Krater is a strategic squad based RPG where you and your friends are working as freelancers in post-apocalyptic Sweden. Following a night of heavy drinking, you cause a ruckus where wild dogs have been set free and are causing chaos. You tend to find yourself in these situations as you progress and meet more of the people from each area. They vary from the very drunk to the really strange, along with their stories. You and your squadmates are working and attempting to gain trust, money and items for different tasks. As you complete your tasks throughout the areas, you notice that three different factions are fighting for control but will there really be a winner?
The top down view allows you to control all three of your squadmates simultaneously. In order to move, you click on which area you want to move to. Press spacebar to select all of your squad and center the camera on them. Hover over enemies and click to begin the fight. I felt that the fun ran out after the first few missions, and the gameplay became repetitive, especially when you had to clear out a certain area. It took the same kind of tactics to clear them out of every area. I was lucky to have a great Slayer and Regulator at the time, and got a lot of gold and work done.
Each member has their particular set of skills and items, such as the Slayer or Medic class. You can surgically modify them with implants that can improve strength or intelligence. At first, you are given a squad to work with but later, you are able to upgrade and switch them out with other characters that are available. You can upgrade your current friends or choose to be selective and recruit new blood. There are recruitment areas where you can buy someone’s services and have them join your team. They are as easily customizable just like the other members of your squad.
Your friends are not invincible and can suffer permanent ailments, such as Dementia and gouged eyes, so having backups on hand isn’t such a bad idea. Unfortunately, I just had one of my Regulators perma-die, so it is possible to lose a crucial member of your squad. There are doctors and first aid implants to assist with the ailments for each member. Each squadmate has unlockable implant slots and upgrades that can be surgically implanted through the character menu. It’s quick and slightly painless, well, painless for you. You can pick up items from enemies, purchase them from the wholesalers or craft them with valuables you also pick up. In order to craft, you have to find (or buy) the blueprints and have the valuables that are needed to make the items.
The post-apocalyptic feel only enhances the gameplay as it surrounds you with its atmosphere. The characters and layout were cartoony while the some of the loading screens were a bit rough. The world map view gave you a sense of adventure. The way you trek through undiscovered areas is unlike Fallout 3 where you travel by foot, it was more travel by cursor. You could mouseover each location to find out what was available there and hostile it was, and click on it in order to move to that area. There are opportunities for enemy encounters while traveling, which are signaled by a red alert. The encounters are mostly with wild dogs, pigs, bears or thugs. Many of the areas are forests and grasslands, but others are industrial dungeons. The dungeons mirror Torchlight where you can keep going down a level and encounter more and more enemies.
The setup of the menu bar allows for quick decisions and easier control of what is going on with all of your squad. The gadgets and implants of each squadmate show up on the bar. Point and click, control all or one at a time with the several power-up implants that you can setup what kind of gadgets you want to use such as a Toxic Grenade. I wish I could say more, but I didn’t necessarily find it fun other than hack and slashing the enemies. However, I’m the type of player who just loves hacking and slashing everything.
Krater offers an interesting take on post-apocalyptic games and utilizes strategic maneuvers while engaged in combat, but it felt a bit dragged out and of course, I went a little click happy. Although the story was okay, I felt that the gameplay was repetitive and the point-and-click tactic was getting tired. It’s got some fun RPG elements, but the strategy wears thin when you begin to fight the same way continuously, just because it works. I liked the idea of the squad based movements, but that can get you pretty frustrated if you haven’t upgraded or leveled up your squadmates enough. I’ve died a lot and lost a big part of my team when my Regulator died. If you’ve enjoyed Torchlight or even Dungeon Defenders, you may want to take some time to try out this game. It does keep you entertained from time to time and allows you to enjoy the story it offers. The game is always updated with fixes and patches. In August, co-op will be available where you could blend in your online single-player game and follow the main story or free-roam.