Lemnis Gate: A Time Loop Strategy FPS Title With Massive Potential
When it comes to strategy games, there are plenty of choices. Games like XCOM, Chess, Civilization, and even something like Final Fantasy Tactics made for an exercise of the mind. However, aside from isometric combat simulators or board game-style civilization cultivation, there’s not much more to be done with the genre. However, that is until recently with Lemnis Gate.
Ratloop Games has decided to turn the concept of an FPS arena shooter on its head, making a game that combines the biggest aspects of skilled FPS action with the turn-based strategy. The catch? Players only have 25 seconds to make their move. Once complete, their movements are saved into a time loop, in which they’ll have to counter their opponents and outwit them to complete their objective and win. However, this game is nothing like Deathloop.
Lemnis Gate, being a strategy title, doesn’t feel like one. Players are going to be put into an arena with an objective, which can vary. Once in the arena, there are a few ways that the game can be played. Lemnis Gate allows for one on one combat or 2v2 combat. Players will start flying drones over the map. There are four main game modes, Seek and Destroy, Deathmatch, XM Matter, and Domination.
Seek and Destroy has players taking on one another to attack and defend two specific points on the map. Deathmatch is a normal Team Deathmatch. XM Matter is similar to Capture the Flag, but there are four pieces of XM Matter on the map. Domination has four particle accelerators on the map. Shooting the accelerators will power them up, capturing them. Whoever has the most accelerators by the end of the game wins.
The game controls are nearly identical to other FPS games; players can still run, jump, shoot, and slide. However, for keyboard controls, the F key is used for the special abilities of each character. A character like Kaptian throws a grenade that explodes on impact. A character like Toxin can teleport. Karl can use a bubble shield, Rush can zip forward in a similar style to Tracer from Overwatch, Vendetta can set down turrets, and Striker can slow time.
There are two ways to play the game, but for the sake of keeping things simple, I’ll go over the turn-based rules of the game. One player will start by picking one of seven heroes from the game’s roster. Much like pieces of a chess game, their abilities also lend in helping out in future turns. Once the first player picks their character, they have 25 seconds to complete the objective. Once their timer runs out, they’ll be brought back to the drone while the second person can see a replay of their foe’s movements. To see how the game is currently playing out, they can repeat movements as much as they want within the time limit before starting their turn. This is where the strategy for the game comes in. With the massive amount of freedom the drone has, players can capture almost every angle to see their lines of sight and other ways they can turn the tide of the match. They can also see the location and what player their enemy is playing while watching them take their turn. This is by putting the nametag on the controlled player. This helps the other player plan their move while they’re watching the second player take their turn.
Once the second player loads in, both the player and the enemy’s recording will play out, and the player can make their moves, setting in place their turn. This is where the game becomes more like chess. If the game’s main objective is something like Seek and Destroy, the first player is going to get a free attack on the objective. Then, the second player will choose their character to either complete the objective or move against the first person’s turn. However, the second player knows what the first player has done to plan and counter the first move to save their objective. With five turns from each player, the game becomes more strategic than knowing how to shoot people. Once a player dies during a turn, they’re able to continue recording their movements. With this in mind, preventing the death of one of the heroes will change the course of the play, bringing the dead player back to life, where the recordings they were making during their turn affect the game’s world.
Some characters naturally counter one another. For example, a character like Rush can sprint around and is naturally fast. This makes for a good opening move and can be used to flank the enemy if they attempt to counter a slow-moving character like Karl or Deathblow. However, since Rush’s moves have already been recorded and will play out the same every turn, a player could choose a character like Striker and use slow time and their sniper rifle to remove Rush and prevent the damage that slow characters would take. This could give them enough health to continue their fight in the loop and possibly kill more characters had they continued living. Another player could see Rush’s Death and then choose to prevent it by using Striker and shooting the enemy before taking out Rush. Or, they could choose a supporting character like Karl and use his bubble shield to tank the fatal blow, countering the sniper shot that would have removed Rush.
With the player altering the outcome of their previous selves’ by adding or removing changing elements, this can turn the tide of battle. A character coming in to take out a single player isn’t going to be paying attention to that same character if they killed them in their loop.
