APOX (I have no idea what it stands for) from BlueGiant Interactive is an RTS game claiming to have FPS qualities that make it stand out from the pack. Although APOX has a cool feel with its post apocalyptic setting, the only pack it will be standing out from is that of games you should buy. Quality of game play is what really holds APOX back. Like most RTS games, the objective in APOX is to fortify your base in order to destroy the other team’s base and eliminate the remainder of their units.
I’ll get the positives out of the way before I talk about the rest of the game. The idea of collecting the last of Earth’s raw materials (gas and salvage) is a great idea and done well. You collect them though oil refineries and scrapyards which are scattered around the maps. The mechanic works very well and makes base building interesting in the ways you connect the buildings with piping. The time in which it takes you to acquire the necessary materials to expand your base is well paced. APOX definitely has some really cool buildings, like the mechanic shop, that help in deepening the game play.
Another good thing I should mention is that APOX isn’t a system hog. It can be run at the peak graphic settings on a fairly basic desktop computer. However, the game is not impressive to look at. The visuals are passable by all means for an RTS game but it does nothing more. Roads, grass, and buildings look okay but they are all just about as vanilla as they come. For a 15 dollar game, however, I will give some leniency in the graphics department.
That being said, APOX is a painfully boring game. Everything from it’s depressing and monotonous music to it’s horrible character AI make this game almost unplayable. There were moments when I felt that I were ordering around blind/deaf soldiers. Sometimes they attack what you order them to and other times they just go prone and don’t fire a single bullet.
The soldiers and their different jobs/classes are well thought out and the game should theoretically be a balanced and fun experience. Same goes for the different buildings and a vehicles. They all have a specialty and can be very effective against one class, yet vulnerable to another class. This sounds like a good recipe in any other RTS game but APOX makes it very difficult to teach you these classes and how to use them. Even after going through the agonizing tutorial, I still felt that the games poor unit management and laughable AI kept any of theses different classes from being of use.
I also find it hard to believe that a game in this day and age can have no story mode what so ever. There are single player “missions” which are really just glorified tutorials, which are some of the most unexciting moments of any video game I have played in recent memory. The single player missions take all of about 3 hours to complete. However, no one would ever know you completed them because the game offers no recognition that you beat a mission, no achievements, no gold medals, not even a check mark.
The developer addresses the lacking “campaign”, explaining that it’s purpose is to get you ready for online play. Fair enough, except for the fact that the online play is even worse than the single player! Attempting to play an online game in APOX is like getting teeth pulled. You find a lobby, generally containing no more than 30 other poor saps who bought this game, and try to get a match together. Of the 6 matches I played, 5 dropped and sent the whole group back to the lobby. If the matches only took a moment to get into this wouldn’t be a huge deal. But when they take 20-30 minutes, it begins to get very frustrating. When you do get lucky enough to actually get into a game, you will be stuck playing with 3 bots at the very least. Most times there will be around 5 or 6 bots because of the lack of players. In some games this would be a bad thing necessarily, but in APOX it ruins the balance of the game. While playing online I noticed that the bot bases got built faster, as well as their units being produced. That lack of balance between you and the bots really makes the online not fun and unfair.
APOX tries some different and neat ideas but doesn’t excel in any of them. This has the potential to be a very fun game at a great price, but it simply needs more time in development. RTS games should be fluid and the player should feel that they have a handle on whats going on. I never felt like I was in control while playing APOX, making this RTS a very empty and forgettable experience.