Ever play Fortnite and thought it needed to feature underwater combat? Well, I didn’t, but Tidal Shock ends up answering that question anyways. And it turns out the answer is pretty close to what you’d expect—colorful characters engaging in cartoonish combat, but now there’s a whole lot of water.
Full disclaimer: I’ve been attempting to write up my experiences with this game for a while, Tidal Shock suffers from a low playerbase. There’s even a message that says as much as you get into the game. I missed my shot for the developer organized play sessions during the closed beta, as my schedule didn’t align with the times posted. I figured I could jump into a game once it released into the wild, but sadly, I haven’t been very lucky. Developer Moonray Studios has a video of gameplay posted on their YouTube channel here:
Tidal Shock is an underwater arena shooter that takes that Fortnite formula, and mixes it up significantly. For one, you’re underwater. Instead of the hundred player battles of a huge map, there are four to eight players battling in an arena. There are no load-outs, so all weapons, armor, shields, etc. will be power-ups found on the field (so to speak). If you defeat an opponent, they drop their stuff and you can take it. If you die, you respawn, and you can try to take it back.
Tidal Shock isn’t about killing your enemy, though that’s certainly something you can focus on. Instead, the goal is to charge a reactor by depositing cells into it. The first to fully charge the reactor is the winner. These reactors can be focal points for combat, but if you play defensively, and sneakily, you can possibly still win the match. Those hoping for a full underwater battle royale might be disappointed—but really, who was hoping for that? Okay, I guess it does sound kind of cool.
Since it’s set entirely underwater, enemies can attack from any direction in Tidal Shock. But you’re not totally defenseless if caught in open water. There are shields that can protect you, and a rideable torpedo sled to whisk you to cover. Careful use of dashes can help you dodge projectiles, or close the gap to your enemy so you can get them with a full shotgun blast.
If you like cosmetics, Tidal Shock rolled into Early Access with a few paid DLC cosmetics. Unlike Fortnite, these skins won’t do anything for your character, like granting them special abilities—but it will make you look pretty damn cool. These DLC skins are where Tidal Shock’s aesthetic is the coolest—and also where it’s most like Fortnite. These colorful DLC characters are in juxtaposition to the almost harsh looking underwater arena. But the default skin looks right at home with its grim style.
A multiplayer’s game rests on how active its playerbase is. Unfortunately, it’s just too hard to get a game going in Tidal Shock. A pity, as it has some genuine potential—and some fun looking gameplay. The servers might be dead calm for now, but you can help the tide change if you pick up Tidal Shock, available now in Early Access on Steam.
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