A downloadable game for Windows

Overview

Take control of a small team of contractors, hired by mysterious suits for impossible jobs against powerful corporations. Your contractors each have custom cybernetics that allow them to use a host of abilities, represented by cards. These cards are used in turn-based combat for actions such as movement, attacking, defending, and special abilities. Along with combat, you'll also encounter events, character upgrades, and black market shops as you explore each corporation. Add and remove cards from your decks to customize each character to your liking!

Features

  • It's called Power, not mana
    • Playing cards costs Power, and the bad news is that each round your Power resets to zero. The good news is that each card can also be discarded to gain Power. Do you keep each character balanced and focus your Power on the character with the best hand each turn? Or do you make one of your characters into a recycler to fuel their killing machine companion? 
  • Game-changing cybernetic upgrades
    • Along with adding new cards to their decks, characters can also be modified through permanent Upgrades. Unlike cards, these Upgrades are always active and can greatly change how a character plays. Want to drain the life from your enemies every time they bleed? That can be arranged, at the cost of never healing through standard means again. 
  • Unique character classes
    • Each player character is represented by a different class, and each class has their own unique cards to build a deck from. The Soldier uses ranged attacks with his guns and shields to block incoming damage. The Ninja is limited to mostly melee attacks with their daggers, but can also move around the maps with ease to avoid enemy attacks entirely.
  • Random-ish levels
    • Hand-made environments and encounters are pieced together through procedural generation to build each unique level. Changing layouts, hazards, and events keep each run fresh, while enemy encounters and combat maps are designed for fun and challenge.

Download

Download
Hostile Takeover Demo - v0.2105.zip 147 MB

Development log

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Comments

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(+1)

Know I'm kinda late to the party, but in the hopes that this project is still under development, I thought I'd give some feedback :)

Just finished my first and only run (after the tutorial) in the second loop after encountering a bug that stopped me from progressing. I used the "report incident" shortcut (F8), and hope you can find the cause. Despite the abrupt end, I had a good time!

First off, my biggest concern is the lack of strategic importance put on positioning (at least when playing paladin and mountain). I realize this might be rooted in a balancing issue, but I hardly ever used move cards at all, and after the first loop, I got rid of them. The enemy will swarm at you regardless, and having a bunch of cards that can't deal or mitigate damage is simply a handicap. In addition, I got one upgrade that gave me permanent cover, and another that gave me dashes every turn.

Secondly, I never had a man down (though I obviously never got that far), but I can see how that mechanic could potentially be frustrating. It means struggling players will have a harder time from then on, with the odds gradually stacking up against them. Considering how few and weak your options of healing are, I'm guessing it's pretty likely for the same character to die repeatedly (as they are only revived with 5 hp)

Thirdly, I think the virus mechanic is really cool, especially how their severity scales with how much power they take to get rid off, but I found that I would often spare the last opponent in a room just to wait until I could remove them. This is somewhat reminiscent of  healing with certain deckbuilds in "slay the spire" which you mention as an influence, but I still think it can become a chore. Without the experience to back it up, I also think it will be strategic to just get rid of all your bad starting cards in the first, easiest loop, where the handicap of a virus is manageable, but I don't think that's the most fun way to play. Maybe make the power-cost decrease per room/battle instead of per use?

Fourthly, a couple of ui-issues: As someone else just mentioned, there are several points where I get a prompt to make a choice, and can't look at my decks or upgrades. I might just be spoiled after "into the breach", but I would also love some way of checking the enemy turn-orders (though I can see how this could be a little too "gamey").  There were also a few times where I wanted to check the AOE of a card, but had to make the power for it first. I think it would be nicer if you could select a card, even if you can't afford it.