Friendly fire isn’t mentioned on the box but plays a big part in the game’s mechanics. Friendly fire is always on in the game, and it’s possible to kill your copies during a loop. However, just because players are adding onto the loop doesn’t mean they can run wherever they want without consequence. If a version of you runs in front of the sniper shot meant for one player, that shot’s going to take you out rather than the person the bullet was for.
However, death can be a part of the strategy as well. During one of my games, I played against a person who had killed my Vendetta before they could put their turrets down. Since I went first, I knew that if those turrets were put down, they could be used to kill the other character and let me continue. Knowing that I didn’t have any other character to counter their play before my Vendetta died, I decided to sacrifice my Rush, stopping Vendetta from dying and letting her turrets make quick work of the enemy player.
Planning ahead is key in the game, and with the number of things that can change in a single outing, it’s possible to completely flip the script on a player who’s too focused on taking out the enemy team. However, this isn’t the only way to play the game. Turn-based mode is the main way to play the game. There’s also simultaneous mode. This is where both players will take their turns simultaneously, 1v1ing each other on each turn. However, this also means that players can be preoccupied with one another and completely oblivious to characters from the second, third, fourth, or even fifth loop. This is where dying comes into play. Even if a player dies during their turn, their movements can still be useful if their death is prevented.
Players can also play with another person on two teams of two. This also comes in a few modes of turns. Either with each person taking a turn, each team taking a turn, or having all four players play at once. This changes the game and emphasizes strategy when playing with other people. Planning moves with your teammate can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Each match will run for two halves, and whoever wins both rounds wins, or whoever had more points by the end of a draw wins. Points are calculated on several different categories for the game. One is objective and will earn players the most amount of points. However, partial points can be awarded based on how far characters made it through their objective. In the case of a game like Seek and Destroy, how much damage is done to the objective nets partial points if they’re undestroyed.
However, more points will be awarded to the defender since they completed their objective. For a mode like Domination, if nobody captured any points, how far along the points are to being captured is calculated.
When it comes to mapping design, they’re more in line with early halo maps, with no concise three-lane structure like Call of Duty. However, the maps have been made to assist with every character in the game, giving them strong points without removing certain characters from the pool. The maps are also relatively small. Because characters are in a 25 second time loop, making the maps too big would prevent players from flanking if they’re unable to move to specific points and take action before the time limit expires. The small maps consolidate the action into specific points, so players will always get right down to fighting without any issue. The developers of Lemnis Gate also know about the comparison people make from the game to chess, seeing that there are chess boards hidden around some of the maps.
The only map I have a problem with is Tectonic Falls. The map design is a small group of buildings with a void in the bottom. This map is most commonly used for XM Matter, Lemnis Gate’s Capture the flag mode. Since players are in a 25 second time loop, speed is part of the gameplay if moving to grab the XM matter is what the player is focused on. However, I found myself falling off the ledges quicker than I Would’ve liked to. The bridges are too small. Running in a straight line without making a single mistake is the only way not to fall off.
There’s no scene for esports at the moment since the game was released onto Xbox, PlayStation, and Steam on September 29. However, in my opinion, there’s massive esports potential for the game. This all comes down to how the game is played, and like it’s been mentioned previously, the game is a turn-based strategy game. Since players will think ahead, they will have to rely on their skills in an FPS title and how to approach certain situations and counter enemies while they’re playing. Since their characters will follow the same path, thinking about preventing their hero’s death while also ensuring that they’re taking out the enemy team is where the game plays its best.
This game gives a similar feeling to a title like Splitgate. Playing the game feels like a mix between playing a game like Overwatch and competing in a chess match, moving players around, and then counter or save the other versions of the player if they happen to die. While the game isn’t as fast-paced and more organized, watching it is entertaining and how I found out about the title much like Splitgate.
As of now, esports isn’t the main draw of the game, but with the title’s mix of strategy and FPS action, it’s a fantastic gateway title for players who want to get into a new genre of games while still playing something that feels familiar.
With this in mind, esports seems like a logical step for this game. Being more than a normal arena shooter, the game takes skills and foresight and strategy to win games. With this in mind, two capable players can provide interesting matches, seeing teams counter one another turn after turn. Even teams of two taking turns at the same time are interesting. This makes the game ripe for exciting moments. One of the moments I experienced in the game where I got genuinely excited was when I was playing a match of Domination. A player had sent in the Rush character to attack my team from behind.
