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PAX East 2018: Aftercharge Demo

With one more day left for this year’s PAX East, Stack-Up wanted to visit one of our regular favorite studios to check out their upcoming 3v3 FPS: Aftercharge. Quebec City-based Chainsawesome Games took Stack-Up through a few rounds to show off what makes Aftercharge a fun and innovative twist to 3v3s!

When invisible robots rise up against their creators, a civil war ensues to protect the dwindling resources from the mechanical rebels. Aftercharge takes six players (both local and online) and sets them up as either the humanoid defenders, or the robotic attackers. Both sides have an important advantage to accomplish their goals—the attackers are invisible, while the defenders are invincible. You can also select different classes to help your team with special abilities and power-ups.

Let’s start with the offensive team: the robots need to destroy the half dozen extractor station scattered across the map. Unless they’re attacking the stations or getting tracked by a defender, the attackers are completely invisible to the opposing team, and they’ll need to use that stealth to plan out their assault carefully. Robots are “deactivated” if their health reaches zero, but teammates can revive them by sharing a fraction of their own health—the same price applies for sharing abilities with attacker teammates.

The attackers have no long-range weapons at their disposal; if you’re going to win the match, you’ll have to sneak up to the extractor stations and punch them till they break. You’ll regain health with each blow, but be careful about how long you stay in one place—the defending team can see you while you’re hitting the extractor!

“It’s important to keep in mind that the extractors can’t be repaired,” says Laurent Mercure, Communications Officer for Chainsawesome Games, “every hit the robots land gets them one step closer to winning the round.”

Hit-and-run guerrilla tactics seem like the safest way to ensure Robot Victory, though it’s not exactly the swiftest route. “I’ve seen all three attackers gang up on one extractor at a time,” explains Mercure. “It’s fast, but risky…plus, you [probably] can’t use that trick on the last station.”

Now for the defenders: armed with guns, traps, and shields, it’s the defenders’ job to protect the extractors. While the attacking robots cannot kill the defenders, they can still bat them away and use special abilities to block incoming attacks. The defenders have a limited amount of ammo that can be replenished by standing by an extractor, which can be easily overlooked when you’re chasing an attacker away from a station. Unlike most popular “defend the command post” games, Aftercharge has no clock to outrun. The defending team wins once all three attackers are deactivated at the same time.

Mercure offered Stack-Up one of his personal strategies to playing defense: “Try to build defenses around one extractor…it’s a psychological trick to dissuade the offense from striking there till the end. It’s a good idea to decide early on where—if the time comes—your team wants to make your final stand.”

Aftercharge Screenshot Defenders Fallen Robots

Aftercharge’s maps are small, and designed so that every extractor station can be seen at any spot, even if all you can see is the light blue glow they shoot to the sky. This (relatively) close-quarter combat is vital to keeping each match short and intense. While the developers are considering the possibility of creating up to four maps and five classes for each side, Chainsawesome is adamant about keeping Aftercharge 3v3.

“You’ll only need two friends to fill out a team,” says Mercure. “That’s part of what makes Aftercharge compact, challenging, and fun…You’re forced to leave [at least one] team class out of each round. You’ll have to figure out how to win with what you’ve got.”

After our demo session, Stack-Up is even more excited to see more of this game, perhaps as part of an event in the near future. After winning both rounds of the demo with some fellow PAX East attendees, Stack-Up can say that Chainsawesome Games have come up with something special. Aftercharge is a fast, fun, and addicting 3v3 matchup.

Aftercharge will be coming to Steam, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch in 2018.

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