Fifthly, I think the shield-mechanic is interesting, but has a few problems. It's already a bit weird that the shield you get from cover stays with you once you leave it, or that it helps you against attacks from behind, but once I got used to that, it didn't bother me. The real problem is scaling, and how after just one loop, enemies started dealing so much damage that the 3 shield you got from cover is almost negligible. It ends up as sort of a wasted mechanic with little impact. Maybe increase the amount gained from cover per loop? Also, the fact that almost half of the attacks that hit me would deplete all the shield I had, regardless of the amount, and how this obviously led to the "armored" status-effect just to counter it, is a bit clumsy. It makes going for a shield-build seem unreliable. Maybe remove or reduce the amount of shield-drain enemies, and make shields slowly deplete per turn instead?

Sixthly (are these even words anymore?), I think character-locked upgrades is frustrating. Several times I leveled up and got new upgrades, just to find that both characters got the one I wish I could put on the other, rendering them nearly useless. Especially since you have the upgrade rooms where you actually do get to choose as a comparison. One of the great joys in any tcg or rpg is the feeling of optimizing your build, and this made them feel clunky and imperfect.

Seventhly, I was a bit confused on this point, but I believe you only draw cards up to your hand-limit every turn. This means you are sort of punished for not spending all your cards, because you'll draw fewer in the turn to come (allowing you to play fewer cards overall). This incentivises individually strong cards instead of synergies (which are more fun in my opinion). There might be some aspect to this I haven't realized, but otherwise, I would heavily suggest to just allow the player to draw a set amount of cards, the delayed turn is punishment enough!

I'm not going to delve into features that are just a matter of more content, like more diverse enemies or interactable objects on the battlefields, but I do hope you make the card-pools character specific (the decks of my paladin and my mountain ended up very similar).

I also wanted to mention the theme, even if it isn't strictly criticism. I think what you touch on with the viruses and the sci-fi tech like teleportation is really cool, and I'd love to see this game take that matrix-esque direction. I'm personally a bit put off by the "modern warfare"-aesthetic, and I also guess some of the more lacking mechanics and designs are pulled along with it. I'm not suggesting to make the whole dungeon a simulation or anything (though saying that, it does sound cool), but it's something to consider.

As someone interested in game-design, I had a lot of fun writing this out, and if you can find some use for it, that would just be an added bonus!

PS: Sorry for the long comment!

Hi, thanks a lot for all of your feedback! I'll address what I can in response :)

Clearly I need to make this more apparent, but Paladin and Mountain are just randomly-generated names - both of those characters are of the Soldier class and have the same deck and upgrades to choose from. Currently there are two classes in game, the Soldier and the Ninja, with at least one more (Engineer) planned. I recently added the ability to play as the same class just to give people another option since playing as just the Soldier and Ninja each time could get repetitive.

The looping is just a temporary solution to let the player see and experience more deck and upgrade synergies - the full game will have three environmental levels to complete, each with unique enemy encounters. A lot of the enemies in the first (and only) level are melee, pistol, and shotgun enemies, which forces them to get into close range to the player. While the option for a non-movement deck should be a possibility (with things like stacking Stealth for the Ninja or long-range sniper cards for the Soldier), movement cards are admittedly not as important for the Soldier as they are for the Ninja or Engineer.

Funny enough, your point about viruses is one I put a lot of thought into, as optimizing the fun out of something is always what good players will do, and what you described is exactly how I saw it playing out. In my current build, I've changed removing cards to be an option post-combat instead of adding a card. I feel that missing out on a card or money is (for now) a fair price to pay for removing a card, and viruses can also be removed this way. I like allowing the player to remove viruses during combat, too, though. By trashing the virus once it's recycled, it ensures that if you want to wait it out like you chose to, you have to suffer its effects each turn as you can't just recycle it and wait for it to be drawn again once combat is safe. Once the game is better-balanced, hopefully the penalty of not only losing a card slot to keep it in-hand, but the negative effects themselves each turn, will be a better risk/reward choice than the optimal choice to make every time.

