If you enjoy first person shooters but are tired of the emphasis on team play, then this may be for you. Made by Rooster Teeth, the studio behind the famous Red v Blue series, Vicious Circle is an uncooperative shooter. Play occurs in lopsided, 1v4 matches. One player takes on the role of the monstrous mutated chicken, Peggy Sue, whilst the others play mercenaries. The mercenaries’ goal is simple: collect enough ‘nuggets’ (strange glowing cubes) to activate the escape teleport, then leave the level alive. Peggy Sue’s goal is even simpler: squash all mercenaries.
Where things get really interesting is the fact only one player can win. Only one mercenary can teleport out and win the match, and if they all get defeated, Peggy Sue wins. While mercenaries can’t directly hurt one another, they can lock doors (locking unfortunate players in with Peggy Sue), and use gadgets – such as shock grenades and sonic mines – which not only slow down Peggy Sue but also force any players hit to drop some of their hard-earned nuggets. Even if a player gets caught by the chicken, that’s not the end. Downed players get launched back into the fray as Lil’Dippers – strange and highly mobile be-tentacled blobby things (which, thanks to brilliant animation and sound design, somehow manage to be gross and endearing at the same time), that have the ability to possess surviving mercenaries, stealing their body and all the nuggets they’re carrying. As such, matches tend to devolve into pure, hilarious chaos, as one player, pursued by three Lil’Dippers and Peggy Sue, tries desperately to reach the extraction zone. And there is little that is more satisfying than snatching victory from another player, just as they are about to teleport out.
This game is pure chaos and silliness (complete with an evil overlord directing Peggy Sue), wrapped up in an 80s sci-fi cartoon aesthetic. It’s inspired, brilliant, and frankly some of the best fun I’ve had in any FPS game to date. Sadly, the game failed to find traction amongst the player community. Instead of pulling the game, however, Rooster Teeth made it free-to-play. If you can find a game, you’re in for a real treat, and with it not costing a cent to play, there’s absolutely no excuse to jump on and have a go. Highly, highly recommended. ■