Have you ever thought to yourself, “You know what? I think my relationships with my friends are a little TOO solid! I should really do something about that…”. Now you could take the Ron Swanson approach and start calling them by the wrong name or slamming a door in their face, but wouldn’t it be better to start on an equal playing field? One where you both can slowly nurture your resentments at the same time and also have some fun while you’re doing it?
Well my friends, that is where D-Corp by the devious devs at Frogsong Studios comes in! You and up to 3 friends can play as adorable little robots that must defend their contraptions from troublesome machinery destroying critters all the while collecting resources. Teamwork, communication, and the ability to multitask are the keys to success but those things might also lock you out! Here’s how we fared!
First of all, D-Corp isn’t your run of the mill tower defence type game so instead of setting up your various towers then sitting back and hoping for the best, you need to be on constant maintenance duty. You strategically place your turrets around the map and as they shoot down the baddies you and your team must refill their ammo as it’s depleted, reposition them as more waves overwhelm you, or rebuild them altogether if they get destroyed. You can also use your little pickaxes to stun some enemies to help out, but aside from letting the guns do their thing, the only way for you to truly assist in dispatching them is to toss them overboard into a vat of acid or into the abyss. Whichever exists in the current level.
Your little robot’s main job however, is to gather resources that pop up in the form of cacti, or various other containers. To collect the resources, you’ll have to smack the crap out of each container until it pops into a bunch of glowing pink balls which you’ll then gather and toss into the recycler to gain points. The recycler is what most of the enemies are after. They want to “gum up the works” as it were by swan diving into it and causing it to break. Some enemies will chase after you and kill you, but most of them really seem hellbent on lemming themselves right into your precious machinery.
Sounds simple right? Well in theory it is, and it never feels like the controls fight you, nor do any of your objectives seem too obtuse, but D-Corp has a special way of overwhelming you so that a simple task becomes an insurmountable one. You’ll often find yourself getting in your co-op partner’s way, tossing them instead of ammo, accidentally hitting a vital resource into a pit, or losing yourself in a crowd of enemies. Which if you’re just messing around makes for hilarious hijinks, but if you’re actually trying to beat the stage, especially with any less than 3 players, it can potentially spiral into a cloud of frustration.
The artwork for this game is top notch. Everything is bright and colorful and with some catchy tunes to boot! The game doesn’t exactly hold your hand when it comes to explaining all the various mechanics, but the things left unexplained aren’t difficult to figure out for yourself with a little trial and error. It’s one of those things I can see people feeling frustrated with, but really it just makes you pay closer attention to your environment which I kind of appreciate, honestly.
That being said, the sharp incline in difficulty as you get a few levels deep into the game is certainly jarring. It’s not something that necessarily needs changing, but maybe a way to work toward making the more challenging levels more manageable, regardless of the number of players, could be helpful. Perhaps some consumable power-ups earned through completing challenges or beating certain levels or bosses. Something that you could choose to use should you find a level overly difficult or want to focus on completing the extra mission objectives without feeling frustrated. Either that or maybe take a more traditional tower defense approach and allow us to upgrade our turrets as the level progresses. You’re constantly being bombarded with an increased number of enemies, as well as more resilient enemies, but your turrets remain the same. So at times, it feels like you’re a bit out matched.
Through most of our playthrough with D-Corp we played cooperatively with two players. Our son on occasion would want to jump in, but once levels got too difficult he was happier watching us struggle than being a part of it. However, even with 2 or 3 players there were levels where we barely scraped by even after trying every trick in the book and replaying the same level over and over. I have no idea how anyone would play this solo and make it through, let alone finishing some of the extra objectives on top of it!
We had fun though devising strategies together to see what worked or what made things easier. There were some definite “AHA” moments that put smiles on our faces as we finally nailed down that perfect turret placement, or realizing how to harmoniously divide and conquer.
Although we found the learning curve to be a bit steep we had a lot of fun figuring things out as a team. The vibrant artstyle and cute robot customizations will soothe even the most bruised of egos.
If you’ve got a friend or three on hand I’d definitely say give D-Corp a try. There is a demo available for anyone still on the fence, but the full game comes out of early access September 20th 2021 and is well worth the $15 to spend some time with friends and testing the boundaries of your relationship.
If you’d like to try your hand at D-Corp you can find it right now on Steam.