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NEO Scavenger

Pitch us in one Tweet.” That was the challenge we posed to independent game developers, promising to cover our favorite entries here at GamesBeat. We hoped that limiting pitches to 140 characters or fewer would bring out some creative responses. We weren’t disappointed. Now we’re counting down our 10 favorite submissions and telling you if the games are as much fun as their creators made them sound.

This time, we’re looking at #7, an experience tailor-made for fans of old-school role-playing games.

The game: NEO Scavenger


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Availability: PC (in beta)

The pitch: @BlueBottleGames: “NEO Scavenger: How long until YOU die of cholera in the apocalypse?”

Why I picked this: Pride. How dare you insinuate that I don’t stand a chance of actually surviving your disease-riddled apocalypse, Blue Bottle Games! I’ll show you!

Of course, when I played the game, it took about 15 minutes before I bled to death.

What is it? People like to throw the word “hardcore” around. You know what’s really hardcore? A game where you wake up in a postapocalyptic world, confused and practically naked, forced to scavenge the land for supplies while making sure you don’t starve or freeze to death. Oh, and watch out for all of those raiders with rifles. Good luck taking on one of those guys before you find a decent weapon for yourself.

Also, death is permanent. That’s right. If you die, you start over. Is that hardcore enough for you?

Is it good? Absolutely. NEO Scavenger’s design harks back to an older time in PC gaming, when players suffered less hand-holding and weren’t afraid of a little reading. Blue Bottle Games filled its project with the customization and rich features that fans of role-playing games love, such as picking traits for your character. These include specializations in picking locks or hacking and perks that increase your inventory capacity or boost your efficiency with ranged weapons.

The amount of choices I got during bare-knuckle combat even impressed me. In one turn, I could either run away, sneak away, threaten my foe, tackle them to the ground, punch them, dodge, parry, and more. I can’t imagine what I could have done if I had an actual weapon.

I chose “tackle,” by the way. I then found myself in a surprisingly brutal fight with an armed thug, trying to pull him down to the ground, so I could kick him in his ribs. Unfortunately, he attacked me one too many times with the butt of his gun, leading me to eventually keel over from the pain and slowly bleed to death. Still, I was more than eager to start a new game and try again, this time learning from past mistakes.

Look for it: At the developer’s website, where you can play a demo in your browser or purchase access to the beta, which will also get you a copy of the final game when Blue Bottle releases it.

For more info:

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Check back tomorrow for our #6 finalist in our “Pitch us in one Tweet” contest. You can follow this tag link to catch all of the top 10.

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