Did you know I spent my early teens playing flash games? I’d frequent Newgrounds, spam the forums with worthless opinions (racking up a post count north of 20k), and then use the flash films/games as the icing on the teenage-annoyance cake. So when the editor pushed this game to me, I was suspicious.
At first, I thought to ask: “How did you know I used to play flash games on Newgrounds?”, but thought he’d suspect something. Not only, if I was wrong, would he start carefully and systematically comparing Newgrounds general posts with my general awkward demeanor to track down younger me but, if I was right, he would know I was onto the bastard. Then the editor would foil my life plans by occasionally whispering in my ear: “hey, remember this gem of a Newgrounds general post…”, thus bit-by-bit destroying what little self-esteem I have left.
Against better judgement, fueled entirely on an anxious conspiracy theory, I played the game. I played Diep.io over at Poki.com.
Like most narratives, I was asked who’s tale it was. So, one splash of water on the face later, I realized it wasn’t a philosophical question of free-will but rather just asking me my name. Although, noticing this was an online multiplayer title, I thought I’d hide how I’d be examining this game with a critical eye as part of my job. So off I went. The tale of “NotAJournalist” had begun.
Naturally, like most free-to-play PvP titles, Diep.io starts with a whisper. You are a runt, the bottom of a pile, in a bad world trying to shoot you in the back of the head. Or a small, circular tank floating amongst other shapes and other tanks. So I did the obvious thing: I blew through the squares, triangles and pentagons that hung out passively while dodging all the circle with names on them. Yes, the aesthetic could be recreated with MS Paint and the only thing that is missing is Comic Sans.
Each level offered me the choice of upgrade: Regen, health, bullet damage, bullet speed, rate of fire, bullet penetration, body damage (collision damage), and movement speed. Something that became immediately obvious was that if I planned to live longer than a child in a paddling pool of concentrated hydrochloric acid, then I would have to pick regen at some point. Without it, I would be worn down over time like said child from before.
Eventually, I leveled past the “spitball-n-straw” stage and was asked if I wanted a machine-gun, a sniper rifle, a dual-barrel assault rifle, or to be able to shoot forwards and backwards while spinning madly like a ballistic hedgehog. Since I’m the type of simpleton to play as Soldier 57 on Overwatch, out of fear of confusion otherwise, I went with the assault rifle option on my tank.
In the end, like most things, my time with Diep.io came to an end when I began picking fights with other players. Even with the highest damage output I could muster, the most speed, a large regen pool, and more health than I knew what to do with, other players were quickly able to put me in my place. I’d be chipping away at their cathedral of health with my toothbrush shiv and they’d just sweep me aside with an almighty paw without noticing I ever existed.
…Screw it, I’m done with this. I’m going to go play single player games until I can deal with defeat with more grace.
Want to try out Diep.io for yourself? Stop by Poki.com!
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