Publisher: Xaviant Games
The Culling is a battle royale game that bears a strong resemblance to The Hunger Games. It is currently in early access on Steam.
You can play solo or in a two player team. Before going into a match, you can customize your loadout with perks, an airdrop, and outfit. Perks give you permanent buffs or different starting items. The airdrop is an items package you can call in as a supply drop once you earn enough F.U.N.C. in game. F.U.N.C. is the in game currency.
Once the game starts, you spawn randomly in a box somewhere on the map. Players scavenge items, and craft weapons to fight and kill each other. You win by being the last man or team standing. You can kill others with various traps, explosives, projectiles, and weapons. As you kill players, you will earn F.U.N.C., and if you get enough, you can call in a supply drop. You also earn F.U.N.C. over time, and by scavenging different F.U.N.C. items around the map, and selling items at the blue booths.
If you get low on health, you can craft bandages, and find med-kits, or use a red booth to trade F.U.N.C. for hit point recovery. There is also body armor, and stims with different buffs that last for a duration. There are also man trackers to detect people closest to you, and these are really helpful. Your inventory is limited to 3 items, but you can increase capacity up to 5.
The combat is the most enjoyable part. You have to be paying attention to how your opponent is playing. The way combat works in the game is a rock/paper/scissors format, which makes combat a whole mind in game in itself of trying to out think and outplay your opponent. Attacks are countered by blocks, blocks are countered by shoves, and shoves are countered by attacks. You can also backstab, headshot, and charge up attacks and throws to do more damage.
As long as you survived long enough or did enough player damage, you earn outfit items for your character to wear. They are purely cosmetic and have no stats.
- controls are fully customizable
- the queues pop quickly, and the games last up to 25 minutes or until you die, but once you die, there is no wait time before re-queuing again
- teaming up with friends is enjoyable, especially if you coordinate on Skype or some other voice chat
- perks and airdrops are a great way to try and change up your play style and coordinate better in a team
- combat is awesome – having the rock/paper/scissors system feels really balanced, and makes you have to predict, and pay attention to outplay your opponents
- visuals in the game are decent, and the environment looks good
- the music is enjoyable, and the sound effects while playing are done well (hearing footsteps and doors opening is really helpful for identifying others around you)
- game performs extremely well, I never had any issues or crashes
- new players are put in the same games as other more experienced and skilled players
- it takes a little while to get over the learning curve, and new players will likely struggle at first, until they learn the recipes, map, and especially combat techniques
- the tutorials don’t give enough combat experience to prepare you for how much better a lot of real players are
- team mode lacks voice chat (I hope this will be implemented in the future)
- the announcer dialog can sometimes be funny, but the jokes do get old after you hear them a few times
- in some games you spend a lot of time scavenging and searching for resources, but this process can be a bit tedious and repetitive, especially if you don’t encounter any conflict
- only 1 map available right now (I hope more will be added in future updates)
Once I started playing against real people, I got completely and utterly destroyed for the first few hours of playing… Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy it much at first. The game is not very friendly to new players, since you get put into the same games as people who have been playing a lot longer. However, I stuck with it, and kept playing. I watched a couple videos about weapons, and fighting strategy. Those really helped me a lot, and I finally started not sucking!
So far, I have played over 11 hours, I am getting better, and I’m getting kills much more often, and calling in airdrops for myself. I’ve still never won yet, but even when I die, the fights are a lot closer. It feels pretty intense fighting 1v1 and trying outplay your opponent and predict what he’s going to do. Just don’t give up though, if you put in the time, you will get better, and it gets much more fun.
Because it’s early access, some bugs are expected, but I didn’t encounter many. I do expect some things to change and improve before release with balancing, and tweaking of perks and weapons. So far, the game is showing a lot of potential. Despite the rough start I had with the learning curve, I’m glad I stuck with it because it turned out to be pretty fun game after all.