come. Drone Strike Force is only in early access now but the groundwork here is solid enough to carry it to great heights! For the $20 asking price you can do far worse check it out today.