In a time where media focuses on the next triple-A release, such as the next “Grand Theft Auto” or “Halo” installment, small indie games will always have their niche. Still, games like “Undertale,” “Among Us,” “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and other smaller games still get their chance to shine once they find their audience.
Founded in late 2021, Bottled Games Interactive is working on releasing its first indie game, “The D-Team: Dwarves, Tanks, Energy, Ammo, MMMGold.” “The D-Team” is a 3-D tank platformer, and while the full release is slated for late summer 2022, Bottled Games Interactive was gracious enough to provide an early access version.
Playing as the dwarves Jimkins and Leeorn, the player is tasked with eliminating enemy outposts using a scout tank. With additional items such as shields and bigger cannons, there are 20 unique levels to play through that each provide different challenges for players. Level designs are fairly straightforward, but also provide some room to explore and freedom to choose how to handle them.
Each level has five hidden “gold coins” to collect, which give players five out of 15 stars for the level. The remaining 10 stars are split between completing the level quickly and without taking any damage from enemies. This provides some good replay value to the game as players try to perfect their scores across the 20 levels, while not being so tedious that it becomes boring.
The game does a good job at slowly ramping up difficulty, gradually introducing new enemies and using differing colors to indicate their different powers. There isn’t much need for platforming most of the time, aside from getting coins or navigating faster, but this inclusion does add some interesting mechanics.
During my playthrough, however, some of the early access qualities became apparent and were hard to ignore. The most noticeable of these qualities was how the player could shoot through solid walls. The aiming reticle shows a red dot indicating where the shot should impact, yet bullets travel through the wall and effortlessly impact their target on the other side. This appears to be unintentional. However, it is important to note that the game is still in early access, so these issues may be patched by the time the game is finalized.
The voice acting was also a little rough, sounding echoed and as if the voice actors were trying just a bit too hard to perform the character’s accents. While we only hear two voices, that of Leeorn and Jimkins, it does add to the story significantly having their lines being read aloud.
As for the campaign, there is an interesting attempt at a storyline. As of writing this review only the first five levels had dialogue, which began to give some context for each level. Accents aside, the two characters did have some interesting interactions. While it isn’t an immersive story, I do feel the game benefitted by having something there.
Overall though, The D-Team is a delightful little indie game. The $10 price tag is reasonable for the 20 levels of gameplay, even if some more polishing is still needed before the full game’s release. One of my favorite aspects about the game is Bottle Games Interactive’s notion of “You buy a game, you get a completed game” rather than focusing on having to purchase items in game. It makes the game feel more focused on the enjoyment of the game, rather than finding as many ways to make money as possible. That is what video games should be about: fun, not finance.