E3 2017: PWND highlights the art of tea bagging

Don’t just defeat your enemies, PWN them. Anything less is just uncivilized.

At E3 2017 I spent some time with Skydance Interactive‘s PWND. I’d never heard of PWND prior to E3, so I  just popped into their meeting area en route to another appointment. It looked fun, and hoping to find a ‘hidden gem’ at E3 I sat down and played a few rounds.

PWND is a 3v3 multiplayer FPS  where glory (and points) go only to the best. The quickest. The jumpiest. The shootiest. And most importantly, the tea-baggiest. Not only must you out-maneuver and out-gun your enemies in very vertically-oriented rocket-arena style level maps, you must deliver the final coupe-de-grace with a humiliating (and hilarious) dance-taunt-tea-bagging.

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Down but not PWND: It’s possible to crawl away to a power up or get helped by a team mate before you get totally PWND!

PWND thrusts irreverent humor and it’s winking lack of sportsmanship to the forefront in an entertaining romp that feels a little bit like SMASH TV meets Running Man meets Quake Arena. Win or lose, it’s hard not to enjoy the dance party on your face when you go down are defeated.

The basics of the game are straightforward enough. There are 4 different characters to choose from, each with a handful of abilities. I played a straightforwad run-and gun grunt type with big guns but a little less mobility than some of the other characters.

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Running, floating, shooting, flying, and generally explosive, fast-paced movement is the name of the game. The arenas shown at E3 were relatively small but highly vertical. Forget camping or hiding for the most part. The arenas are tight and the gunplay is relentless. The unskilled will be downed and danced upon frequently. Swallow your ego and learn to laugh a little. Enjoy the ride. Tears can come later.

PWND is still early in development and promises far more than what was shown at E3. Regardless, one can’t help but wonder: Despite its humorous spin on familiar mechanics, how will PWND differentiate itself from an increasingly crowded market currently dominated by the likes of Blizzard’s Overwatch, any FPS with Duty in the title, and heavy hitters like Bethesda’s forthcoming Quake Champions on the way to the ring?

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Todd Adamson, Creative Director for Skydance Interactive, answers:

“Hopefully we can carve out our own niche. While there are surface level similarities, PWND is a very different game than Overwatch and actually has more in common with Quake. One difference between PWND and Quake is that Quake is an Arena Shooter, PWND is a Rocket Arena Shooter. That means the entire game is built around ultra high mobility and three dimensional  combat.”

Almost sounds a little Tribes-like, although in my own play time it was more about jumping and less about jet-packing (and there was certainly no skiing). However, movement and vertical combat is definitely prominent in the game.

Adamson continues:

“For example, in Quake you see people running around a lot and hopping, in PWND good players rarely touch the ground. Then of course there is the PWN mechanic, which is basically a dynamic capture point system that really only works when you have insane mobility.”

If everyone’s behaving like a jackass, it’s not toxic, right?  Even the game’s animated “loading” icon is a little hip-thrusting tea-bagger. (It would make an excellent animated shirt, actually.)

When can I get PWND?

Although no release date is formally announced, PWND will be launching on Steam Early Access soon. Initially it will offer the standard 3v3 game mode, 3 different levels, and 4 different characters to play. 3 additional levels will be made available shortly after the game launches on Steam Early Access, according to Adamson.

So keep your eyes out for PWND. And if you’re interest enough to get in on the ‘ground floor’, sign up for the PWND Alpha/Closed Beta.

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