Throw me a game made with UDK and you’ll likely hear me produce a noise unlike you’ve ever heard before. Sure, it’s great that developers can use it to produce some fairly graphically sound games, but, by George, do they all look the same. Metallic walls, sparky particles and shiny faces; I’m sure that most who use it most have went to the same Epic Games-ran school or something. Generic is as generic does. Much of the same can be said for Red Cap Games’ Iron Soul: Awakening, which lacks much in the way of any unique style in the art department and the gameplay meets a similar fate. Still, there’s a free demo on the lurch and it’s a competent little thing for what it is, at least.
Red Cap Games have been carving away at the metallic torso of its third person action platformer for several months now and apparently they’re looking for a publisher to pick the game up, though that’s only because they are in need of exposure and promotion. “Do you have any idea about that?” they ask on the UDK forums. Well, here it is, development team – some form of promotion, though my mentioning of its generic tethering may not be quite the approach you’re looking for, perhaps.
So we’ve established that Iron Soul looks adequate, if nothing too overly impressive in the stylistics department. What about the experience of actually playing it for yourself? The developers claim for it to be something akin to an old school shooting experience, but that was far from the truth, I’d say. Being clumped into a room with enemies spawning in the middle that were easily disposed of by standing still…yeah, that’s not quite Quake now, is it? There’s a few different enemy types, scuttling little explodey ones, flying rocket launchers and a giant worm that spits electric pulses – none that challenging. But you can turn the difficulty up if you wish, but it won’t make the game any more dynamic; simply you’ll die more often if you’re not careful, and that’s going to be annoying. You also get a gatling gun, an infinite single shot plasma rifle and a shotgun – so don’t expect anything out of the norm there either.
“H25 is our silent protagonist. He is a machine that was specifically made by a brilliant professor in order to stop an impending robot menace. The more ironic part is that most enemies are also his creations that got hacked and stolen.”
Alongside that, a side to the game not really present in the demo (or so it seemed) was the ability to defy the orders of your creator. You’re a robot named H25 and designed to perform as instructed, but the description of the game makes it out that you can listen to another voice inside the H25′s head, which presumably is to go its own way. So, yeah, that must came at some other point in the game, I guess. The main serving the game has to offer are its platforming sections. Which are very run of the mill, but competent at least. Shooting platforms to flip them horizontal so you can traverse them, platforms that disappear and others that move. It’s all very clear cut and so familiar, but it’s enjoyable with the twitchiness of it all.
The most surprising part of my playthrough was probably the moment when I first came across a small wall-mounted turret. It swivels on point and near enough insta-kills you should you step across its path. Shooting out the little red light above the gun disables it, though, and then everything is back to being pretty bog standard. For a free demo, though, there’s plenty of content to keep you going for an hour or so. Feel free to knock yourself out!