The current Shielding mechanic is after numerous iterations, and apart from the Soldier having the option of playing a "tank" class, it's meant to prevent or reduce damage from a single attack. This is another important aspect of movement cards - since you can view the attack range of enemies, and always have their intended target and action, movement becomes a defensive option to prevent them from reaching you to attack. I'm not saying it's perfect, and I'm sure some more adjustments will occur, just giving you the reasoning behind it :)

For upgrades, each character class has around 15 unique upgrades, and there are 10 upgrades that are class-neutral. The class-specific ones are always chosen from for reaching level 3 (also I hate the term 'level' for that and need a better phrase/graphic), and the shop will contain 1-2 character-specific upgrades. Neutral upgrades are always at least one shop option, and are always chosen from upgrade machines. I think your frustration was coming from playing the same class for both characters and seeing ones you wanted to swap with. Since levelup upgrades are class-specific, and require the character to have three consecutive combats without dying to gain, there are no plans to allow them to be swapped between characters.

I went with the option to draw up to your hand size each turn for two reasons - one, initially it was a simple discard/redraw each turn. I like that style because it forces you to work with what you're given rather than what you want, but I also liked the option to 'set up' plays yourself. Since NOT recycling a card reduces your power gain each turn, I made the change to let the player choose to not recycle a card and hold on to it between turns. If the player can hold cards and then draw ADDITIONAL cards each turn, this would produce strategies to run and hide for as long as possible to build up a giant hand, and then unload everything at once. By capping the hand size each turn, it still retains that 'work with what you have' strategy, while providing the option to save up for a wombo-combo if you're willing to make some sacrifices to do so.

Finally, the theme is absolutely cyberpunk, and additional character, environment, and ability designs should reinforce this as more content is added :)

Thanks again for all of the feedback, you've given me a lot to think about and work with, and that's the best thing I can ask for!

Thanks for the in-depth answer! Looking forward to playing when it's further along in development :D

It was maybe a bit arrogant of me to write such a lengthy review based on a single, unfinished play-through (obviously, my misconception about the classes solves quite a few of my issues (Not a ridiculous mistake, one of them were named "paladin" :P)). Looking at the character-specific upgrades again, I also think it will solve itself automatically once the shop has more stuff I'd want (so taking cash instead doesn't feel like you're foregoing one of the limited options for a permanent upgrade). I don't think you should underestimate how much better some of the upgrades are compared to cards though! (as they don't cost power, don't take up a card slot AND goes into effect immediately), so missing out on an upgrade should pay very well!

If shield was supposed to always disappear with a single hit, I think I ran into another, tiny bug

I see your first point about the hand-limit, but I don't think the "save up cards, then unload all at once" strategy sound so bad. In my experience, the only time i could use movement to "run away from danger" was against melee-enemies on the first turn, and it requires you to somehow mitigate the damage on the turns where you aren't doing anything. Also, these "god-turns" where you just decimate the enemy and feel super clever and powerful can be kind of fun. You obviously know the systems wayyy better than me though, so if you think it would break the game, you're probably right ;)

Rooting for you, good luck!

(+1)

Unless I'm just missing how, it sure would be nice to be able to see a character's current deck when deciding on a new card to add.

I talked to you in Discord about this, but thanks for the suggestion, it'll be in the game next patch! 

(+1)

Me: I wonder what would happen if you crossed XCOM with Slay the Spire?

Whispering Spider: You're welcome.

I am loving this so far.  It's a whole lot of fun and has a lot of strategic decision making.  The only thing I have a little trouble with is that there isn't really a lot of early aggro management, so it's extremely hard to keep my ninja alive until I start getting cards like Doppelganger, All for One, Meat Shield, etc.  Is there a rhyme or reason to the targeting of enemies, or is it random?  I usually have about 75% of mobs in a room targeting the ninja, so I'm not sure if this is totally random or intentional.

Either way, keep up the great work!

