I’ll get straight to the point, The Anacrusis is very similar to Left 4 Dead in many, many ways. I mean this as high praise as the game feels very polished and scratches the same itch as playing Left 4 Dead while adding small, fantastically fun mechanics to the game play to make it feel fresh and different enough.
For starters, The Anacrusis is a four player co-op zombie survival game. You’re technically fighting an alien infestation but they’re just really zombies. You have similar weapons such as the pistol which has unlimited ammunition, a fast shooting SMG (called a SMB so it must be different), a powerful shotgun, and a high damage but slower rate of fire assault rifle (the gun play actually feels pretty fun by the way). And then you have the special infected.
You have a smoker equivalent called the grabber. It grabs people and drags them close, much like the smoker. The gooer is similar to the spitter except the gooer will trap players in a cacoon of goo which must be shot to free the entrapped player. The goo also slows you down when you walk on it. The brute is basically a tank and hunter combined into one alien. The flasher and spawners are unique additions to the game.
The flasher will fill the screen with blinding light, and I do mean blinding, as it’ll be hard to see anything around you. The spawner will run away and hide while spawning rolling balls that unfurl into alien tentacles that shoot at you. This one is truly annoying because until you kill the main alien, you’ll have to deal with the constantly spawning tentacle turrets and when you have a horde of regular aliens, multiple brutes, and other special infected, it becomes a nightmare.
As for the game play, it’s actually quite a lot of fun to play. The game is extremely fast paced. The level design is similar to L4D in that your main path will generally always be brightly lit so you can see at a distance where you are supposed to go. The level kind of funnels players into the right direction so it is pretty hard to get lost. You run and gun through levels until you reach the end of the section, which usually culminates in a very chaotic fight.
The game’s art style and music also lend itself to the fun. The Anacrusis has vibrant colors and channels a very groovy art style. The funky sound track adds on to the general vibe of the game as well.
The game also adds on new elements that I found to be genuinely fun. There are a wide range of very powerful grenades that any player can use. The grenades can do things such as slow down time for enemies that enter the area, create a powerful vortex to pull in enemies and then send them flying, create a shield to prevent enemies from entering, and etc. It adds to the hectic fun and the grenades actually feel useful and different.
The game also has a perk system where you can choose one of three random perks at certain stations. The no recoil one is actually fantastic and makes every shot hit true, even on the SMB. The effects are different and can range from something like augmenting goo grenades so players take less damage while standing on the goo, to shotguns having an increased spread so you can take out more aliens at once.
Overall, The Anacrusis is a well made and polished game that scratches the same itch Left 4 Dead did. It’s a lot of fun, especially when playing with friends. You can play this game solo, but much like Left 4 Dead, it will not be the optimal experience as your AI teammates can sometimes let you down. The game is fast, funky fun. Did I mention you can also just revive your teammates by pressing H at the cost of spawning more aliens?