When Moonshot Games announced Fallen Frontier in early-March, we knew we had to play it on the showfloor at PAX East. The game, at a glance, resembled Shadow Complex. At its very worst we’d at least get a ripoff of Chair’s fantastic Metroidvania-styled shooter. But come on — these are ex-Bungie guys, and with that comes expectations. There had to be more to it. After playing, we can safely say that there is.
The demo at PAX was relatively straight-forward. The game is a 2D sidescrolling shooter. You control a futuristic soldier with several abilities, some obvious and some unique. There are, of course, a multitude of guns to choose from. Whether you prefer the rapid fire of a machine gun or the weighty and thick blast of a shotgun, Moonshot has your back. You’ll be able to carry two at a time and have access to grenades. No, you do not have a recharging shield, though hiding will replenish your health after taking heavy damage.
You’ll be able to jump through the thinner floors. This is done by jumping through them from the bottom (pressing jump will vault you upward) or falling through them by pressing down and jump. It adds a lot to the gunplay, keeping it from being a 2D corridor shooter. Enemies who may be a few levels above you may not suspect your approach from behind, but they’ll expect it even less when it comes from below. You can also use this tactic in the game’s co-op mode by having your partner run in front of a soldier to distract them while you approach quietly from the rear to take them out with a melee strike.
The game’s major innovation, though, is the grappling hook. It can be used to leap across chasms or to climb walls. You can even grab and launch your co-op partner. The most fun we had with it, aside from a generally feeling like Spider-Man (pre-dance scene in Spider-Man 3) was grabbing a foe and bringing them toward us while firing our shotgun. It may never get old.
There’s also a forcefield used to push enemies and players alike. It wasn’t featured in the demo, but it was there to be discovered by curious gamers. Moonshot wouldn’t cop to any details about how it will be used, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Moonshot said the game will last around 10 – 12 hours when it comes out in 2012. This one is a far way off, but we’re hopeful that the development time will result in something polished to a blinding sheen since this demo build played so well.