Project M.U.R.V. Desura Review

Aliens are attacking and only you as Project M.U.R.V. (Multiple Unmanned Robotic Vehicle) can get civilians to safety in this bare bones, overhead arcade shooter. You have take aim with the mouse and click to shoot. You get a score based on how many people are safely evacuated on a subway. These civilians are everywhere and seemingly running around randomly. If they get to a train themselves they’ll board it easy enough. For those that can’t make it to the transit system, you need to guide them by getting near them and hitting the right mouse button to have them follow you. Once they’re behind you, escort them to the subway that hustles them away. You don’t need to do this with every civilian, in fact one of the game’s flaws is that the civilians are perfectly capable to make it on board the train. After each train leaves, new civilians spawn.  You keep going until you’re out of health.

Since you are a robot, you have way too much health, but to make up for that, MURV only has one life. I don’t consider this a bad thing. Its a nice trade off. You can spend hours in the game never drying. Just stand in a corner and let the civilians evacuate themselves while keeping yourself alive. There doesn’t seem to be any punishment if they meet a grim demise at the hand of an alien insect.

You’ve got two guns from the start, which is odd, because you’re operating a four armed robot. The first weapon is a purple laser that fires when you click the left mouse button and the second is another purple laser that rapid fires when you hold the button. Since they both have the same streaming purple laser, they feel the same, although I’d assume from a gameplay standpoint that the single shot is weaker. After a few tests, I couldn’t tell the difference. It feels like there is some sort of cool down with each weapon, but no timer that I can find.

The aliens jump into the map from up above, so they can spawn anywhere. To add to what little challenge there is, some aliens are either invisible or disguised as civilians. So you need to use scanners that you’ll find in various rooms. Hit the right mouse button when standing next to a scanner to send a scan wave that will uncloak any hidden alien. Its an interesting idea I just wish that it was better.

There is just one map and the game seems endless. Perhaps I didn’t make it far enough to see a second level. I have no problem with one map, but I’d just prefer to ratchet up the challenge. The map itself has several rooms and you see a mini map that lets you know what room you’re in, but not much else.

The game is obviously either an alpha or a project to get the developer some skills. I like the premise and the thought of rescuing civilians, I just think that the game in general isn’t up to par. It still needs a lot of work to make it fun or interesting for more than five minutes.

The problem that I have are the little details with the game. Its not that fun for starters. The aliens all clump together and merge as one instead of having any sort of collision detection with each other. It would only enhance the game to have them fan out to surround me rather than have five merged together. Make me use my mouse movement skills. They have collision with the walls, just not the player or each other. It would be nice if the civilians didn’t merge as one either. Of course it would also be interesting if the humans or aliens had liquid bodies and their merging made them larger all together, but my job is to review, not give wild ideas. By that logic I could say the game would be better if it was a point-and-click adventure staring Renee Zelwigger.

There are no settings, key re bindings or controller support. The game itself uses the Unreal Engine logo as its program icon. I couldn’t hear any sound or music, so I’ll assume that the game had neither. These are all things that can get  worked out if the developer continues to work on Project MURV. One thing that I didn’t like is how it asked me for firewall access. Maybe that means it will or does have online multi player functionality. Perhaps the game keeps track of everyone’s high score with an online leader board. I found neither. The main menu does have an item for a high score, but since there is no mouse support on the main menu, I wasn’t able to click it. All I could do was push enter to start the game.

I think having levels that require you to bring X amount of civilians to the train would be a good idea. Even waves of stronger aliens that come more frequently the longer you take might be interesting. I’d also like to have the ability to shoot the civilians. No not because I’m a psychopath bent on evil, but because killing them means losing them forever. Even being able to destroy the scanners from an accidental laser would make things more provocative. The aliens themselves can try to destroy the scanners.

I don’t want to dissuade this or any developer from continuing their game. I can see that this is a free-to-play stepping stone. I just think that it is pretty basic and lacking a lot of frills that would keep me in the game.

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One thought on “Project M.U.R.V. Desura Review

  1. Hey There,

    It made my day finding this review. It was an alpha release for the game really and there would be more but sadly, it is no more. We disbanded shortly after submitting the game to Desura to all go our separate ways. Realistically none of us expected it to even get accepted by Desura so actually finding out that it did and that people actually played it and took the time to even review it is amazing. There really were a lot of issues with the game that we just didn’t take the time to focus on due to our university course at the time. Some of the control issues are due to us making it support Xbox controllers and making a build and then changing it back again, so some things were missed.

    Overall I’m just glad some people get to play it and I can stumble upon their reviews, have a little laugh and agree with basically everything that gets said.

    Again, made my day discovering this review.

    Former Lead Programmer of Reactive Games

    Like

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