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Tales Of The Renegade Sector: Castle Of The Insect King

Captain’s Log, Supplemental

Castle Of The Insect King creates a sense of space in only a few short screens.

By Anthony John Agnello • May 18, 2012

One of the highest compliments you can pay a game is that it creates a sense of place, that its special blend of spices manages to effect a tangible world in your mind’s eye. In Castle Of The Insect King, the 12th installment of Alec Stamos’ ongoing sci-fi pulp adventure Tales Of The Renegade Sector, that ineffable chemistry emerges from a Radiohead-gone-chiptune soundtrack and the fog-shrouded planet that your space captain explores in his search for treasure. Insect King takes you someplace far from your seat for an hour and plops you back down wanting more.

It feels like you’re covering a lot of ground in this episode—through mountains, ruined castles, and rotting swamps—when in actuality it’s only a few short screens. The difficulty of surviving myriad killer-bug attacks adds to that sense of scale. At first. you have a pistol that shoots straight but requires ammo; exploration yields up a shotgun with infinite ammunition, except the gun needs time to recharge whenever you fire it.

These limitations dictate how you move around the mysterious planet from moment to moment, creating a tense dance that can further ground you to the place. Some mystery is always essential in creating a sense of place—it allows for discovery, which makes the experience personal. Like the player, Captain McCallery isn’t especially fazed by  parasitic spiders; he just wants more adventure. By the end of Insect King, you may be simpatico with the man.

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564 Responses to “Captain’s Log, Supplemental”

  1. Djur says:

    This is possibly the biggest drop in interest I’ve ever experienced from game title (“hell yeah!”) to review (“few short screens… myriad killer-bug attacks”).

    But Castle Of The Insect King is such a cool name!

  2. Brainstrain91 says:

    The “dance” is hardly tense. This is a rather easy game. Being able to pick up items to use a makeshift thrown weapons is fun, but otherwise this is a forgettable game.

  3. The_Misanthrope says:

    I wish I could enjoy this game, since it seems right up my alley, but the “mouse to aim/shoot” thing never works for me.  I can’t help it…I’m just a console person and having to divide my hands between two control schemes is maddening.  I know there are some greater advantages to using a control scheme like this, but I just don’t think I will ever be part of the PC master race.