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MMO Review

Free to play Sci-Fi arcade shooter game, MMOFPS

Publisher: Aeria Games


"Quality experience that will both impress and surprise."



Repulse is a fast-paced arcade shooter from Aeria Games, chucking in a sci-fi twist that really adds an extra dimension. Whether you’re running and gunning with an assault weapon or hiding behind boxes and sniping from a distance, Repulse has you covered, offering a number of maps and modes to hold your attention and keep you killing everybody you come across – an idea I can really get behind. If you’re a big fan of shooters there’s probably not a huge amount to get behind here, it doesn’t do a huge amount that you wouldn’t have seen before – other than the fact you can currently get it for free – but it’s still a quality experience that will both impress and surprise.

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Smooth gameplay for any PC

The first surprise, at least for me, was just how well this game runs. I have a decent quality PC, I can run more or less anything so long as I don’t expect too much; this runs without slowdown at all, ever, no matter how much is happening on screen or how many people I’m playing with. Not surprisingly, this comes with the downside that Repulse isn’t the most beautiful game in the world, it’s fit for purpose and won’t hurt your eyes, but isn’t likely to blow you away. It’s a fair trade to make if you’ve no chance of running the latest Call of Duty or Battlefield game.

Skip the tutorial, FPS fans!

The tutorial is for definite beginners, holding your hand in matters of moving your mouse (how you got into the game without seeing this tutorial, I’ll never know); you’ll also learn how to move using WASD. Thankfully it doesn’t take too long and is optional, offering everyone the chance to get up to speed before going online. It has fair intentions, although I’m not sure people who need that sort of advice are going to find themselves enjoying the game all that much. Other tutorials on offer include weapons training and training for each of the individual modes and, I’m happy to say, are much less aimed at infants and old people.


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Beginners and Advanced servers

Your first game is a tense affair, as it always is when you step into an online-only competitive game for the first time. I’m always reminded seconds before spawning, that all the people on the opposite team are more experienced than I am and want to kill me – I usually only last a few seconds. In Repulse there are beginner’s servers and advanced servers, meaning you never have to play with somebody who has too much skill. There’s also a choice of whether you’d like to play the classic FPS mode or with the additions of a cloaking device, wall climbing, dodging and booster jumps.

Unique additional moves for a FPS

The new moves are interesting to use, but take a little getting used to if you’re used to the standard FPS controls. The developers have done a fantastic job of implementing them so that it doesn’t take too long to get used to them, but – when surrounded by lots of angry enemies – you’re likely to end up choking more often than not. The levels tend to be built well enough that you don’t have to rely on the more complicated moves, but you’ll gain a definite advantage by learning to take advantage of them. Thankfully though, how you play is your own choice and if you want to play it as a regular FPS, you have that choice.


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Free game that offers a fantastic experience

And as a standalone game, it certainly works. I can definitely see people who don’t want to give money to Activision or EA getting into this and not being all too disappointed by the experience. There’s enough to do that it’s unlikely to feel repetitive and with enough players that you can get a game night or day – I’m not sure how that’ll last as the game goes out of beta but for the time being it’s full of people. It might go without say that it doesn’t have the sheer variety of users, modes and weapons as an AAA title, but it’s surprising how little that matters when you come down to it.

Gameplay modes

The gameplay modes are pretty standard: death match, capture the flag, demolition, evac and invasion. There are also a few others, including sniper and blaster, both which just limit the sorts of weapons you can use. The majority are games that you could find back in the first days of competitive shooters – Quake and Unreal Tournament staples – so you can expect to know what you’re doing most of the time. I’d like to have seen a few more original games that take full advantage of the extra movement – one on one races or something – and other unique aspects of the game.

Rent the weapons

Another unique feature, and quite confusing to me, is the way in which weapons are handled. If you’re used to carefully picking and choosing each weapon in your arsenal, Repulse will be something of a disappointment. Instead of buying weapons and upgrading them, you “rent” new weapons or upgraded versions of your original weapons and, chances are, your reaction to that was probably very similar to mine. After each game you collect credits and those credits can be spent on new equipment. For instance, I just spent 10,000 credits on a shotgun which I now get to keep for 7 days.


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Now it stands to reason that over those seven days I could easily make a return on that investment, but at the end of those seven days the weapon will still disappear from my inventory. It’s an odd decision to make, something that doesn’t make a huge amount of difference. I suppose it could have something to do with encouraging people to try different weapons, to try different methods of playing and, as a result, make the game a little less repetitive, but that’s only a guess.

Either way, it makes picking and choosing which classes to upgrade a little more important than just clicking the nicest looking gun.

Three classes: Assualt, Sniper and Engineer. What's it gonna be?

There are three classes to choose from – Assault, Sniper and Engineer – and they’re all fairly similar in scope. There aren’t going to be many people who can’t play as an Engineer but are excellent as an Assault type character. The exception, and only slightly, would be the Sniper, who obviously needs to aim down a scope to get kills. It’s easy enough to do and I soon found myself firing off headshots (in the crotch) like a pro.

You read that right, headshots in the crotch. For all it’s positive points, Repulse has some very odd problems that desperately need sorting out. About a quarter of the games I’ve played have resulted in me getting booted from the game, usually with an unusual error message waiting for me; I’ve had both “you can’t begin this game with uneven teams” and “can’t add item when pack is full. This is annoying enough in itself, but there are connection issues and hit marker issues as well. I’ve checked around and my problems are by no means unique.

Fighting somebody who appears and disappears around a certain spot randomly is incredibly difficult, but factor in the fact they’re probably using dodge (which catapults you out of harm’s way) and you’re in for a pretty odd fight. I can only presume that this is happening to me on his screen and he’s just as confused as I am. It’s an issue that’s been quite well tested by the community and is one of the most requested things that need fixing.

Minor issues don't ruin the fun

Similarly, it’s not unusual to completely miss an enemy but manage to get a one shot kill, or get a headshot and miss. With my shotgun I’ve quite happy blown people away from a distance but manage to miss every single time with an assault rifle up close. These aren’t issues that are going to ruin the game for you, although getting booted isn’t fun, instead they’re things that you hope will get fixed so you can fully enjoy an amusing game.

Fantastic alternative to high-priced shooters

Despite those imperfections, Aeria have managed to create a fantastic alternative to those high-priced shooters, bringing together something new mixed with the retro feel of PC shooters of the nineties and early 2000s. For Aeria fans, it’ll offer a nice break from their usual in-depth RPGs and, of course, will remain free. So, basically, you’ve got nothing but free time to lose – give it a go!

Mat Growcott
© 2012

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