WARNING: Many, many Synthetic Human Analogues were injured in the making of the preview for Savage Self-Defeat. It was glorious.
Ever have one of those days? One of those days where nothing at all goes right: car won’t start; traffic is terrible; boss dumps work on you right at the end of the day; significant other tells you she’s leaving with the milkman; and the hot water heater craps itself just as you’re about to lay down to forget about the terrible day you’ve had. You know, one of those days. Therapy cost too much? Never fear, because Dapper Swine just put your hookup in Steam Greenlight in the form of a game called Savage Self-Defeat.
Savage Self-Defeat on first glance in brutal in its simplicity. The player is dropped into an environment. The goal is to do as much damage as possible to a “Synthetic Human Analogue” without killing it. Score points by doing damage. Earn bonus points by putting a severed body part, or the whole body for that matter, into one or more dumpsters placed strategically throughout the level. How you get the SHA to the dumpster, and the amount and nature of the damage you dish out is entirely up to you.
At your fingertips are a set of traps. Some of the traps specialize in movement, while other traps specialize in direct damage to the SHA. There’s physics involved, too, so anything that specializes in movement can be used for damage, or in combination with damage traps to dish out the punishment to the SHA. In the preview version I played, there were fans to push and vacuums to pull at high speed, as well as attractors and repulsors (think Portal 2) for long distance or controlled travel. Rounding out the movement elements are flippers that, well, flip when the SHA encounters them allowing for short range motion. Damage is dealt by spikes, saw blades, flame throwers, and the omnipresent hands of Sir Isaac Newton. There are 12 traps total in the preview version, and Dapper Swine say they are going to double that number in time for release on October 31.
Gameplay is split into 2 sections. First is the building phase. The player navigates around the environment placing the traps in such a way as to deal the maximum amount to non-fatal damage to the SHA. Hit the spacebar to transition to the other phase, the action phase. The action phase drops the SHA into the environment and lets physics do the rest as the SHA runs the gauntlet the player has set up. The player can hit the space bar at any time during the action phase to return to the build phase. I found myself doing lots of micro trial-and-error trying to chain elements of my gauntlet to navigate the SHA exactly where I wanted it to go. Navigating the SHA in a complete circuit around the cityscape level was a satisfying experience, even if it didn’t score as much as the brute force method of putting the SHA in the dumpster.
Savage Self-Defeat is up for voting currently on Steam Greenlight. Some aspects of the control scheme need polish, but I very much enjoyed my time with Savage Self-Defeat. It’s certainly worth your time to swing by the Greenlight page and take a look.