Hello, and welcome to a preview of Sector Assault, an upcoming space shooter that focuses on variety of player and enemy tactics. Customize your loadouts by mixing and matching 14 weapons and tactical equipment, from missiles and mines to a personal teleporter. Fight against 11 unique enemies and five supercharged variants as you evade lasers, torpedoes, and cruise missiles. Your battle prowess will be put to the test as you vie for supremacy of the sector over the course of 30 waves.
Let's dive in with a gameplay demo. Here's a video of Wave 6, showcasing a loadout of Autocannon, Chain Lightning, Teleport, and Mines.
Weapons run the gamut of weak but rapid firing, for players who like to whittle away at targets without worrying about a few missed shots, to slow but heavy hitting, for those who enjoy blasting enemies apart in one or two satisfying hits. There are even missiles inspired by the Dueling Pistols from Bastion, in the sense that they can be fired as fast as you press the button, but you must track how many times you fire at what targets to avoid wasting resources.
Equipment is designed to fulfill offensive, defensive, or utilitarian roles. Some selections can perform all three, such as Teleport, which can be used to close with targets, escape dangerous situations, or simply zip around the level collecting pickups. For enhanced offense and defense, teleporting is followed by a three-second phase during which projectiles pass right through your ship. Use this to shrug off volleys as you flee around cover, or teleport in the enemy's face and unleash a barrage of your own!
Sector Assault follows in the footsteps of venerable classics like Asteroids, but in this game, asteroids only provide cover and health pickups when smashed open. They don't contribute to score, allowing you to focus on the swarms of enemies trying to kill you. Since enemies are the stars of the show, we put a great deal of emphasis on crafting unique appearances for each one. Ship design is meant to impart an extra bit of personality and make it easier to identify threats in the heat of combat.
Some enemies have a powerful but infrequent secondary attack. When an enemy is supercharged, this becomes their primary attack and may receive special bonuses; for example, always firing the maximum number of shots in a volley. Supercharged enemies are imposing threats that act as focal points around which entire battles can pivot.
Wave design is a finely crafted experience that involved more than deciding which enemies would spawn when. Development tools specially built for Sector Assault made it possible to choose the distances and angles at which enemies enter the level. If a long range enemy is meant to harass the player while he engages other foes, that ship can warp farther back for better odds of survival. Conversely, a dangerous target meant to grab the player's attention can be spawned nearby. Enemies can warp in formation by using synchronized angles and timings, or they can spawn at random locations in groups of fixed size and shape. Combining these mechanics in a multitude of ways made it easy for each wave to stand out.
Rounding out the game's atmosphere are stirring music tracks, sound effects handpicked from a dozen sources, and backgrounds streaked with gorgeous nebulas. The backgrounds in particular are from SPACE for Unity, adapted to 2D for ease of use and carefully chosen from many hundreds of randomly generated combinations. Parallaxing was added to give the final 30 backgrounds a mesmerizing sense of depth.
Sector Assault is a novel take on a tried-and-true formula, more ambitious than most games of its genre. It has consistently inspired its developers, and nowhere is that more readily apparent than Patrick Haraguti’s breathtaking work on our launch trailer. We hope this game will inspire you just as it has us!
Prepare to retake the sector in Summer 2019, available on Steam for PC and Mac. Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned!