RPS Game Club is back in action for 2024 today, and our first pick of the year is the exceedingly good Cobalt Core, a spaceship roguelike deckbuilder where you’re slipping and sliding out the way of incoming missiles to get to the bottom of why you and the rest of your animal pals seem to be stuck in a pesky timeloop. I had an absolute blast with it when it came out at the end of last year, and really, this is just the perfect excuse to shove it back in front of your faces again.
Don’t worry if you missed Cobalt Core last year – it came out right at the start of November, slap bang in the middle of silly season for the year’s big blockbusters. But that’s exactly what Game Club is for, really – finally sitting down and playing all those good games you might have missed when they originally came out. And this one is really very special.
As mentioned above, this is a roguelike about piloting a spaceship through a series of one-on-one combat encounters. Each member of your three-strong crew has their own deck of cards that tap into their specific role on the ship (your gunner has lots of attack cards, for example, your engineer specialises in throwing out drones and shields, while your pilot is all about manoeuvring from side to side), and the thrill is in figuring out how best to use your limited number of action points to survive each fight unscathed. And like Into The Breach, enemy moves are telegraphed in advance, opening up lots of delicious strategising and plotting to maximise what’s in your deck.
There are lots of strange and wonderful opponents you’ll meet along the way, too, from a giant purple nautilus to a chivalrous mouse knight whose ship has a literal sword and shield built right next to the cockpit. My favourite is the rat wizard who has a full-on medieval castle on top of their ship, but big shout out to Brac the crab as well, whose ship is a literal orange crab. Love you, big fella, even if you are trying to kill me. It’s really very moreish, and a complete run only takes around 90 minutes as well, so you’re not losing tons of time or progress if you get blasted to smithereens.
You can grab Cobalt Core on Steam for £16.75/$20 at the moment (and honestly, I’d recommend picking up the soundtrack by Aaron Cherof as well once you’ve got a few runs under your belt – it’s really very toe-tappingly good). Whisper it, but it’s also on Switch as well, though it is a fraction more expensive there.
So come, join us, and (maybe, hopefully) discover your next favourite roguelike in the process. Myself and other members of the RPS Treehouse will be playing the game this month and writing some extra articles about it over the coming weeks, and around the week of February 19th, I’ll pop back in again to gather up some of your own thoughts and questions about it. We’ll all then stuff ourselves into a liveblog at the end of the month to talk about what we thought, using your impressions as a starting point for conversation. It will be fun! Promise.
I’m going to tentatively mark out Thursday February 29th at 4pm GMT as our proposed liveblog date, so I do hope you’ll be able to make it (and if not, there’s always the questions/impressions post the week before to let everyone know how you’ve been getting on with it from afar!). Enjoy!
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