INSIDIA First Play

If you look at the most played PC games over the last few years, MOBAs have dominated the playspace. While most have a similar sort of appeal, INSIDIA strives to do something a bit different.

The aims are the same, infiltrate an enemy base by breaching their defenses and sabotage it to win the day. That’s where the similarities start to end, though, and other genres start to blend in.

You have four troops either side and control them in a turn-based fashion. Each troop has different attributes and abilities, but they also have different classes and selection of your squad is as vitally important to victory as it is the way you play in a match. When heading into a game, you need to choose between a tank, support, specialist, assassin, and fighter. We’d advise having an even spread in order to give yourself the best chance at victory.

The tank, as you might expect, is the character who can take the most damage. They also pull other enemies towards them and can take the most damage. The assassin can get deadly shots in and usually pull off the most DPS but are a bit flimsy and easy to kill face to face. Fighters are well-rounded, with the ability to take a hit but also dish one out. Support can buff a party in many different ways, such as healing or giving additional damage, and usually stay on the backlines. Specialists usually have one thing they’re really good at and can really change a change with a moment of magic.

You’ll get various different types of classes as well, for instance one assassin is great with a long range rifle, whereas another is most effective with knives up close. So it could be you go with two characters within the same class as they essentially do different things in a similar way.

INSIDIA gives you a lot to think about in team composition and you’ll probably change your favoured combination many times over. I started to favour Naima, the rifle shooting assassin with a powerful overwatch ability – I’ll explain why shortly – Gunther, the thick, dwarven tank who can cast a shield to make him immune to damage for a short time, Angor, a devastating raw melee fighter who is best placed to infiltrate an enemy base, and Shiryo, an effective knife striker. However, playing in certain ways made me rethink combinations a few times, so I’m definitely not married to the unit.

 

And, of course, like all good MOBAs, your characters have fun skins you can purchase for in-game credits. For instance, Angor has a police officers uniform complete with a doughnut and Gunther can deck himself out in a pretty fly penguin suit. You also have in-game achievements and titles which reward you with credits, as well as give you some bragging rights when playing online.

Of course, you can have the best team combination going, but INSIDIA is very much a territory game as well. The way bases can be infiltrated is by capturing a powerful cannon at the centre of the arena. One of your characters needs to be stood – uninterrupted – on the cannon cross for three turns in order for it to fire on the opponent’s base. Once it fires, the cannon breaks down one of the three defensive pods protecting your base. This then gives you a clear path to one of the bases’ weak spots which can be sabotaged for victory.

To give you an idea of how a match can play out, I’ll explain my team choice. Firstly, Naima’s overwatch ability becomes an important tool as she can be situated near the fringes of the cannon and scan the area for an incoming enemy threat. Each time you move a character, you can also change the position they’re facing and if anyone stands within her radius she’ll shoot them on sight. If that shot doesn’t kill them, she’ll keep firing until they are. She can also provide covering fire if the cannon area is contested between you and the enemy. You just need to make sure she’s protected.

That’s where Shiryo can come into play. Lurking around nearby, waiting for someone to try and attack her, he can cut them off with a devastating sneak attack. This is especially important as you cannot repeat a turn with the same character on your next go. So if you’ve just positioned Naima in a great spot the turn before, she won’t be able to defend herself from a blind spot the time after.

Being able to take the most damage, Gunther is a natural champion to plonk in the centre on cannon duty. His attacks aren’t particularly effective, but use him right and he won’t go down long enough for you to blast a hole in the enemies defenses. Meanwhile, Naima can pick enemies off from a distance while their attacks are focused on him.

The thing to watch out for is friendly fire which is, surprisingly, a huge part of the game in INSIDIA. If, say, an enemy has appeared in Naima’s sights, she will lock onto that target with Overkill. What the enemy can do to defend themselves is skirt around Gunther so that he takes the brunt of the blow, damaging him in the process and leaving him vulnerable on the counter attack. What may seem like a massive tactical advantage can quickly turn on you, so it’s important to always have a Plan B, C, and D to keep up.

Finally Angor, the werewolf type creature can also be used as a roaming champion to protect others on the board, but is best served to be the one that gets the death blow on the base. He has a relatively high amount of health, a devastating power attack and also has a lot of moves per turn. It would almost seem unthinkable to rule him out of any team as he’s borderline overpowered.

But that’s something BadSeed have done relatively well and that’s balance units fairly. Yes, some of the assassin characters do go down a bit easily but in the right combination that shouldn’t be a problem. There’s a nice mix, with each offering something different. Other characters are definitely better than others, but you feel like with more players onboard, the development team will figure out ways to bring everyone to an even playing field.

I’ve enjoyed playing INSIDIA and I’m not a MOBA gamer by any stretch of the imagination. I do love a good RTS, though, and as such, this definitely works for me. It’s something different and overtime, as this game builds and evolves, it’s going to pick up on a global level.

To be honest, I haven’t played enough online matches to give more detailed analysis of the game. I had a lot of connectivity issues between getting kicked to the lobby and matches just randomly ending. There’s probably going to be a lot of tweaking and rebalancing ready for launch, but after some practice sessions with the AI, I definitely came to understand the game quickly and am onboard with its concept.

I’ll keep playing INSIDIA over the weeks and months, likely throwing in a few guides, tips, and strategies, to give a more thorough overview of the game, but it’s definitely one to try, especially as it’s F2P. I can’t see it usurping LoL or SMITE any time soon as the content is a bit bare bones, but it’s marching to the beat of its own drummer and offering something fresh and different.

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,