I recently purchased a brand new laptop. It has all the bells and whistles and even has a pretty beefy mobile graphics card. So what’s the first game I play on it? A two dollar retro game called Beam Down Drone. It’s billed as an “Action Combat Platformer,” and I definitely agree. The playable character is called a drone and it’s current mission is to find a downed mothership and also put up with a slightly sarcastic computer that is there to give guidance-ish. Never trust a computer that sounds too happy. I’ve seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, I know how this goes.
The first thing I noticed when I started the game up is all of the beautiful artwork and sprites. The music and sounds remind me of so many SNES games. I have been gaming for longer than I even realize sometimes, and this game brought me right back to my early years of PC gaming. The vines instantly made me think about Jill of the Jungle, a platformer from 1992 where you are a female amazon warrior. The second game that came to mind was Commander Keen 4: Secret of the Oracle, another platformer (from 1991 this time) where you play the role of a genius kid out to save the galaxy. Those are both good things, I played the hell out of those games, they had a certain draw to them. Beam Down Drone has that same draw.
What sets it apart from those blast from the past games is the mouse controlled cross hair, the XP, attributes that can be upgraded, and special abilities. The HUD is worth mentioning as well. There are shortcut keys that make it easy to see the drone’s current stats or weapon stats. Along the way there are weapons that are able to be swapped for one another, the drone can only carry one weapon at a time. My favorite weapon, at the moment, is the SMG… or is that SMLB (Sub Machine Laser Blaster)? Should the drone get hurt by one of the indigenous furry fiends there is hope. Strewn around each level are health kits to get you back in the game. Once the player gets far enough through an area they will be greeted by one of four bosses. The first of which is a gigantic gorilla mother that sends her hordes of creatures out to take you down.
The inhabitants of this planet seem to all be of the animal or insect variety except for the second boss that I encountered (I won’t spoil it, and I love the sprites of that boss). There are green dog-mole rat looking creatures, red jack rabbit droopy chinned beasts, rhino’s (yeah I said it… frickin rhino’s), and giant laser shooting wasps. I’m still working my way through the game so those are the ones I have run into so far. It would be very safe to assume that there are many more to be had as the levels progress.
I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked this game up, I don’t think I really had any inkling of what I was about to get myself into. At only $1.99 on itch.io it’s hard to go wrong with Beam Down Drone. It’s one of those games that pulls the player back in for just one more run to see how much farther they can get.
Take a few minutes and watch my very first Let’s Play video (ever, be kind) If you want to see the game in action.
Check out these links for more information as well as where to purchase Beam Down: Drone