Geneshift is a top-down shooter. It can played in online multiplayer and in a campaign, both singleplayer and online co-op. There are 6 multiplayer game modes including Capture the Flag, Checkpoint Racing and Zombie Survival. The game features a skill system inspired by the Diablo series and vehicles similar to GTA2. There are 24 weapons and 10 official maps on the multiplayer servers.
Geneshift launches on Steam Early Access on the 27th of April 2017. A demo can be downloaded from the official website. The demo provides limited access to the game, including only the first stage of the campaign and 1 of the 6 online game modes. However players of the demo have access to all skills, weapons, vehicles and chemicals in the game.
Campaign Story & Gameplay
The campaign tells the story of a zombie outbreak. The protagonist and the AI side-kick "Knickers" play as scientists who try to prevent the outbreak from spreading after their laboratory was attacked. The gameplay in the campaign involves fighting zombies as well as enemy AI guards - the so called "Rebels" who released the zombies. As players progress they discover unlocks such as new skills, weapons or vehicles. Once unlocked a player is able to purchase this weapon or unlock this skill for the rest of the campaign. These unlocks carry over into the hardcore and insane difficulty play throughs as well.
The combat against enemy AI guards comes in two main flavors. The first is direct combat, where the AI fires back at you on sight and attacks with skills and weapons. The second is a stealth mechanic, where the AI can not see you unless you stand inside their line of sight, thus alerting them. The various skills you unlock can be used to bypass these stealth guards, such as Invisibility or Teleportation.
The campaign also includes a cash system, where extra cash is earned by killing guards in a combo. This extra cash can be used to buy stronger weapons or vehicles, and is typically saved till the end of each stage to fight against the final boss.
The gameplay in all Geneshift game modes revolves around 4 key areas: weapons, skills, vehicles and chemicals. Each round typically lasts between 30 to 60 minutes. The core gameplay loop involves killing enemies, this awards cash and experience, and this is then used to buy weapons, vehicles and chemicals, or unlock skills. Some servers have a "permanent" option which allows experience and skills to carry across from one server to another. An option for ranked servers is also possible, awarding players ranks based on an ELO rating system. More details on the 4 key areas are as follows:
- Weapons: There are 24 weapons in Geneshift, including pistols, explosives, shotguns and snipers. Weapons are arranged in a 3x8 grid, where there are 8 weapon classes and 3 tiers per class. Each tier becomes more powerful, but more expensive to purchase. For example the rifle class starts with the AK47 selling for $1000, the M4A1 selling for $3000, and finally the Seek Rifle selling for $10,000. The $10,000 weapons are typically called "superweapons".
- Vehicles: There are 10 vehicles which also vary in price. Some vehicles come with special abilities, such as the Torpedo, which can detonate a car bomb, destroying the car and anything near it. Other vehicles allow allies to sit in passenger seats and fire weapons out the windows.
- Chemicals: There are 10 chemicals which also vary in price. Chemicals act in a similar way to buildings in an RTS game. They are placed permanently into the map, resulting in a circular area on the ground that provides long-term benefits. This is different to weapons or vehicles, which are typically destroyed or stolen if you die with them. An example of one chemical is the Sonar Cells, which will reveal any enemies who stand on-top of it. This Sonar Cells will last for the duration of the round. One important aspect of chemicals is that they are invisible to enemy players. So an enemy may be standing in your Sonar Cells and not know it. This results in a game of misinformation, where players must try deduce the location of enemy chemicals based on observing their behavior, but never actually see them to be sure. If you correctly guess where an enemy chemical is, you can use the Neutralizer chemical to try destroy it.
- Skills: There are 33 skills in the game split into 3 skill trees, Physical, Mental and Cybernetic. The Physical tree features more tankish skills and focuses on higher defense. The Mental tree is more like an assassin and focuses on agility. The Cybernetic tree is like a mage and focuses on raw damage output. Players earn skill points as they kill enemies and gain experience. They are then free to invest these points however they please across all 33 skills. Skills in Geneshift also provide a benefit as well as a penalty. The penalty actively harms the caster in some way, and is there to balance against the benefit and provide a more fair competition between players of different skill levels. For example the Vampirism skill has a benefit of life steal, but a penalty of reduced weapon damage.