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"In the end, no answer is ever as elegant as its question."
Creeper World is a single-player Real Time Strategy shareware game developed by Knuckle Cracker. The game starts off by throwing the player to the far-off date of 13,271, after humankind has colonized thousands of worlds in the galaxy. For millenia, everything was great, until the Creeper showed up. Then things started going downhill. The Creeper, which seems to be a form of sentient, xenophobic, destructive ooze, flowed across the human empire, killing trillions of people. On the first day alone, it struck 50 planets and slaughtered nearly 500 billion humans. The remaining fifty thousand humans gathered on a planet called Hope guided by the writings of the Old Man, and constructed the mobile outpost known as Odin City. The player takes the role of Commander of Odin City. Each map is a human world that had been overrun by Creeper, and your job is to power up Warp Totems so you can teleport to the next one.
One of the things that makes the game noticeable is that it eschews some established Real Time Strategy tropes, and taking new looks at others. The result is a rather unique gameplay style, and can be addictive. Like Go or Checkers, it's easy to pick up, but can take some time to master. There is only one resource, energy, which is collected by plonking down Fractal Energy Collectors across the map. The more sections of the map that is covered by your collectors, the more energy you produce. However, at the same time, Creeper emitters will try to cover the map with Creeper as well, which damages any of your buildings it touches. You stop the flow of creatures by building weapons, which blasts away the mean ooze. Fight your way through the waves of Creeper and connect the Warp Totems to win the map. If the Creeper deals enough damage to Odin City, it'll be destroyed and you lose.
Tropes exemplified in this game
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Averted. Go ahead and build as many Blasters, Mortars, and Drones as you like. Good luck powering them without sufficient energy, though.
- Construct Additional Pylons: Averted, kinda. You don't have to build training facilities, and non-weapon buildings can be put anywhere within your energy network. However, it's often a good idea to put them right next to Odin City, however, to speed up building times on them, and ensure they're among the last things threatened by the Creeper.
- Command and Conquer Economy: In full effect. But to be fair, it's pretty much just the player who is doing all of the work.
- Cosmetically Different Sides: Averted. To be fair, if you squint, the green zone that represents your energy production can resemble the spreading blue of the Creeper, but the Creeper has emitters that just make more Creeper. You have actual buildings and weapons.
- Critical Existence Failure: Your weapons will continue to deal full damage even if they're down to their last Hit Point. The game actually encourages you to take advantage of this: Dropping a Blaster into some Creeper that it can kill will deal minimal damage to it, but will soon be pushed back.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts: The only way to defend yourself against the blue menace.
- Easy Logistics: Averted. One of the reasons you require so much energy is that it gets converted into the ammo for your weapons. And without a network of collectors and relays to deliver said ammo, your weapons will fire what they have and stop. Quick way to get overrun.
- Fog of War: Averted. You can watch the Creeper flow out of its emitters, which on later difficulties, can be pretty scary when you see just how much is being produced.
- The Creeper was actually inspired by Fog of War, though!
- Foreshadowing: The existence of The Precursors, and Platius/Old Man's relationship with the Commander.
- Forgotten Superweapon: Oh, did you not notice there's another box for a weapon next to Drones?
- Hold the Line: The beginnings of each map can play out like this, until you build up enough weapons and energy to push the Creeper back. Played straighter on the final map of story mode, at least until you find the Forgotten Superweapon.
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The final map of story mode, again. See Hold the Line.
- Actually, it's possible to win it without using the superweapon if you build lots of weapons. Only, it breaks the game.
- Heroic Sacrifice: The Commander tries to do this with the Forgotten Superweapon, but a Deus Ex Machina on the behalf of The Precursors saves him. Played straighter by The Precursors themselves, except for Platius/Old Man.
- Nanomachines: This game is absolutely in love with nanotech. The plans for new buildings are even called nano schematics. It's implied that this is how humanity did everything before the advent of the Creeper, so you're using the leftovers of civilization to defend you on the maps.
- Non-Entity General: You play the "Commander," who is assisted by "OPS."
- No Recycling: Sadly truth.
- Reinventing the Wheel: Played straight precisely once in the campaign mode, for tutorial purposes. For the rest of the game, it's averted.
- Until you get to the second half of the game, where it is played painfully straight again. Have fun researching the same 6 upgrades mission after a mission.
- Ridiculously-Fast Construction: Powered by Nanomachines!
- Separate but Identical: Not even anywhere close.
- Sequel Hook: In the ending. And lo and behold, for there is actually a sequel, too!
- Shout-Out: The credits state the author is a fan of multiple science fiction series. The Commander person may have been inspired by Battlestar Galactica Reimagined's Commander Adama (as well as references to The Old Man), and Odin City bears a striking resemblance to Atlantis.
- Stop Poking Me: Sadly averted.
- Strong Flesh Weak Steel: Perhaps inverted. The player creates technological buildings and weapons, while your foe is waves upon waves of (what appears to be) biological slime.
- Support Power: Type 3. There are masses of undifferentiated Nanomachines on some maps, and if you can build your energy network to them, you can spend them on upgrades.
- Tech Tree: Averted. Like the Support Power above, there are nano schematics lying around on certain maps. build your energy network to one, and you instantly learn how to build the associated tech.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: In the final level, you're supposed to complete it by holding out until the super weapon becomes available, but you can actually power your way through the entire level. Only the black hole at the end is supposed to be defeated by Thor ramming into it and exploding, destroying it. So what happens instead? Knuckle Cracker pops up a message congratulating you for being so 1337 and tells you that, for the sake of the story, it's going to assume that you used the superweapon anyways.
- The Precursors: Previously unmentioned 'Others', among their numbers being Platius/Old Man. Can feel like a bit of an Ass Pull, especially if you don't understand the Foreshadowing.
- You Require More Vespene Gas: As previously stated, you're going to need a looooooot of energy. The method of gathering and using said energy is pretty unique, though.