Early Access – Ubermosh

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Early Access – Ubermosh
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Action
Developer: Walter Machado
Publisher: Walter Machado
March 25th, 2015 (Early Access)

Walter Machado, developer of last year’s PC Action title Gearcrack Arena, returns with a brand new venture simply titled Ubermosh. While the follow-up release isn’t quite done, Walter has gone ahead and made it available through Steam as an “Early Access” purchase at a nice budgetary cost of two dollars US (cheaper if you picked it up on sale around the time of launch). But, what exactly is it, and, even at this point in development, is it anything worth keeping an eye on?

Ubermosh is being described as “a shot of adrenaline”, offering an experience similar to that of “a pinball table or a coin arcade machine” according to the game’s “about” section. In its current state, you play as an unnamed protagonist in a Cyber Punk world with growing hordes of opponents you need to defeat in order to survive the imposed time limit. It’s kind of like the atmosphere of a Shadowrun title laced with the core principles of Robotron 2084. The only difference is that, as time goes on, it seems to escalate into a Bullet Hell style offering sans the SHMUP style of gameplay.

While it would work nicely as a twin stick shooter, this is more a keyboard and mouse operation on par with Alien Breed or Shadowgrounds, but in a tightly confined space. The keys allow you to race around the field, while the mouse moves the targeting reticle and acts as your mode of attack. The main goal is to deflect bullets from your foes in order to survive, not to mention acquire their ranged weaponry. Of course, if you’re like me, you’ll probably get more enjoyment out of slicing your opponents in half with your sword than shooting long distance with the various guns that become available.

Ubermosh

The problem right now with this idea is that, when you fire so much as a single shot, you automatically pick up any new weapon you run over, changing the firing method. So, say you have a spread shot of some sort, and you prefer it or just have gotten accustomed to it this time around. If you run over another weapon, you might acquire a thin laser shot or bulky bullets instead, which changes the whole dynamic of your ranged attacks. A lot of this seems to depend on the enemy you kill as well, so avoiding their aptly color coded guns for the sake of sticking with the one you prefer can be a little more tedious when it comes to that shot of adrenaline you’re looking for.

Recently there was an update that added in a level boss. This enemy, when defeated, would drop a special gun that will never replace any others scattered about the battle field. It’s a nice little perk that seems to have longer range and take out more foes grouped together compared to the single bullet deaths of these one-hit-kill enemies. Sadly, there’s no major indicator of who the level boss is unless you know all the standard minions, which isn’t too hard after a while since there seems to only be a handful of various character designs at the moment. The first time I even knew I had killed the boss was because I had a gun that acted differently compared to the others, not to mention could not be replaced by walking over any others. It would be nice to have some sort of indicator so that gamers know where that objective is within the swarm of enemies rushing you. It doesn’t need to point off screen either, maybe just a little downwar arrow above its head when it comes into frame.

Ubermosh

The amount of terrain also seems fairly limited right now, only keeping with rather flat color palettes within the randomly generated outdoors world. Hopefully in future builds we’ll see levels inside or designs that better reflect the Cyber Punk universe this world is meant to take place in, but, for now, those flat, earthy tones clash with the brighter colors of enemies to help you discern foes to an extent. Regardless of how observant you are, you’re still going to miss one or two wandered into frame or appeared out of nowhere.

Finally there’s the mixture of Industrial and Metal instrumentals that make up the soundtrack. The sound effects are decent for the eight-bit style Arcade graphics on display, and the faster speed and pacing of the horde growth are both well done to play up the adrenaline side of things. It’s all just complimented by static, tribal drum rhythms, or a harsher, grittier battle soundtrack that many developers nowadays would have no problem slapping Alternative Rock songs onto to cater to a wider audience. It seems as though Walter is aware of just who will be playing this title and is focusing on making those individuals happy, something I thank him greatly for.

So, as it stands, this is a quick game of randomly generated terrain you need to run around in and destroy enemies by deflecting bullets or cutting them in half with your sword, only to pick up their guns and start blasting around, all within a very limited amount of time. For as basic a core concept as that is, Ubermosh is an incredibly fun little top down Action game that challenges you to beat your previous score with each new round. The title screen displays your top kill amount up to this point (though the last update reset that for me, so future ones may do the same), allowing for instant bragging rights among friends, or a challenge if one happens to surpass it while playing under your name. There’s also an option for extras, but there’s none available at this time, so there’s that to either look forward to, or dread. Hopefully it’s just for small things like community downloadable content alterations or simple gimmicks like options to make everyone have clown heads or silly things like that.

Ubermosh

Ubermosh isn’t the most expansive at the moment either, and there’s clearly more to come from the roughly year long development the early access outline points out. Hopefully those future additions or alterations won’t nerf the challenge or destroy the established classic arcade style game play that makes this idea as a whole work. There are many comparisons to the game Nuclear Throne as well, which I can’t really comment on as I haven’t played it yet. They do look similar, but that’s all based on the few trailers I’ve seen. But, in the end, if you happen to have a couple dollars on your Steam account and want something you can kill five or ten minutes with, Ubermosh is definitely well worth it at this point in time. You probably won’t run marathon gaming sessions, but as a casual pick-up-and-play offering, it’s an intense little ride you won’t soon regret.


Overall Score: 9/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by personal funds.