Thanks a lot! Those two games are definitely influences, and I hope that my game is unique enough to build off of other games that I look to for inspiration :)

As for your question about aggro management, currently enemy target selection is 100% random. Way back in the day when it was a straight SRPG things like threat, distance-to-target, and target HP were all built-in to the AI. Since making the shift to cards, however, it became super not-fun to juggle aggro on top of random abilities each turn, so enemies choose their ability, and then have a 50/50 chance to target each player character if it's an offensive ability.

For now that's how it's likely to stay, but I understand the frustration of a streak of bad luck, so at some point down the line I may add some kind of 'bad luck protection' where it will weight the other character's chances of being selected higher after consecutively choosing the same character.

Thanks again for your interest, kind words, and feedback, and keep your eye out as a pretty large patch will be released in the next day or two!

As far as looking to games for inspiration, I always think about Doom and Diablo.  Back when they were released, everyone (myself included) called similar games Doom clones and Diablo clones.  But now they are First Person Shooters and Action Role Playing Games.  

You can have a game that wears its inspiration on its sleeve and still distinguish it with unique mechanics or settings, just as Hostile Takeover does.  It's not a "Slay the Spire" clone, but a Tactical Roguelike Deckbuilder.

For the aggro portion, maybe one of the ninja's starting cards could be one that helps offset squishiness.  Dodge helps, but there are a ton of times where I need more than one move and the +3 shield doesn't usually help all that much.  Meat Shield is definitely my favorite, and doesn't push you towards a certain build like any of the clone cards would.

Anyway, just my two cents.  I'm exicted to see the new patch, and I'll be playing this a lot for the forseeable future.

(+2)

Very well implemented game mechanics. Very fun for the deck-builder in me. I like the strategy of choosing between which cards to use and which to recycle. Makes combat more interesting, like a simplified version of chess. Looking forward to future updates! 

Some notes follow:

The boss could use more minions or perhaps some special moves, as he's not much challenge. I wish there was a separate screen for the Upgrades, as it seems like its going to run out of space during my 3rd loop. Plus, it would just be more visually appealing. The taunting cards should actually play some kind of sound when used. There should be an indicator and/or a lockout method for trying to purchase/choose an upgrade you already have. As such, I actually bought TWO Steroids cards from the shop thinking they would stack with the other one I had already found, when sadly all I did was waste 200+ credits.

I have some issues with combat not resolving when using the Soldier's base shotgun cards (I think its called Buckshot?). It only started happening after my 2nd loop and also after I modified one of them to have 0 cost/Trash. Since then, about a third of the time I use a Buckshot (be in the 0 cost one or not) the card will do damage but then stops and never allows me to continue my turn. The red range indicators still appear so I suspect whatever event controls the ending of that card is bugged?

Hi, thank you so much for the kind words, and especially for the feedback! 

Would you mind expanding on what you mean by a separate screen for the Upgrades? To view which upgrades you have installed? Currently you can view those when viewing your deck in the upper-left, but I know it's not ideal and it likely won't be the final way to view them.

I'll have to look into why existing upgrades are being offered up, that's definitely a bug! Right now it should just give you a generic +MaxHP mod if no other upgrades are available, but clearly that's not the case.

As for the game getting stuck after using an ability, that's an old bug that I hoped was finally resolved as of version 0.811, which was released Friday 8/11. Is that the version that you were playing? If so, it's back to the drawing board for that problem. Also if it gets stuck on you again, pressing F8 will allow you to submit a bug report which also grabs the state of all in-game objects and sends it to me, which is a huge help in tracking down bugs!

Thanks again for the interest and the feedback, it's much appreciated :)

(+1)

Not a problem. I'm happy to give my feedback on something I had so much fun with.

Upgrades:
Yes, to view which ones I have currently installed. Correct, they are shown in the upper-left when viewing your deck. My issue is that after so many loops through the game it will very likely be the case that I will run out of room for them in such a small horizontal space. That's all. It'd be nice to see their art in original size as well. That's why I was asking for a separate screen for them, pretty much identical to how you view your deck.

