Are you a creep?
Put away the Coke Babies import, you don’t need to show the severity of your creepdom. I’m talking of Knuckle Cracker‘s magnificent little RTS trilogy, a twist of tower defense and supply chain optimisation. Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal has been on Steam since 2014, but it has finally been joined by its elder siblings from 2009 and 2011.
The hook of the Creeper World series is its liquid adversary. Instead of discrete enemy units, your tiny webwork of turrets, extractors and fabricators must form bulwarks and fire-bases against an ever-encroaching foe, one that swarms over the landscape in an ecophagic bum-rush. Your job, within the context of a surprisingly well-realised universe, is to staunch the flow and reclaim vast tracts of interstellar real estate.
It sounds simple, and to its credit, the Creeper World series is. But that doesn’t mean the games are simplistic. Balancing production and power just to force this intractable beast back is a feat in itself, and when you throw worm holes, terraforming, special weapons into a game that largely shucks ‘the right way’ to victory, each level is as cathartic as it is taxing.
While I personally feel Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal is the best of the bunch by merit of iteration, the cost of a latte lets you see how the series started. The anniversary editions come with overhauled graphics — not that the older titles were hideous, but the resolution upgrades are welcomed — and the usual massive payload of level content, so if you’re looking to relive Xerxes’ illocutionary flogging of the Hellespont, there’s a lot of water to punish.