Fighting against and alongside multiple timelines of myself in Lemnis Gate, one of the most innovative multiplayer shooters on the horizon
We're midway through a match of Lemnis Gate, and I've just sniped myself in the head. More specifically, my former self has just sniped my present self at point blank range, right in the back of their skull.
In my attempts to construct a turret against the enemy's offenses, I've accidentally walked right in front of the iron sights of a teammate from a previous time loop at precisely the wrong moment, taking a bullet that – in the original timeline – was used to kill an enemy from afar. As if that wasn't humiliating enough, I now have to watch this soldier get himself killed every time the loop resets; putting my faux pas on repeat for all other players in the match to see.
If this is all starting to sound like something Christopher Nolan would babble in his sleep, I don't blame you. Lemnis Gate is an inherently mind-bending concept that can be hard to get your head around at first. But, once it clicks, you realise that developer Ratloop Games has not only struck gold with a brilliant idea perfectly suited for the multiplayer medium, but has managed to execute that idea with remarkable assuredness. Lemnis Gate may not have a release date just yet, but a few hours of hands-on preview time have already made it a game I can't wait to play more of.
"We wanted to bring something innovative to the table," says director James Anderson of Lemnis Gate's origins. "We're an indie studio, so we needed a gameplay hook or something that brings it into the spotlight. We really tried to bring a twist that fundamentally modified the way that a first person shooter would be played, drawing on those old school design approaches from that era when games weren't really defined by genres."
To put it as simply as possible, Lemnis Gate is a turn-based, multiplayer FPS which takes place in a time loop. Players on each team take turns to control characters over the course of 25 second runs, pursuing objectives such as capturing domination points or collecting Exotic Matter. These runs then repeat themselves, while players continue to add in new loops with each subsequent turn, to the point where the final stages of a match will have dozens of characters operating at once, all following their predetermined path.
To complicate matters further, Lemnis Gate is also a hero shooter. The game has several characters to choose from, each of them equipped with their own weapons and abilities – and it's here where things start to get really interesting. When the other team is taking their turn, you'll be able to observe the arena from a navigable drone, thinking tactically about how you want to counter the enemy's loops with your own.
Say an opponent decides to kill one of your characters who was able to successfully capture a domination point in the previous run. In response, you could a) kill them before they kill that character, b) pick a hero who can deploy a protective orb on your teammate to deflect the enemy's bullets, or c) ignore the encounter entirely to pursue other strategies elsewhere on the battlefield, including pre-emptive measures such as laying down traps.
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