Descenders | PAX East 2018

I was unsure what to expect from Decenders. Mountain biking isn’t very common in video games, and only one of my friends mountain bikes in real life (hi Derrick). Then I remembered Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, Skate, and even OlliOlli. All of those games are about fun and speed, which sounds a bit like Descenders. Although Descenders starts to differ from the others with its procedurally generated downhill maps making each playthrough completely different.

There are different teams/factions. Enemy is for those who like to take to the skies and perform tricks. Arboreal is for off-roaders and enjoying the scenic route. Lastly, there is Kinetic, which is all about going as fast as possible.

I like a mixture. Start off fast, downhill, hit a ramp, fly over a bridge performing a few backflips, land (or not), then just go off-road and find a loop.

In a similar manner to all of the games mentioned above, picking a level presents the player with objectives to earn extra points. My objectives were perform two front flips and to pedal non-stop. Knocking out the front flips wasn’t a problem, but pedaling non-stop was really difficult. I was so bad at avoiding rocks and ramps that even spectators behind me started laughing. To avoid further embarrassment at how bad I was at the game, I took the easy way out by proceeding slowly and carefully.

The only gripe I had with Descenders is how slippery the bike felt. The slightest tilt of the thumbstick and I was sent flying to that side. The back wheel can be controlled with the right thumbstick to further avoid obstacles or to take sharp turns. As much as I thought it was helping me out, I felt it was hurting my ability to control the bike by just hitting the breaks a little before taking turns. For this, I’d rather play everything but the races, because performing tricks was actually fun, when they go in your favor of course.

Release Date: Q3/Q4 2018 (Steam Early Access Available)
Platforms: PC, macOS, SteamOS + Linux, Consoles (TBA)
Developer: RageSquid
Official Site: http://www.descendersgame.com
Official Descenders Discord: https://discord.gg/KkqDErm

Gameplay

Oz plays Rocket League and is very bad at it, but at least he tries. As long as there are games to talk about, he's in his happy place.

Further reading

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