Chromehounds is a nightly affair now, one I spend a lot of time during the day anticipating. I don’t know that we’re playing it in a way that is consistent with the packaging, but we’re certainly enjoying ourselves, which I don’t think is illegal quite yet.
We’ve only gone up against another squad once, were crushed to earth, and decided we’d get back to human competition at some future point without ever really establishing a timeline. Looking around, we’re not the only squad that does this: putting your creation (which is like a sculpture of your soul) out on the permafrost for some anonymous savage to explode is not something every spirit can withstand.
It may be that there is no place for our squad in the greater Neroimus War. Perhaps we’ll be the festive, towering HOUNDS that get rolled out for parades and obscure holidays, Miss Local Town waving a fresh bouquet from one of my deck guns’ crimson barrels.
We’ll play for four hours, three hours of which is spent in the garage building robots. I’m sure this will change in the future once builds begin to stabilize, but currently the only reason we ever hit the field is to test the theory we have expressed in these custom machines. Beyond functional considerations are aesthetic ones, broken into raw design and decor, using the builder itself and then applying your "hound number" and custom decals to the cockpit, legs, and armor plating.
So much of our enjoyment comes from "talking shop," trading parts and advice in the Squad Room that I can’t imagine what you’re supposed to do with Chromehounds if you don’t have anyone to do it with. Single player’s got some nice parts, but then what - tell your mom about them? Your mom doesn’t give a shit about your stupid HOUND. Reviewing this thing alone must have been like unto an endless age of demonic torment.
There’s things not to like, so I don’t think that not liking it is the same as being an evil person. The pace of play - sturdy machines that move slowly - is a million miles away from the modern "instant action" ideal, where ferrets on methamphetamines zip through space dungeons for one-shot kills. The way they handle matchmaking is slick once you get it, but utilizes a twisted Eastern logic that you simply must accept. Squads could benefit from a shared garage. There’s no straightforward, UI assisted way way to compare two parts. I understand why a person would vow never to play it again.
The conditions must be right to enjoy it. We knew what those conditions were, and undertook measures to create them.