RECONNECT – The Heart of Darkness beats for the first time on Steam

There’s something a little unsettling about A.I. We’ve been told by many different movie and videogame plots that creating machines that can think for themselves is probably quite a bad idea. Computers are smarter than us to begin with, without helping them learn of their own accord. Thankfully we aren’t quite at the stage where we’re bowing down to our toasters just yet and still have a bit of a chance at outthinking the system. This is where today’s bit of news comes into play. The game is RECONNECT – The Heart of Darkness and it’s currently working its way through Early Access.

RECONNECT – The Heart of Darkness is a real-time, minimalist, base-building game with a few very important features. Most notable of these is that you’re being pitted against an A.I. that will change its strategy by learning from the way you play. You’ll have to be on your toes and prepared to change things up because thinking you’ll coast by on a tried and tested playstyle isn’t going to get you very far.

RECONNECT – The Heart of Darkness will see you having to defend your grid-free light network from A.I. drones that will get smarter with every generation. While defending your base from the attacks of these free-thinking little sods you’ll also have to reach the enemy’s Heart of Darkness and acquire your own friendly A.I. drones from successful RECONNECTions. These A.I. drones are a copy of the smartest genome that the enemy computer has spawned to that point. They have to give you some way of leveling the playing field a bit, right?

As previously mentioned; in RECONNECT – The Heart of Darkness your base will be an organic, grid-free light network. Using simple and intuitive controls you’ll have to make this structure as complex as you can if you are to protect your light source. You’ll also need to harness the abilities of five minimalist tower structure types while thinking both offensively and defensively and, of course, creatively and tactically. These towers alongside the White Knights you’ll collect by doing well will give you all the tools you need to expand your territory to the enemy base and RECONNECT. Whether you are able to use those tools to their fullest, however, is another matter.

You will have to remember that your playstyle may need to be reactionary. If you notice the A.I. adopting a defensive approach it probably isn’t a case of you having it on the ropes. If you’re being prodded at for weaknesses you’ll have to work out what the A.I. is up to before it unleashes a new generation of drones at you with the hindsight of everything it’s previously learned. Creativity is the key here and you’re going to need it in spades!

If you’re looking for a mental sparring match with a computer that has the intellectual capacity of a turnip, RECONNECT – The Heart of Darkness probably won’t be the game for you. If on the other hand, you’re after a proper challenge and are looking forward to having your skills tested to their utmost you can find it on Steam Early Access now, or over on the Humble Store if that’s your preferred medium.