AlphaLink is a 2D multiplayer arena shooter complete with XP, progression, and cosmetics. It features not only a local multiplayer, but an online component as well. However it wasn’t always headed in that direction. In early 2020, AlphaLink started as a strictly local affair looking to provide a multiplayer experience with a group of friends on the same couch. This made sense in a time when we took for granted things like gaming events, esports, and just being in person with friends and family.
In fact, AlphaLink’s first debut was at an esports bar Valhalla Lounge, located in Austin, TX. There was a competition of indie games on display to which patrons could cast their vote for their favorite title. When AlphaLink won the best in show for the night, it seemed like it was on the right track. The direction seemed validated.
Fast forward a month and the pandemic hit hard and fast. Everything was getting canceled or delayed; including the very gaming events AlphaLink was scheduled to show at. For a title that was banking on continued in-person feedback at these events to grow, a major shift was about to be in order.
The team knew undertaking online would be a big task, but it turned out to be even bigger than originally planned. Now, a full back-end was required to track every movement and interaction seen on screen and sync it real-time for everyone. This can be challenging in 2D because everyone sees the same thing all at once at the same time. However, the team pulled through, and not only made it work, but in the process created a back-end inventory system to leverage, using PlayFab.
With this new functionality working, the team put together designs for a progression system: XP, in-game currency, and cosmetics. They didn’t stop there. AlphaLink also has a global leaderboard that pits the three opposing factions against each other in a non-stop tug of war to see who can stay on top. Some other features that spawned were an arcade-like simulator mode, bots, and a central hub, aptly named The Meatgrinder, that players use as a launching off point to everything in the game. This even includes back-end linked NPCs that can have updated dialog to flesh out the rich sci-fi lore that AlphaLink is based on.
But don’t worry. If you’re simply looking for something to play locally, AlphaLink supports four players on one console; but you’re going to have to bring the snacks. AlphaLink is available now for purchase on the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.
Black Hive Media