The FPS genre has many branches, so it is easy to feel like things have already been done. It’s easy to try a game and just have it feel all too familiar. There are a lot of games I can look at and I know what to expect. Lemnis Gate, developed by Ratloop Games Canada and published by Frontier Foundry, took me completely by surprise. With a PC Beta launching today and a multi-platform release in September, here’s what I thought of my time spent with the game earlier this week.
Lemnis Gate is essentially a wild mix of turn-based, time-looping, strategy Hero shooter. The player selects a character with a unique loadout of abilities and must complete their objective in 25 seconds. I tried two game modes, one with ‘capture-the-flag’ mechanics with the operatives collecting Exotic Matter (XM) and returning it to their base, and the other was ‘domination’, taking control of Particle Accelerator towers and trying to control the majority. Once those 25 seconds run out, you enter a drone camera mode, and watch as your actions loop in the map below you.
Your opponent, who has been watching your last 25-second round, goes in with their operative, and must complete their objective whilst dealing with everything you just did in that same 25-second window. Then, after witnessing it all yourself, you go in again with a second operative and deal with what your opponent did, synergising with what you yourself did last time to try and do better than your opponent. This goes on for five turns, each getting more hectic and requiring much more thinking and strategy to plan what to do next.
For me, that was the beauty of Lemnis Gate. The excitement doesn’t come down to the shooter gameplay (although that is enjoyable), it comes down to the strategy. There are infinite possibilities of where the next round will go, and that makes the game feel so addicting. On your first loop you could play as Toxin, a bio-weapon specialist whose Tox Cannon can cover enemy objectives in a toxic sludge. Alternatively, you could be Vendetta, a character who can construct turrets that you could set up to stop your opponent getting close to the objective. With seven operatives to choose from, the possibilities for just that first turn set-up feel endless - and that’s only the first round.
The more rounds pass, the more opportunities you have to set up a loop so synergised and skillful that you can claim victory for yourself and completely destroy everything your opponent built up - all within 25 seconds. This happened to me, starting off well and being in the lead, before on the final play my opponent used Striker, a sniping expert to pick off some of my operatives and completely cut off that time-loop I built up so well, leaving me without points, and desperate to play another match and try to pull off a similar trick. As a disabled gamer, the game also made me feel like I could. The accessibility options that were present helped me perform well without feeling hindered.
The gameplay is so enjoyable it is easy to overlook the few flaws the game has at the current time. The version I experienced was a beta, so these early impressions may not be true for the final game. That being said, the customisation of your characters felt somewhat lackluster. There are alternate skins present in the beta, but they don’t feel too exciting or like something you want to work towards. I also found the menus here to be somewhat confusing with the positioning of your gear and some of the UI elements.
I loved my time with Lemnis Gate. The sheer joy you feel when you set up a perfect loop is exhilarating, and the playful glee you get from completely derailing your enemy’s loop is so satisfying. The game is smart, unique and exciting, with so much potential going forward. I absolutely recommend trying out the PC beta, starting July 22nd at 18:00 BST. With gameplay this good, you’re going to find yourself stuck in a loop of pressing that ‘next match’ button.