Conceived from the ground up as both a comic and PSP game, Unbound Saga takes place inside a comic book universe… literally. You play on the pages of a comic book, jumping from panel to panel and fighting enemies drawn on the page Bugs Bunny-style by a entity known only as The Maker.
Now after seeing what it looks like you might you may be like me, and wondering at what point they’d just come out and say that someone had played Comix Zone right before coming up with this. The giant artist’s hand drawing enemies that explode into pieces of paper when killed, the big “WHAM!” and “SMASH!” visualized sound effects? I half expected a pet rat to pop out at some point.
I posed the question to Vogster Entertainment producer Mike Kennedy who freely admitted the influence, saying we should consider the game a spiritual successor to Comix Zone. And that works for me… who hasn’t wanted another one of those?
While the game’s all in 3D, this is an old-school 2D brawler, through and through. There are two main characters in Unbound Saga, Rick Ajax and Lori Machete, that you can switch between at any time with the push of a button. This gives the game a bit of strategy, as you’ll have to choose which character to use and which to let heal in the background. The character you’re not currently using will fight, too, but thankfully won’t take any damage so you don’t have to worry about babysitting them. The controls are fairly simple- the X button works for kicks, the circle for punches. Rick is the typical bruiser- he’s got a lot of health and can dish out a helluva lot of damage. He’s got wrestling moves such as a suplex that can be performed after grabbing onto the characters, and he’s a lot of fun to smash things up with. Lor’s the sleek, faster type, who’s got lots of fancy kick moves and some special attacks that are performed by holding the right trigger and hitting a face button. They really do make her invaluable- such as a poison gas attack that kills anyone immediately around her.
I played through a panel (stage) where the Maker had drawn in a machine that was pumping out enemy after enemy, and had to destroy it to move on to the next panel. The game definitely brings back a sense of the old games of my youth, as it’s just fun to beat on your enemies and break apart anything in the room. Things can be smashed to pieces and objects picked up and used on your opponents… table legs, pipes, chairs, whatever you see. As you go through the game you’ll earn XP to learn new moves and power up your existing ones, adding a bit of replayability to the game.
The game’s got 10 chapters, which should take you around 4-5 hours to complete. While there’s not going to be any multiplayer, there will be online eaderboards in order to encourage competition with your friends.
The game will also be solely a downloadable title… you can pick it up through the Playstation Network store through your PSP or PS3 and get it delivered right to you at anytime. At around the same time the games releases the Dark Horse comic (a one-shot) will hit as well, and while both tell different stories they’ll tie in together. Depending on the reception to both products they’ve got ideas for more comics and downloadable content, and the game can easily get DLC in the form of new chapters, characters, etc.
It’s been a while since we’ve had a great sidescrolling brawler, and like Mike Kennedy pointed out, they are perfect for a portable platform. My short playtime with the game showed that the controls were responsive and easy to jump into, and if everything works out this will be the kind of game you’ll pick up and not be able to put down for a couple of hours.
Expect Unbound Saga to hit in June, and check out the official site for more info!