Miasma is a turn-based strategy game set in a dystopian future; where the mega-corporation Vilhelm Industries rules the world and everyone blindly and inexplicably follows their regime. Join a small band of rebels, specialise and develop their skills, and lead them in an attempt to restore everyone's individuality.
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Miasma is a story driven turn based strategy game set in a bleak future were you play as a character that has just awoken and found themselves with no memory of who they are or how they got to where they are. They soon discover that they are part of a small cell of freedom fighters battling against an evil corporation that rules the world.
The game itself is played on a series of grid based areas where you control three characters and have a variety of objectives to complete. Each character has a set number of action points (APs) that can be used during your turn. Movement, attacking, using items and special moves all cost a set amount of APs, so you must plot your actions carefully to outmanoeuvre your opponent. Once you are done, you end your turn and the enemy AI takes theirs, this cycle is repeated until either all your characters are dead, or you complete the objectives set out at the beginning of the stage. Defeating enemies earns you experience points (XP) and completed stages are rewarded with Euro Dollars. Each character has their own stats and a special ability (a medic that can heal, a sniper that can throw EMP grenades, and an all-rounder that can use a cloaking device), the use of special abilities is governed by a meter that charges over time, once it's full they can be triggered at will during your turn.
After completing each stage you return to the HQ where you can save your progress, spend Euro Dollars on items like health packs, and use any XP you've earned on upgrading your characters stats.
The graphics in Miasma are all rendered in 3D, with some quite nice character models and animations. The play areas are quite large and offer a good amount of strategic options, with things like cover, distance and flanking all affecting the amount of damage inflicted during attacks. The storyline is a fairly typical sci-fi yarn and feels more like the first chapter of a longer narrative than a complete one, with proceedings ending on a somewhat unsatisfactory point. It's mainly told through written dialogue, and the game offers you the occasional choice of what to say, however it doesn't seem to affect anything other than other character's responses.
Once you are done with the main game you can chose to re-start while keeping any upgrades you've made to your character's stats. A survival mode is also available, where you can take your customized characters and pit them against waves of enemies in a large arena. This features it's own local leaderboards and encourages re-playing the main game, as the more you've upgraded your squad the further you'll be able to progress.
Overall, Miasma is a decent strategy game that shows perhaps more potential than what it actually accomplishes. The gameplay systems offer sufficient depth to be interesting but not so much as to put newcomers off. The main game is not particularly difficult and should certainly be beatable by most players, but feels a little short. Survival Mode offers the real challenge, but with just one map available it's a bit of a missed opportunity. However, at the new low cost of only 80MSP, it's well worth the asking price.
When I started with Miasma the game impressed me with a great soundtrack, graphics that are much better than the average on XBLIG and a round based strategy system that is really nice. It reminded me of the old XCOM games that I loved.
But the longer I played the game, the more dissapointing it was.
a) it´s too short for a 400 points pricetags
b) the little problem with the interface (you can´t go through objects) becomes a pain later
c) the writing starts good, but becomes ridiculous near the end
d) even though you get the feelding your dialogue choices made a difference you learn they don´t on a second playthrough
e) you can´t save during missions and the last one is really long
f) if you are unlucky in the last mission you have to restart because of a game design flaw
This game has a lot of potential, but it remains highly untapped. At 1$ I would definately recommend it, because the length wouldn´t be an issue.
At 3$ I would say that people that enjoy round based strategy games should consider giving it a try when they like the trial. But at 5$ I say: stay away, but 5$ other great indies instead. You can get radiangames Inferno & Fireball plus the soon coming Cthulhu Saves The World for those 5$ and would have invested your money a lot more wisely!
Miasma is a fantastic SRPG with enough quality to be mistaken for an XBLA title. With a decent graphics engine, pleasant soundtrack, competent writing, and combat mechanics that are both fluid and understandable, Miasma could easily be considered an exemplary addition to XBLIG.
Just don't play it if you have a SDTV, as the font is downright unreadable.
In Miasma, you play in a dystopian future where supercompanies run the planet. As a militarized resistance cell, you fight for freedom and free thought. The game plays out through traditional SRPG (Strategy Role Playing Game) fare: Each "stage" is a large, grid-based map, and your goal is to clear each map's objectives (such as Kill all enemies, Escape to this point, etc). Killing enemies earns Experience Points and EuroDollars, which can be used to purchase upgrades to stats for each character, or purchase more resources (aka healing items), respectively. The entire system is both well designed and well implemented, allowing you to custom tailor each character's skill progression with how you want to play.
The combat mechanics are equally well designed, and in an unusual twist for SRPGs, when you give commands to one character (ie: move to this square), you are able to move to another character and initiate commands on them as well. This multi-focus feature doesn't extend to attack animations, however, and should you perform an attack action, you are forced to watch the animation in full before giving another command.
Overall, gameplay is challenging and engaging, and the unique leveling options and well-written storyline do wonders to tie it all together. Additionally, if the storyline is dragging you down, at any point, you can load up your save and attempt a never-ending gauntlet of enemies, complete with its own (local) leaderboard. I wouldn't say that the game is perfect however: It would benefit from an SDTV-compliant font option, as well as a combat minimap (which would be especially useful on the larger maps - ideally, it would be a toggle on/off with an unused button). It's also a mystery why the camera is locked during combat animations, when it is completely malleable during all other parts of play.
Regardless of its minor faults, Miasma is a fantastic title, and arguably the best SRPG you can get on XBLIG. Pick it up today, support the developers, and hope for more patches to iron out the small quirks (it's already gotten one patch, here's hoping for more!)