aftercharge, pax east 2019, pax 2019, 3v3 multiplayer, competitive gaming, chainsawsome games,

PAX East 2019 – Aftercharge

Hey all! So after a fun filled PAX East it’s time to get down to brass tacks and tell you all about the awesome games I saw. You’ve seen me talk about Aftercharge before, but here’s the recap and some new stuff!

Aftercharge is a 3v3 competitive multiplayer game from Chainsawsome Games that pits invisible robots against invincible robots. Yes, you read that right. There are no defeats or eliminations in these matches, however both sides have their objectives in order to win the match.

Workonics, the invisible robots, must destroy all of the energy harvesters on each map. Each Workonic has it’s own special ability, but will likely need to get up close and personal with these harvesters, as punching the harvester is how a Workonic refills their energy meter. The Enforcers similarly have different weapons and skills, and must protect the energy harvesters while also trying to down or incapacitate all of the Workonics at the same time. Down all the Workonics and you win as an Enforcer. Destroy all the energy harvesters as a Workonic and you win the match. Pretty straightforward.

I’ve played Aftercharge at a few different PAXs now (East, South, West, and East again I think?) and each time theres new additions, new maps, and in this situation at PAX East, a new character, Cannon. I hadn’t played as this character yet, so I had to check this out. Cannon’s special ability is pretty awesome, because it’s basically a charge cannon that you can fire from a distance to destroy obstacles, or take out energy harvesters without too much risk. You get your allies to charge you up and then you can shoot energy balls at whatever you want. It came in handy when needing to get the final few shots on a harvester that’s being guarded by Enforcers.

The dynamic of this kind of gameplay requires a lot of communication, as you need to rely heavily on your teammates to either identify where the opposing team is, or may be headed. You also really want to consider the characters you choose to see if your special abilities compliment each other based on your style of gameplay. I’m not saying that it would make or break the game if you chose your characters at random each time, but you can definitely bounce abilities off each other to help strengthen your chances of victory.

Gameplay gets smoother each time I play it, likely as they’ve continued to update and improve the game and how it runs. They’re also running it on way better machines than I am. If you’re into competitive games where you need to improvise strategies on the fly, you’ll like this. It’s not your typical run and gun, and while in many games sticking together is the best idea, in this game you actually want to stay somewhat spread out. The Workonics are invisible while they move about the map, so the only way to locate them is to get close enough to them that your weapon tethers to them when you’re in close proximity, breaking their invisibility. Certain enforcers can also set up beacons or traps, but they can be avoided pretty easily unless you plant them near harvesters. A Workonic also becomes visible when they attack, so in addition to hearing them strike an energy harvester, you’ll see them as they are punching it.

Similarly, as Enforcers, for gameplay you can’t really camp one Harvester, because it means the Workonics will just destroy all the other remaining ones while you wait around. You may think that defending one with three people is easy, however it presents an even more complicated challenge, as your weapons and abilities are powered by the energy gained from these harvesters. This means you’ll want to keep as many of them alive as possible, as if you run out of energy while chasing a Workonic, you’ll want to get to the nearest harvester to charge up so you can keep fighting.

One thing that’s both fun and frustrating about the game is that there can be a LOT of back and forth between reviving downed allies, or having to retreat from battle to charge up because you are out of energy. There is a competitive “OH NO” to it that maybe hard to explain unless you’ve played a few matches that feel like a ping-pong game where it’s back and forth and could potentially end up as anyones game. It’s fun when you win after a long fought battle, but can be frustrating when you were hoping for that revive, one last punch, or wishing you made the shot with the last bit of energy you had.

That said, I think Aftercharge is a rad game to play with friends, fun to jump in with randoms (though be prepared for the added difficulty with potential communication boundaries), and challenges you to rethink your standard strats when it comes to focusing on one main goal. You can pick it up on Xbox One and Steam today. Be sure to follow Chainsawsome Games on twitter to stay up to date with all things Aftercharge!

Written by: Andrew (@SoAfterISaid)