When Shadow Complex released in the summer of 2008, people were blown away by the high production values and the incredible side-scrolling mechanics that the game had to offer. Many had figured that this was only possible as it was an Epic/Chair Entertainment production with Microsoft backing, however, they may have been wrong. Moonshot Games is less than a year away from release on their first game, Fallen Frontier, which conquers just as much, if not more, 2D space.
Fallen Frontier, you see, is a co-op game. You can play it by yourself but, just as in Resident Evil 5, the game is truly meant to be played with a bro at your side. So, with that in mind, Dali and I tackled the demo at PAX East together. We started with an assault rifle and a tool that made the game worth it by itself: the grappling hook. This grappling hook was forged by gods, however, as we could use it to not only latch onto girders and floors, but also to enemies and even each other. And latch we did.
The (to use a word that our friend Garnett Lee hates) ‘gameplay’ was complex enough to let us know there was plenty to keep you entertained, but simple enough to let you zone out if you just wanted something to do while chatting with your friend or significant other. Latching onto enemies and pulling them in, and giving them a quick melee attack, was one of the best moves I have been able to do in a video game in some time.
All of the weapons available to us in the demo — an assault rifle, a carbine, a shotgun and a sniper rifle — had a distinct feel, and using grenades to blow people literally across the screen was extremely satisfying.
The split-screen mechanic was interesting. Normally, the two players work together on one main screen, but if they move to far apart, the screen splits and allows each player to move about unrestricted. However, the split is not vertical or horizontal, it is perpetually changing based on your orientation to the other player. Unfortunately, the speed in which it changed was dizzying at some times. The foreground that the we moved around on was extremely simple, with nothing more than thin beams acting like the platforms in Super Smash Bros. fashion. The game allowed us to drop down or jump up through them at will. If a platform is just out of jumping distance, we could hit the jump button again to pull ourselves up onto it. A split screen mechanic was used, also.
The background art has a story of it’s own, and when we spoke with Moonshot Games co-founder (and Bungie veteran) Damian Isla, we learned why: Moonshot has but one artist, Mike McCain. You probably don’t know of him, as he is a young man breaking into the the games industry with the company. After McCain delivered his finished concepts they were so impressed with his work, they decided to use his drawings as the backgrounds. It makes for a completely unique experience inside of the universe and as an art lover and appreciator, I would play the entire game just to see all of it.
I think both Dali and I came away from the experience with a positive feeling. Personally I can’t wait to see more of the game, and will keep Moonshot in my RSS so I don’t miss any details that they release — and I can then pass on to you guys and gals.
Final Thoughts: This game comes in filling the void that is the side-scrolling shooter that Shadow Complex 2 should be filling. However, with no news on a second game, Moonshot is making a play at being a massive hit on whatever platform it ends on. While we played this game with 360 controllers, it may end up as a PSN or PC exclusive, such is the way of the games biz. With early 2012 their prospective release date Moonshot still has much to do, and while this build felt great, I look forward to how much more these guys can add in to an already dense game.
Moonshot has made a demo video that they used at PAX East available to the public, check it out: