What the $%#% is a “livelock”? I’m confident the question crossed your mind, as it did mine. A quick web search present this definition:
A condition that occurs when two or more processes continually change their state in response to changes in the other processes. The result is that none of the processes will complete. An analogy is when two people meet in a hallway and each tries to step around the other but they end up swaying from side to side getting in each other’s way as they try to get out of the way.
…*shrug*. I get the gist, I guess. Thankfully, that’s not the livelock we’re here to discuss. Perfect World Entertainment and Tuque Game’s Livelock, only announced a little before PAX South 2016 took place, is a co-operative top-down, twin-stick shooter — a chaotic one. The setting drops players in the middle of a war between machines, with your goal being to shut it down and break the cycle of conflict. You control either Hex, Vanguard, or Catalyst, but Hex was the only character available during my play-through with the developers.
Whereas most twin-stick shooters just ask you to get a bead on your enemy, punish them, and dodge out of the way of returned fire, Livelock requires a bit more. For example, there’s an enemy with a dual rotating shields that you must time correctly before dealing damage. You can also melee or toss grenade over the shields, so there are multiple ways to tackle things. Simple additions like this add a bit more strategy to the bullet hell experience.
There’s a lot of personality to this game as well. While Hex was the only character I was able to see in action, his humor and reckless demeanor added plenty flavor to the experience. There are two additional characters to be unveiled over time and the sky’s the limit for whatever they may bring to the table.
In a three player co-op run, I got to see just how intense Livelock can get as we fought waves of enemies across a long bridge. The gameplay isn’t as unforgiving as a title like the popular fellow twin stick game Helldivers, which has near unavoidable friendly fire active at all times, but that’s not to say this title is no challenge. Uncoordinated attacks can have a lone teammate get ganged up upon and made short work of. Later in 2016 we’ll get our hands on the full experience but, if the tweet below is to be believed, I may have a head start on you all.
— Livelock (@playlivelock) January 30, 2016