It began as a Kickstarter for Australian game studio Turbo Pixel Studios. The concept of Reflex was to take players back to the grandiose times of Quake or Unreal Tournament in an arena-shooter environment. Turbo Pixel Studios promises a game that is essentially a classic FPS meets new age technology, combining into one diverse competitive arena experience.
There are a lot of different things to cover about this early access game, so let’s dig right in. Reflex is still in development with no currently planned release date. The developers have been quoted on their online forums as stating, “It’s finished when it’s finished”. All well and good, but does what they’ve shown us make the wait worth it?
In a word: absolutely. There’s a lot to love from the first play of Reflex. Though the environments are largely placeholders at this point, they are glossy, nice to look at and a lot of fun to move around in. Turbo Pixel Studios has the concept of an arena with great environmental feedback without distraction down pat.
Another great thing is that, despite the early stages of the game, Reflex handles exactly as players would want it to. Navigating corridors, jumping and collecting power-ups is satisfying and precise, and the hit detection of the various weapons available is spot on. The game won’t hold your hand and make it easy for you to hit others, so players will really have to brush the dust off their old Quake skills and bring the proverbial pain. We’re genuinely excited to see that the game’s developers have the basics down this early on, and even more excited to see what new concepts may come for arenas as development continues.
Another noted feature is the level editor. We didn’t personally get to play around with this much, but from what we did see it looks to be a lot of fun. There’s something almost reminiscent of Garry’s Mod here – but not as chaotic. This is a feature that we, personally, are looking forward to toying around with in our spare time. We’ve all got a bit of a dark side here at Power Up Gaming, and a lot of us are already planning some truly sadistic arena designs.
The sound design is not yet fully present, but what is here works beautifully. The sound effects that are in use add a very loving dose of nostalgia for any players of old-school arena shooters. They are over-the-top, a bit cheesy and oh-so-satisfying to hear when an upgrade, power-up or shot is executed.
Always the star of the action game genre is the action itself and even in its early state, it definitely shines through in Reflex. Combat is fast, requiring both quick reaction, skill and even a bit of strategy. The early levels do not allow for a whole lot of everyone’s favorite strategy to rage against, “camping”, so players are thrown into the fray with a short battle cry and pure instinct. There’s a lot of freedom to be enjoyed in Reflex and it seems that Turbo Pixel Studios are taking players’ wishes to heart in allowing for so much customization and various takes on competition.
There are also portals that teleport players to different areas of the map. Some players may harp about this being an obvious rip-off of the famous Portal series, but we feel it’s more along the lines of an homage to Quake; it pays its respects in multitudes, as you can see. Reflex has a lot coming from the heart and pays an immense amount of respect to its forefathers, while still managing to throw in new concepts and refreshing combat. The game is a shiny, self-proclaimed return to the 90’s shooters of many of our youths. Playing it feels satisfying, nostalgic and it’s kept us interested in returning to it upon its full premiere.
Ultimately, we feel that this game is loaded with potential and the possibilities of what Turbo Pixel Studios may ultimately deliver are promising on their own merit. The basics of controls and design are covered with an interesting look and feel to them, and we found ourselves sucked into the action almost immediately. Even just exploring an arena can be a lot of fun, unless you don’t particularly care for swimming in lava.
Fans of classic shooters, modern shooters and competitive FPS games are bound to find something to enjoy in Reflex. We are thoroughly looking forward to seeing what this game brings in the future.
For now, devious arena plans shall recommence.