Home Features Trident’s Wake Early Access Preview – co-op twin-stick shooting

Trident’s Wake Early Access Preview – co-op twin-stick shooting

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I may be imagining this, but couch co-op seems to be on the rise again. While it’s definitely still sitting in the hospital recovering from the devastating wound online multiplayer inflicted upon it, it seems to be trying to open its eyes again and asking for a glass of water from the nurse who’s just so happy to see it coming to. There’s something special about couch co-op that can’t be captured by a long distance internet connection.

The soft leather of a good sofa uniting friends and players into a singular experience, the uproarious laughter that results from silly mistakes or missed shots and the overpowering aroma of whatever weird flavour of chips Steve brought to snack on. Trident’s Wake is all about that co-op experience, taking all of those real world factors and uniting them with shooting lots of aliens.

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Still in early access, Trident’s Wake is a twin-stick shooter that plays just how you’d expect it to. Dropping into a level, receiving a set of objectives to complete before evacuating, and blasting through everything that tries to stop you. It’s simple and uncomplicated, making for an experience that’s easy to pick up and play. Which isn’t to say the game is easy; ammo is sparse, many of the combat spaces are tight and claustrophobic and the enemies just get bigger and bigger the longer you stay alive.

It’s challenging to say the least, and if you want to make it even more so, stages have a series of modifiers that allow you to tweak the experience anyway you like. Enemies with double health? Sure thing, you monster. No health stations? Go for it, if that’s your thing.

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Trident’s Wake is meant to be played with friends. While there is online support, local co-op is at the centre of the game. While it doesn’t alter the core experience, one can feel in the combat design that it was built for multiple players to shred up some aliens. As a single-player experience, the game feels a touch empty. Starting with only two locations to fight in, players will have to run them each enough to “liberate” the areas and unlock new levels.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s grindy, but I respect a game that knows it’s about the grind and doesn’t offer…shall we say “shortcuts” to simplify the experience. It’s the dedication to an idea that sells me on it. There’s room to expand the experience, with new levels already in development, but nothing quite matches the feeling of storming a derelict space station with friends at your side, ever inching closer to reaching your final objective.

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Outside of shootin’ boys, there’s a wealth of customisation for your playable characters, known as Sentinels. From cosmetic changes to abilities and weapon loadouts, the gameplay loop focuses on completing missions, earning points, spending those points on getting stronger, repeat. It necessitates a repetitive sort of gameplay, but if you’re the sort of player who enjoys the grind and progressively unlocking more items to feel more powerful, it’s a loop you’ll find familiar and addictive. Hopping into just one more session to grind out the necessary weapon parts I needed to upgrade my shotgun was a common occurrence during my time with the game.

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There’s a lot of room to expand on what the developers have already put out there. In its current stages Trident’s Wake does feel limited. There’s space for more variety in terms of the missions, the locations and cosmetics. From what I’ve seen the developers are dedicated to making this an experience that has both longevity and growth during the course of production. Both content updates and fixes have been frequent enough to keep the game moving forward at a respectable pace.

Currently, Trident’s Wake is an enjoyable twin stick shooter that is made all the better by gathering your friends together and sinking some time into it. While grinding out upgrades and level completion can be repetitive when playing alone, it’s made all the better by an accessible and incredibly fun multiplayer system. Also, there’s a friendly fire modifier to every level. Like, that’s it. That’s what every co-op game needs. Even ones that don’t have guns. Can you imagine Overcooked with friendly fire? Good Lord in Heaven. I’ve got side tracked.

Trident’s Wake is currently in early access on Steam. Give it a look if anything I’ve said sounds at all appealing to you.

Last Updated: March 5, 2019

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