I've noticed a modern game design trend of randomizing each new world to bolster replay value. "Receiver" takes this concept and trashes it. All the level elements are indeed randomized, but independently: the map sections, item pickups, enemy locations, and puzzle pieces only appear in chaotic clusters. Combined with frequent pockets of bare map geometry, the game offers a playing experience marked by heavily unbalanced risk/reward ratios. Most areas present heavy challenges with little payoff, and some areas provide generous rewards for doing nothing.
The game is designed to restart from scratch with every player death. There are no checkpoints or saves, and a full run can take hours. But the finished build is so buggy and unstable that the game simply locks up or crashes eventually. Hours of attempts have been interrupted by at least a dozen instances of game-ending bugs. I can't even imagine progressing far enough to win the game.
The "story", told in audio clips, is abstract and incoherent. At best, it's a confusing bunch of rambling. There's no depth, meaning, or characterization. The narration is just vague sci-fi exposition where somebody appears to have run every word through a thesaurus.
These issues make the game feel thoroughly meaningless, unpleasant, and discouraging. The game has a stylish but irrelevant game mechanic where the player has to micro-manage how firearms work. This is the focus of the advertising, and it seems to be the reason the game was greenlit by the community in the first place. It worries me that a game so fundamentally flawed and unplayable is able to, by showing off a "cool" surface mechanic, gather enough hype to earn a spot in the Steam catalog.
I feel cheated and conned by my purchase. The product has no gameplay value. It made me feel bored and sad.
Posted: November 25th, 2013