My Deathblow could continue with Rush dead but still died to their Toxin, who spread acid on the ground. During my next turn, I used Karl to put a bubble shield on the spot where Toxin would shoot. Since I had used Deathblow in my first turn, I recorded them shooting in the same spot that their team was standing. Since I prevented the death of my character from early in the game, they were able to kill multiple members of the enemy team. Since the other player didn’t think ahead and assumed that my Deathblow was going to remain dead, they didn’t expect that he would remain alive long enough to blow them up, and since I didn’t know where the enemies were going to be until later, I planned for where they could be. This caused me to win the game, and It wasn’t because I was good at shooting the enemies. It was because I have used strategy and planning to get the upper hand. These moments against two competent players make for some seriously interesting matches because choices from the past can affect the future if the right precautions are taken during the later turns.
Like most of the games in the reviews I write, I’ve been playing the game on my PC. It sports a Ryzen 3600, an RTX 2060 Super, and 32GB of ram. The game runs without any issue on my computer, and I’ve been able to have a stable framerate since I launched the game for the first time.
However, I do like to play my games on a high FOV. If I’m capable of playing the game on 120 FOV, I’ll play with the FOV cranked as high as it can go. My only complaint is that the game doesn’t have a FOV higher than 90. However, I don’t mind playing on lower FOV. For those who like to play their games as I do, but it’s not big enough of an issue to worry about.
Aside from FOV, I’ve found that the sensitivity of shooting in the game is too high. The default on the game is set to 1. I had to turn it down to half to make sure that It was at a reasonable sensitivity before I decided to start playing. This is also an issue I’ve been seeing for console players, who’ve mentioned that the game’s sensitivity is very floaty, which has caused issues for players trying to make small adjustments in later turns.
The game’s audio is fine. I believe it’s possible to play the game without audio since it’s a turn-based game. If players are taking turns, you’re going to see the movements before you make your move, so surprises from other players aren’t an issue. However, if you’re inclined to play with both teams taking their turns at the same time, it’s recommended that players play with audio to listen for the enemy trying to flank since there’s another character that isn’t a recording of a turn.
The music for the game is generic music, to the point that I don’t remember what it sounds like. It’s not a detriment of the game since the gameplay of the title completely enraptured me.
The visuals aren’t anything to write home about, the game looks perfectly fine, but the character design is par four the course. The game doesn’t look bad by any standards. It’s not graphically impressive, but what it does right is in the design of the UI in between matches. Players will be given a wheel when choosing their characters, and each character comes with its symbol. This symbol is put over each character during the replay phase, which helps differentiate who’s going where. This is perfect for deciding strategy in the game and helps when it comes down to fighting the enemy. The character designs are also different enough to differentiate who they’re aiming at during the recording and fighting phase of the game. Aside from that, I’ve been playing with the visuals on the highest setting since I’ve got them.
Being that the game came out a few days ago, the community is small. But there are still many ways to get involved. For one, there’s the game’s official Discord server. The server is run by the game developers and will allow anyone in who wants to ask questions about the game and look for groups to play against or within duos mode. There’s a Reddit for the game as well. Only housing around 856 people at the time of writing, the server is filled with people looking to play, share their moments from the game, and ask questions about the title.
On top of all of this is the game’s official Twitter account, spreading the love of the game by retweeting and showcasing people playing the title who’s posted on their Twitter account. The community will grow as the game gains more traction, with many players asking the developers for more marketing or a free-to-play weekend to give players a shot at the game before deciding to stop the full $20 on Lemnis Gate.
Overall, I genuinely believe that Lemnis Gate is a one-of-a-kind shooter who combines the best of Strategy with FPS arena shooters’ fun and intense action.
I highly recommend that players pick this game up if it sounds like something they would be interested in. The game launched on Xbox Game Pass, so players can pick up either version if they have it. The game is also available on PlayStation and Steam. If players don’t have Xbox Game Pass and want to see what the game’s like, a good choice would be to check the game out online and watch someone play it to see if it looks like the kind of game they would enjoy.