Quarries of Scred 2, developed by Noble Kale, is a single screen rocks-and-diamonds game in a similar vein to games like Boulder Dash and Dig Dug. QoS2 is a fast-paced multiplayer game where players compete in various challenges in order to win “Quarryfest” and the sizeable donation to their chosen charity. While there’s no “competition mode” as such where you actually win the prize (or perhaps I’ve just not won it yet), it’s a perfectly acceptable premise for a bit of frenzied arcade action.
The action is FAST and somewhat furious (depending on your playstyle) as players rush around a 2D screen (quarry) filled with boulders, enemies, rampaging flora, valuable ores and a whole lot of dirt to an excellent arcade soundtrack. You must dig the dirt, collect the ores and you try not to get killed by falling boulders, disgruntled fauna or other competitors. While this may seem straight-forward, the slower pace needed to maneuver through the quarries carefully is completely thrown out the window as you have to worry about objectives, time, and the fact that people are trying to kill you.
The graphics are minimalistic and clear using single square icons and representations for objects, characters and pickups. This is necessary in such a manic adventure, as there’s a going to be a lot of things flying around you, and falling at you, and blazing towards you and growing steadily into any empty space around you. A longer game can definitely wind up looking like Matrix code to observers, but, as Mouse says, “You get used to it”. Now all I see is dirt, shiny expensive things and about 100 things that can kill me.
While most of deaths in the quarries are boulder-related fatalities, whether someone dug a little too far, misjudged a land slide, or found the anti-gravity switches and went a bit mad, players can also pick up various pieces of tech, such as lasers and mines, which they can either use to better move through the quarry, or in an attempt to kill their opponents. The tech comes in lootboxes, which will drop a random piece, then players have to figure out how they can use it to their advantage, as they’re not described anywhere. This often has interesting, unpredictable and somewhat frustrating results, but it definitely adds to the charm and fun of the game.
You are given a choice of five challengers and although there is no difference in play other than sprite, the customisation comes in the form of perks. Before each game starts, you select your perk for your character and hope that you figure out how it works before it’s too late.The perks aren’t described anywhere in the game, but as with its predecessor, QoS2 wants you to explore, experiment and… well… die a little, and think about what you learned.
The Quarryfest challenges serve as game modes where up to four players compete simultaneously. The various game modes are a lot of fun and require you to change battle plans to help you get through. “Killing everyone” is usually pretty high on the list, but NobleKale hints at various possible tactics and strategies you can use in the instruction manual to help you explore options you might not have thought of. There are various environmental options available which can further customise the difficulty of each challenge, ranging from number of starting lives, available time to visible area and “Giant Mother Rankler in the middle of the map”. The game can be made extremely difficult simply by changing the visible light around each player, but perhaps until you’ve developed god-like mining abilities, adding a slightly less confronting challenge (an alien Hive or two perhaps?) is probably a better option.
The game modes include:
- Last Drone Standing (deathmatch), Team LDS (team deathmatch)
- Mycological Melee (control zone style)
- Pure Credits (classic scred high score)
- Race Condition (collect numbers scattered through the level, think race checkpoints)
- Big Gem Hunters (collect the most gems)
One of the things I love about the Scred games, is that in the beginning, your deaths are more rewarding than a lucky win. You can play the game the moment you’ve opened it and with little instruction, and still a really enjoyable experience… but, the more you die, the more you learn…
and knowledge is power…
The detail in QoS2 is deliberately spartan because half the fun is exploring and experimenting. This is obvious from the way Kale drops hints through the information screens and instruction manual, and it makes for an incredibly rewarding experience when the penny drops.
Sure, at times it might seem like you’re just slamming your face into a wall of suffocating fungus, and it might seem like you’re not making progress after the 50th Space Dropbear jumps out and eats your face, but you’ll learn. Hey, you may avoid the 51st, you might figure out a way to use the 57th to kill someone else, and that is where the game goes from being a casual, mess around to being an intense, strategic battle. The game can be enjoyed at either level of skill and intensity, but for me, when you get past the basics and start to get a bit dastardly, that’s where the real fun begins.
Quarries of Scred 2 is available right now, for less than $5!