Shotgun Farmers First Looks
Recently I took a quick look at early access version 0.1.1 of Shotgun Farmers by Megastorm Games. Keep in mind that it is so early in development that my thoughts might change as the game develops further. The game has a really interesting core concept: you grow your own ammo. Your weapons are vegetables, such as corn is a shotgun, the carrot is a bazooka, etc. The player can either shoot their enemies or shoot the ground to trigger crops to grow, and thus grant more ammo.
So far, there are only three medium to large maps, which affect your crop growth depending on the map you play. The maps have several themes, one of which is set in a wild west desert. In the wild west desert map, crops grow much slower and wither significantly faster. This influences the way you play and can have a significant impact on your strategy against other people. Another map has a river running through the middle; if you have crops growing near it, the crops grow faster than normal. Each map has areas of tactical benefit and areas of challenge that influence gameplay and strategy.
I played the game for only a couple hours so far, and it has been an enjoyable experience so far. The concept of having to choose between shooting the ground and growing more ammo for your gun or using the ammo to shoot your opponents is refreshingly new. There was a point in one match that I played where I had a Sniperagus Rifle and had three or four crops growing behind me, so I could just snipe the enemy on the other side of the map. The game punished me particularly hard for mistakes with the bazooka as if you miss and hit the ground, your opponents are granted a bazooka once it grows.
With what time I have spent playing the game, I have come across a few issues. The first example is if there is a server full of players and a lot of crops growing then you will experience some noticeable frame drops. Another issue is that some players have a constant 100ms or higher ping. This triggered a lot of elastic banding, which makes players very difficult to hit and, for the players suffering from the elastic banding a nightmare to hit anyone. The third issue I found was delayed damage detection, which would cause an enemy to die after they killed you. That being said, these are common early access issues that can be fixed. All in all, I did not feel that the issues highlighted took away from the game experience much. I have enjoyed the game; the players that I played with on the servers were nice. It's always great to see a nice and welcoming community especially with small new games like this one.