Do you hate people? Do you accept that one day the machine you are reading this preview on will be your master? If being a robot and controlling people as they do your bidding in a far off solar system is your idea of a bright future, you will love the RTS tower defence game Freaking Meatbags. Currently in Early Access on Steam, Freaking Meatbags places you in the role of a lowly cleaning robot, destined to roam the solar system clearing planets of their resources before the inevitable death of the galaxy. Your job is made that little bit easier by the fleshy group of human slaves who mine the resources for you in exchange for having a slug placed in their brain and sometimes being squished by angry wild aliens. Someone drew the short straw and it wasn’t you. Whilst on the surface this machine overlord task sounds simple, the variety and challenges within the game make Freaking Meatbags an exciting and tactical experience.
Despite the strategy needed to complete each level of Freaking Meatbags, the controls and gameplay are easy to work with. Using the keyboard to control your robot self and the mouse to control your meatbags and place base components makes the interface the easiest part about the game, with the planning of how to build and protect your base being anything but easy. There is the ability to build offensive and defensive structures to protect from wild robots that roam the planets, whilst combining human and alien DNA to create weird yet more efficient slaves. A normal meatbag is acceptable, but a meatbag with a rocket launcher arm is infinitely better. As always there are upgrades to your base and structures, allowing you to expand you fleet of humans and prepare your weapons for boss fights, keeping the game fresh and exciting even after many hours as your robot self.
The graphics of Freaking Meatbags hark back to the 8-bit days of Super Nintendo Megaman and Street Fighter, when developers found that the pixels they were colouring could be used to make shading rather than boring block colours. Whilst the design of the robots seems thoughtful and detailed, your slave meatbags look like a bad version of an Enderman who wanted to hide his identity. Pixelception aside, the planet design for the levels is simple yet effective, with different colourful types of ore to mine and plot revealing breaks being well placed in the funny space robot theme.
Freaking Meatbags is a challenging game that provides you with many fun hours of play. The levels themselves accelerate in difficulty quickly, but the ability to play a level as many times as you like without in-game reprimand subdues some of the rage that manifests when your defences just aren’t enough against those wild robot scum. Freaking Meatbags is one for the retro visual lovers, and the RTS robot masters. Oh, and don’t forget to call your robot mum, she wants you to wear a sweater at night.
Words by Louise Egan