3089 is a first-person RPG in which you assume the role of an experimental android, sent down to the strange planet ‘Xax’ to be tested on your performance whilst under the watchful eye of a shady omnipotent figure called the Overlord. You’ll be expected to traverse the sprawling, randomly generated world as you complete quests, gear up your character, and eventually begin building your own base on the planet’s surface.
You begin your adventure by choosing from either one of the predefined classes – ranging from the typical melee, gunner, and thief choices to more unorthodox options like pilot and leader. Being offered the choice on how you want to play is a nice touch to help accommodate different play styles, but there’s way too little information available on this screen for you to make an informed decision on what some of the classes offer. The Pilot class, for example, offers a large boost to the piloting stat which allows you to drive the various ships found on the planet’s surface. Without picking this option and diving in, there’s no way a new player would know what kind of play style they are committing themselves to.
The planet Xax will be your ultimate test, providing you can survive the hostile inhabitants that roam the surface. While you may attempt to seek refuge inside one of the safe zones scattered throughout the world, your safety isn’t guaranteed as alien ships will frequently wander in and begin to slaughter the friendly inhabitants of your town. Luckily, turrets are commonplace in these safe areas so for the most part you can use the shop and workstation nodes without too much fear.
The nodes found in each town are used to purchase new weapons, armour and special gadgets like grappling hooks and hoverboards – the latter of which is highly recommended as it not only makes you feel badass, but makes travelling the world a whole lot faster. While each node serves a specific function, it can be somewhat frustrating to have to constantly run between the huts that house each node, especially when there’s usually a huge distance to cover between each house. It seems odd that the various shops and functions couldn’t have just been gathered together in one place, effectively cutting out this need to tediously trek between posts just to get your gear sorted.
The crux of activities in 3089 are handled with randomly generated quests that you pick up from the safe zones. Each quest is a mash-up of objectives which usually ask you to perform a number of tasks like diffusing bombs, spying on hostile NPC’s or being a courier for important info discs. While the questing system serves a valid purpose to help generate content for you to earn cash – which you then use to upgrade your character – it’s unfortunate that most of the objectives are repeated after completing several quests. It soon becomes more of a chore to complete these necessary side missions just so your character doesn’t fall behind on its progression for bigger and better equipment.
[Spoiler warning: If you want to avoid any story spoilers, skip past the next paragraph.]
Alongside the side quests is 3089’s main plot, centred on the shady goings on with the Overlord, the omnipotent entity that sent you to the planet in the first place. After jumping through a few hoops, you soon learn that planet Xax was once inhabited by another race of creatures, which were all but killed off. With their planet taken, they hid underground waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike back against their attackers. By enlisting your help, this hidden faction hopes to use you in their secret war against the Overlord. You’ll have to piece together most of the story via transmissions received whilst completing quests and defeating the various boss monsters at each interval as you progress, but the plot is engaging enough to encourage you to push forward and learn more about this secret war.
How you fight in 3089 depends entirely on your play style. There’s a full stealth/sneaking system in place to allow those who like to flaunt their melee and backstabbing prowess, whilst still accommodating the big guns and awesome firepower gun nuts will no doubt crave. What’s more, weapons are modular, meaning you can swap and change the individual parts of each weapon with newer pieces, allowing you to freely customize the stats of each weapon, or even add attachments like silencers for extra functionality.
Being the experimental robot killing machine that you are, you also come full equipped with a special device that lets you pause time briefly. This allows you to set up elaborate precision strikes on enemies, or perhaps just escape a tricky situation unscathed. This super power is balanced by making you seek out collectible clocks, scattered throughout the game world which replenish the charge that fuels this ability.
Once you’ve progressed far enough into the main plotline of 3089, you’ll gain access to the building tools. This equipment adds a whole new layer to the gameplay, shifting away from the character progression and more towards building structures, turrets and useful utilities. This feature is quite robust, and easy to use for the most part with on screen cues helping you to place and shape your structures any way you wish. It’s a strange concept, as for the most part this feature didn’t feel like it was in any way attached to the main concept of the game. It didn’t seem in any way necessary for me to dive into this aspect, and yet I was drawn to it simply because of the new level of control over the world that it gave me.
3089 is a strange mash-up of genres, and one that is quite common place in gaming today with so many titles opting to meld genres in an attempt to mix up the formula and make something interesting. While this is an impressive feat pulled off by such a small development team (a single fellow by the name of Phr00t), it doesn’t quite hit all of the buttons to make it anything more than a fun sandbox adventure to sink a few hours into. The extra gadgets and the handy building tool help liven up the standard ‘run & gun’ aspects somewhat, but with the tedious quests and unnecessary ferrying between shop nodes it is easy to become annoyed at the feeling of repetition.
This game was reviewed using a copy provided by the developer for that purpose.
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