Beacon for PC and XONE is a science-fiction roguelike shooter played in an isometric perspective. The game was created by Monothetic – an independent American studio established by active members of Half-Life 2’s modding community, popular mainly for Black Snow, which was an acclaimed modification. Beacon is the studio’s first game.
The player assumes the role of Freja – a hired female pilot whose ship crashes on the surface of an unknown planet. The protagonist dies as a result, but this poses no problem thanks to an on-board cloning station. The planet is inhabited by hostile Aliens and other life forms with a similar attitude. In order to find a way out of the trap, the protagonist has to make her way through hordes of enemies and find materials required to establish communication with those capable of rescuing her.
Beacon for PC and XONE is played from the classic, isometric view. The player makes their way through procedurally generated locations and shoots the enemies encountered – mainly Aliens, cultists, guarding robots, as well as native flora and fauna. As befits a roguelike game, death here is permanent and forces the player to start from the very beginning. What makes the job easier for the player however, is the fact that apart from gathering weapons and parts of equipment, the protagonist takes over the defeated DNA of the enemies – different DNA combinations can be thus created before starting a new game. Those DNA combinations deliver the protagonist with a set of useful mutations affecting the course of a playthrough.
In terms of technicalities, Beacon for PC and XONE offers old-school, colorful visuals. Spectacular explosions and lighting effects are accompanied here by poor character models and relatively stiff animations.