For a game that’s currently pre-alpha, Proletariat Inc.’s Streamline does a great job of drawing you into playing it. Even though it’s described as being Pac-Man-esque, it’s more closely related to Sunset Overdrive.
Colors explode off the screen and suck you in like a moth to a flame; movement needs to be non-stop for you to have a chance at winning. The gameplay is fast and constantly changing, and perhaps most importantly, it gets more fun and hectic the more viewers are watching.
Streamline is perhaps the first game designed and built from the ground up to be broadcast. Not only is streaming it a major component of the game, watching it is as well. When a full contingent of players are ready to go, 10 in the demo I was playing (which was designed to look like an approximation of the massive PAX East show floor), the audience is given a chance to bet on which player will win the match via the streamer’s loyalty currency if they have enough subscribers. Viewers can also affect the game by shopping for and activating different “rules” that can be added to the round. These rules can vary from the simple, such as low gravity, to the harder to deal with, such as the floor is lava. An interesting effect of these rule changes is how it can level the playing field; newer players can find certain rules make the game easier for them.
Traversal is the key to surviving long enough to collect points. Players can jump, double-jump, wall-run, long jump, and slide to get around levels, and boosts can be activated but can quickly be burned through if overused. All these moves need to be used, sometimes one after another, in order to get around. If the need arises, you can also attack other players to stun them, but I went an entire round without hitting anyone as long as I kept moving. The streamer is the only player who can actually eliminate other players with a giant stop sign. Like the saying goes, “You don’t have to be faster than the bear, just faster than everyone else.”
My one concern about this component is what about gamers who are just starting to stream and haven’t built a following, or streamers with a low viewership? Will there be some sort of built in workaround to minimize the negative impact of not having a lot of viewers? The alpha should go live soon, and with a Q4 release date projected, does have time to figure out the details in order to make Streamline as successful as its potential seems to indicate.
For more information about Streamline, check out their official website.