Fallen Frontier PAX East Preview
- Posted Mar 17, 2011
Let's say you work for years at Bungie, toiling on the Halo products, then suddenly decide to leave and form your own small game company. What's the first title you work on? The next Halo killer? A giant, open-ended sandbox shooter in a sci-fi setting? No. You make your debut title a 2D side-scrolling shooter. To be fair though, it is sci-fi based. Is Moonshot Games crazy? Or a bunch of geniuses? That's what I was wondering when I visited their booth at PAX East to try their fledgling Fallen Frontier out.
Right away it's clear that this game isn't Halo, but it is slightly Halo related. You're playing a variation on a space marine, and you can pick up plenty of different kinds of weapons as you traverse throughout sci-fi environs to dispatch bad guys, while a campaign story plays out. Like most 2D side-scrollers, you're pretty much trying to avoid death while slinging tons of lead and other projectiles, but Fallen Frontier weaves a story into the mix that plays out as cutscenes between levels.
At PAX, we were given a first look and hands-on at this title that is still in development and on track for a 2012 release. Michel Bastien, co-founder and managing director at Moonshot, jumped into some co-op with us and provided us with a much needed introduction and tutorial to the game. If you think Contra with a heavy dose of science fiction, actually much more than Contra has, since you've already batted huge mechs and such in that game, then you're on the right track.
You move with the left thumbstick, aim your gun with the right thumbstick, and fire with the right trigger (We were playing on an Alienware laptop with Xbox 360 Controllers for Windows). You can jump, extend-jump, grapple, drop through thin flooring, boost up through thin flooring, wall jump, and fire a "repulse" blast that pushes everything around you away, including your buddy, which comes in handy when you're swarmed. There's also a lot of hilarity to be had as you can attach your grapple to your buddy and pull him back, sling him around, or help him get to certain areas.
Other elements will be immediately familiar to Halo and FPS players: regenerative health, the ability to carry two weapons (swap with the Y button), grenades, and so on. You'll be mowing down plenty of bad guys, but you'll also find yourself doing plenty of Metroid-style platforming and puzzle-solving as you progress. We were only treated to a brief slice of the game, which Bastien said will eventually be huge. With mission-based assignments for each level, they're looking to flesh Fallen Frontier out into a real world.
Gameplay was fun (despite my two deaths), and you can either run and gun on your own or with a pal, in which case the screen will separate into two distinct halves, bisected by a diagonal line. You can do your own thing, or meet back up with your buddy and then the two screens will slide back into a single image. With overheating weapons, the ability to grapple and pull enemies towards you and shotgun them as they flail through the air, and tons of platforming, Fallen Frontier looks like plenty of fun.
Moonshot is aiming to have the game on XBLA, PSN, and Steam for Mac and PC early next year, so keep your eyes open for this co-op run and gunner.