With games only getting bigger and more refined as the years go by, it’s unsurprising we’ve gotten used to certain luxuries always showing up in our games. Taken for granted. Reloading is one of those. We press a button and our in-game avatar reloads their weapon perfectly each time. But Receiver is the game where that convenience goes to die. Each part of the gun is operated using different keys, meaning being able to reload efficiently is half the battle. For some, to reload at all. “Pffft… How hard could it be?” You retort, arms folded confidently, perhaps an eyebrow raised? Well…
The controls can change due to there being three types of handgun as well. A Glock, an M1911 and a revolver of some sort. When you spawn, the gun will often be in an unsuitable condition to force you to learn the controls. The slide will be back, there won’t be a bullet in the chamber, the cylinder will be half empty, the magazine isn’t in your weapon. The list goes on and so do your failed attempts at operating a pistol. But when it finally clicks and you can finally reload at a somewhat decent speed without dropping the mag on the floor for the third time, you feel pretty damn good.
Once you’ve got reloading down, turned the safety off and loaded a round into the chamber, you’re ready for the actual game! (Trust me, it’s pretty embarrassing to pull the trigger and hear that infamous *click* before being riddled by bullets.) What IS the actual point of the game? Collecting the eleven cassette tapes that explain how you wound up in the situation of fighting for your life. But, like your inventory when you spawn, it’s randomised. Receiver is basically a tense and possibly fatal version of hide-and-seek. You seek the tapes, while turrets and manhacks from HL2 hide.
Fortunately, this is where your great aim
and dazzling good looks comes in. These are the only two threats in the game. (Except for fall damage, that is.) Each one has several components it requires to function. Piercing one of these can have differing effects, but the best is obviously simple destruction. Though, it is pretty entertaining to shoot through a turret sensor and watch it whirl around in circles trying to figure out what just happened. I’d like to mention more about the story, but I haven’t actually beaten the game yet. I think the furthest I got was 8/11. It’s unforgiving.
It’s fun to play a game where even with a firearm, you feel vulnerable. The pistol isn’t a weapon in the traditional sense, but rather a tool to disable. Simply hitting the intended target doesn’t guarantee it to be disabled, as your bullet must strike its weakness. Even loading bullets into a magazine or cylinder forces you to put your gun aside for a moment. After all, you only have two hands. In the screenshots below, there’s a turret just over the cover I’m ducked behind. So I make sure that my magazine is filled to the brim, just in case the fight gets messy and I need to spam shots quickly.
Fair warning, if you decide to pick this game up, know it was developed as part of a 7 day challenge to create an FPS. Optimisation is an issue. I intentionally lower my resolution and graphics quality to ensure a constant 60FPS, despite the less than basic graphics. On the plus side, you can still adjust the FOV and the distance of the weapon from your eye. But, for what it lacks in polish, it makes up for in unique mechanics and atmosphere. Sometimes you get screwed with a bad spawn, but it’s always exciting to feel like you’re constantly improvising with the little power you DO have.
So if you feel like playing something a little different, if not a little shoddy, then give Receiver a shot! (I genuinely, unintentionally, made that obvious pun and now I’m laughing to myself. Send help.)