As far as the upgrades in the store, I never ran across one that increased my max HP (that would have been very useful!) but perhaps that's because I didn't buy every single upgrade that was offered to me, only the ones that seemed worthwhile. But yes, during my 2nd loop the store offered not one but two Steroids cards for my characters to purchase, even though I already had one installed on my Ninja.

Version:
Ahhh, I see. I currently have version 0.719 so perhaps that bug did in fact get fixed. I'll keep the F8 reporting function in mind in case things happen again. In the meantime it seems I need to download the newest version. I suspect that means it'll restart my progress, which means I still don't get to try out that third character yet LOL.

Also, nice to see a developer responding to feedback! Good on  you :)

Thanks for the additional kind words :)


When the character windows are opened I'm working on putting in tabs on the left-side to switch between characters, and tabs at the top to switch between Cards and Upgrades using the same card view. Hopefully that should help alleviate that issue!

I'll have to look into why the upgrades aren't looping properly, that one is definitely a bug. Each upgrade should never be offered twice, and since there aren't enough upgrades currently in-game to handle looping, it should just offer the +MaxHP upgrade when it runs out for now.

Currently the Engineer isn't in-game yet, so there's no progress to be lost :X The next patch is making the final changes to core systems (card removals and viruses are getting reworked) and filling out the remainder of the core cards for the Soldier and Ninja. The Engineer will likely be next, so she should be playable sometime in early October.

If you're interested in keeping up with things and providing more feedback Discord is a great place for it, and sometimes other people will chime in with their thoughts, too! If you want to join here's a link, and if not that's cool, too. Thanks again!

https://discord.gg/BdwueB6

(1 edit) (+1)

Hey, no problem! I'm happy to offer constructive criticism (especially if it means the game gets better!)

Tabs would be awesome and I think a great way to save space.

I never did try to click the Engineer, so that's why I had mentioned it in my previous comment. After I had beaten the game once, her character art was in color instead of black and white so I was certain I had unlocked her. I was afraid I'd end up losing all the good stuff I'd built up already so I didn't try a new game. Speaking to that, would it be possible to have a few save slots instead of just the current game you have going?

I'm on Discord for voice acting projects so I have no problems joining your server. I'll do that now and leave these comments here. Thanks for your hard work!

Edit: BTW I just wanted to mention that I can't speak to anything regarding Viruses. I actually never died and had to gain one XD

(+3)

Hi! Awesome game, have you thought about publishing to steam in the future? I work with an Indie publisher and we'd love to work with you if you are. Feel free to reach out if you want to chat or have questions. Email: deana@sedoc.net

(+1)

This game is Amazing! I can't wait to see what else you have in store!

(+1)

Thanks, and me too! I hope I can keep new content interesting and exciting :)

(+4)

This is fantastic. It's like a cross between "Into the Breach" and "Slay the Spire" with a little bit borrowed from "X-COM."

Please finish this game! I can tell you're on the cusp of something great here.

(+1)

Thank you so much! As the game has shifted into what it is today I definitely don't hide its influences. I just hope that it's unique enough to offer something different than the other games currently available :)

(+1)

I love the recylcing feature, it makes the game so much more intresting, I love it!

Thanks! I think the recycling adds a lot more options and choices than a simple mana/power bar that refills every turn, and I'm glad at least one other person agrees :)

(+2)

Hey! This game is really great! I appreciate the mechanical considerations and enjoy the tactical problems posed by each challenge. I'll tell my friends about it and I look froward to seeing how it will develop.

Hey, thanks a lot! I'd love to hear any feedback (especially negative) that you have. If you're interested in providing any I've got a Discord server with channels specifically for providing feedback - https://discord.gg/BdwueB6. If not, no big deal, and thanks again for playing!