RSS Feeds NGN on Facebook NGN on Twitter NGN on YouTube
Welcome, Guest. Login | Register | PW? ]
Header logo
  1. Index
  2. » Articles
  3. » Reviews
  4. » Convoy
Platform: PC

Convoy Review

Ain't she a beautiful sight?

Posted by on

Some of the finer points of the combat system feel a bit iffy, too. Contrary to what you might have expected, the marriage of grid-based and real-time strategy elements is not an entirely unhappy one but you can certainly sense the tension at the breakfast table when Mister Real-Time asks for the marmalade. It's rather like playing a game of chess in which your opponent is free to make a move while you're still halfway through pushing your rook across the board, or knock over your queen and then claim that it's actually still occupying a square several inches from where you thought it was. Once a vehicle has started moving from one square to the next, that manoeuvre is effectively set in stone, which feels agonizingly clunky and unresponsive for a game where your orders can easily change several times a second. Occasionally vehicles seem to phase through each other in order to reach their destination, which is just downright bewildering, and often the game's pathfinding causes good, amicable, level-headed drivers to randomly swerve into bridge supports, because I suppose the safe route was just too much pressure to handle. I'm sure there are rules governing this sort of behaviour, maybe even very simple ones, but the game is happy to let them fall half-obscured behind the sofa where I can only guess at them. Eventually you just learn to micromanage everybody's movements on what might as well be a frame-by-frame basis, but it's nothing more than an awkward workaround to a problem that shouldn't even be there.

Convoy PC Game

Oh Convoy, it's hard to stay angry at you. For a cut-throat Mad-Max-esque odyssey, the post-apocalyptic wastes are a strangely wondrous place. Rolling the dice on the random-encounter-o-tron more often than not means a battle with a faceless gang of one of the three groups that dominate the landscape – the tribal Raiders, the stereotypically pirate-y Privateers, the 'we're not the Borg, honest' T.O.R.V.A.K – but there are a fair number of encounters to be had with all kinds of colourful characters, only some of which are thinly-veiled references to other stuff. Of course, since Bioware couldn't quite be persuaded to get on board, we experience all this through the medium of text, but the writing is evocative enough to make such an approach passable. Passable the first time, that is, and something to be hastily clicked through from there onwards. Within minutes of starting the game for the very first time, for instance, I'd stumbled upon a beacon that was a monument to the late Sir Terry Pratchett. “Oh, that's cute,” said I, heart sufficiently warmed, blissfully unaware that it would turn up in the next run, and the run after that, and the run after that, which rather ruined the magic of the whole thing. This isn't an isolated case, either: the game is so starved for scenarios that after a couple of hours you'll have seen nearly all of them, making them less about judging an unpredictable situation and more about fuzzily guessing the odds that the outcome you're gunning for comes up.

To be honest, lack of variety is kind of a running theme in Convoy, especially when you get to the weapons. In terms of pure numbers the range of weaponry isn't too bad, but variety is not just variety. A roguelike that produced completely original content on every run would still be a snore-fest if the content didn't affect how you played at all. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth excels at this, packed with items that – while often utterly game-breaking under the right circumstances – force you to radically alter your playing style to work with them, but Convoy struggles to pull this off. Sure, there are a couple of exotic devices you can mount to your tour bus, including an enormous laser that, upon damaging a group of enemies in a line, brings to mind a magnifying glass poised over a swarm of helpless ants, but most of the doodads you bolt to your units have identical strategies associated with them: move near the guy, then shoot him. Oh, some damage shields, some damage health, some damage armour and some ignore some combination of the three, but you utilise them all in essentially the same capacity and rarely have the luxury of being able to play to their strengths, so why bother making the distinction? It's the few weapons that encourage you to play differently, encourage you to look at your surroundings in a new light, that keep new runs feeling fresh: the bizarre sci-fi taunting device, the area-of-effect missile launcher, the aforementioned killer magnifying glass or the landmine slingshot. If only they weren't so few and far between.

Convoy PC Game

Rather appropriately for a game about fighting with cars that are probably held together with duct-tape and trucker spittle, Convoy also feels pretty hacked together at times. Upon first dropping it into my hard drive with a resounding clang, it took about ten consecutive, stubborn, 'no, this can't be happening' launch attempts before the game would even get past the first loading screen without crashing, but even once I finally broke through, things were more than a little shaky. Visual bugs abound, leaving icons and targeting cursors hovering on-screen long after the context they'd be relevant in has disappeared, and text boxes are occasionally so affronted by your shocking course of action that clicking the option you want just causes the game to seize up for a second or so before doing nothing at all. Finishing a fight by ramming an enemy off a bridge causes them to spawn in the same location in the next fight, which is either a head-scratching display of continuity or evidence that Convoy is pretty lax about cleaning up after itself, and in one particularly nasty demonstration of the importance of collision detection, an enemy somehow found their way on top of an obstacle, rendering them invincible to my attacks until they had the good manners to drop down again. Game-breaking? No, not in my experience, but it most certainly could have been. Sometimes the game slows down in battle too, but since you're pausing the action every three tenths of a second anyway, it's not really noticeable.

Regardless, Convoy is a prime example of what a joy it is to see games slowly build upon one another. Instead of striking out with a bold, ambitious, but perhaps potentially deeply flawed model, the developers of Convoy looked at FTL and asked themselves the important questions; questions like “what if we had sweet armoured cars with chainsaws strapped to them?”, “what if you could recruit a man driving the hollowed out shell of a mechanical dragon?” and “what if we had a random encounter system that didn't just completely screw the player over every now and then?” The result isn't going to blow your mind with its fresh ideas, or the degree to which it was QA tested, but if you're in the mood for a fresh roguelike where you can lean back and regally conduct battles with a glass of plonk in one hand, this is the one.

Our ratings for Convoy on PC out of 100 (Ratings FAQ)
Not ugly, but quite unremarkable. Music is quite nice, but it's strangely laid-back for a high-stakes rage-fuelled vehicular rampage. Also does one of my pet peeves: scaling-up select pixel art elements until they look really out of place.
Takes FTL's formula and iterates on it in a number of clever ways. Pity it's a bit one-note unless you get some of the really unusual weapons.
Single Player
Surprisingly charming writing, if a little sparse and modestly presented. Replayability is decent, in spite of my many grumblings, but it's not going to be a hundred-hour timesink.
(Show PC Specs)
CPU: Intel i7-870 @ 2.93 GHz
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760
OS: Windows 7 Premium 64-bit
PC Specs

A motherload of visual bugs topped off with a few actually pretty nasty gameplay bugs. Might refuse to load at all the first few times you launch it.
A bit of muck and rust here and there can't hide the truth: Convoy is a ruthless, colourful, and occasionally very satisfying jaunt across a randomly-generated wasteland. A fine roguelike, especially for FTL fans.
Convoy box art Platform:
Our Review of Convoy
The Verdict:
Game Ranking
Convoy is ranked #913 out of 1872 total reviewed games. It is ranked #56 out of 110 games reviewed in 2015.
912. Xeodrifter
913. Convoy
914. Unravel

8 images added May 1, 2015 21:03
Advertisement ▼
New Game Network NGN Facebook NGN Twitter NGN Youtube NGN RSS