Proof of Concept: All Walls Must Fall (Kickstarter Pre-Alpha)

By Josh Brown 14 Apr 2017 0

While Dead Island 2 lives on within another studio, some of those who were around to experience the dramatic break-up between then developer Yager and publisher Deep Silver moved on to pastures anew.

Seeing this as more of a reason to try something new under their own guidance, three of those let go in the project's untimely demise decided to join the growing indie revolution. Planning to release the first fruits of the labour in just a couple of months, 'All Walls Must Fall - A Tech-Noir Tactics Game' - will be their debut. The premise? A time-travel escapade within a dreary dystopian timeline where the technological accomplishments of the current and future day blend with a world in which the Cold War never ended.

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Kickstarter Overview

Announcing the title a few months back, Inbetween Games are currently drumming up interest - and revenue - through Kickstarter with the campaign coming to a close on April 19th . Press were granted access to an early version during the initial reveal. But what can it tell us of the game's overall scope?

The current Alpha build is said to contain a lower fraction of the full game's length. Clocking it at around 90-120 minutes for a first run, All Walls Must Fall seems to be more about the execution of a given mission rather than the actual strategy required to pull it off. Taking the form of an isometric, tactical shooter in a 3D world, each beat of its pumping soundtrack indicates a turn. Think XCOM mixed with Crypt of the Necrodancer and you'll be on the right lines. You've been forced into a time-travel situation by a mysterious figure and are expected to follow their orders to the tee to avert some kind of complicated political paradox.

Usually this involves killed a particular target, disarming some bombs or just gathering up information from the staff. Though, currently, the beat of the music seems to tie in very little with how you plan and execute your actions. With each move, you'll notice the track's beat kick in and settle down once you stand still. From what I could tell, that's about it for that particular feature. Each 'beat' constitutes a turn, but you're free to move whenever and however you please. There's no waiting for the enemy to think things through and make their move - you just go.

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Not All Walls

For the sake of better explaining the task at hand, All Walls Must Fall plays out as a fairly simple endeavor. You select a mission from the main map and immediately find yourself outside a bar with a couple of security guards stationed outside. Talking to them might present an opportunity to unlock an otherwise closed door, or you can just waltz on in and carry out a singular mission like "defuse DJ bombs" or "gather intel from bartenders". Either way, it's simply a case of finding the object/person is question, clicking on them (or maybe killing them) and returning to your car before moving onto the next level. The only thing between this would be a couple of bouncers looking to gun you down as you swing your arms for the exit. Pop them off or slide away. It's your move.

For one reason or another you can talk to these men and click through a few seemingly random, irrelevant dialogue options until you either tick them off in 1 of 3 different ways or win them over in just as many. Succeeding might open a locked door while failing may cause them to pull their guns on you; though most of the time, it does absolutely nothing despite them saying otherwise. It's a very loose concept at the minute that will need a lot of work to feel worthwhile. Being able to flirt with a tough security guard at a bar doesn't sound the most reliable method of infiltration when you're a built brute; but that's exactly the kind of comical feature we could use in this troubled town. It's just too bad that it seems to have serve little purpose right now.

Currently, it's difficult to grasp where the fun of All Walls Must Fall is supposed to lie. You stroll in, click an object or push a few dialogue options that, while trying to be funny, rarely correlate to their suggested effect, and make your way out while strafing around the building popping off guards with a double-tap. With time standing still when you do, it's easy to shoot through enemies without any heavy consequence - especially with the prediction system dishing out a 'incoming bullet' warning. The only true mention of strategy seems to be for those hoping to make a dent on a leaderboard with a lower completion time than someone else.There's a turn-limit, to an extent, but you'll never reach it unless you're abusing the Sprint button. It's a breeze if you're just in it for the story, whatever that is.

Future Promises 

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With the Kickstarter sitting at around $26,000 at the time of writing, the 'Intermediate Stretch Goal' has been reached. With it, Inbetween Games has promised to implement an Extended Cover System - something that, would likely making the game ever easier while offering a welcome shake-up to a combat system that otherwise has you abusing a choke-point or sliding back and forth to dodge gunfire.

Additional destructible objects will join the walls that shatter in a manner more elaborate than any other part of the current Alpha, only you'll be able to join in the fun by opening up your own paths with a punch that can bust down a wall as the nearby public continue to bust a move.

With around a week left on the clock, it's looking unlikely that the team will reach their next goal. Asking for a modest $75,000 to implement and refine 'Act II: West Berlin' into the backer-accessed Closed Alpha, it's proving a struggle. Still, while they may not be able to hustle down to bring the section to the Alpha team; they're promising to give it a go by grabbing extra cash from Early Access purchases and a string of potential investors. The good faith is there, at least. Updates are expected to add new content, bug fixes and features every 3-6 weeks, but there's no real timeframe as to when the team expects to ship a finished product.

Closing Thoughts

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From the quick taste we've been given already, All Walls Must Fall seems to struggle with its over-all message. Sure, we're hardly expecting a fully fleshed-out narrative right off the bat. That'd be defeating the purpose of a video game, in some respects. Instead, we're presented with a proof of concept demo that lays the foundation. The support pillars aren't the strongest just yet, but that's precisely why 'Early Access' exists so prominently in today's development cycle. Things can only get better, essentially. I'm not sure how much better they can get, but that isn't up to me to decide.

If you're quick to the trigger, $18 is what it'll cost to get some hands-on time with the Closed Alpha in May with the lower tier being purely a Steam Early Access key - which isn't scheduled to go live until September. These 'informal collaborators' will get that Alpha access alongside the game's soundtrack and their name in the credits. Not a bad deal for those who want it. Plus, the promised Drone Warfare and Vandalism goals hit through the current pledge total can only be good news.

For the most part, we can't write this one off. With us having only seen a quick snippet of the game's general scope there's certainly more to come. While I personally felt like I was simply retracing my steps in subsequent missions, others might see it as more reason to do what they love - talk, dance and kill. The combat certainly needs something to keep repetition from setting in, but the true flavor could come from blending into the dance floor with your sweet moves whenever things start to get a bit dicey. Pair that with a solid narrative and some humorous character interactions and you've got yourself an intriguing tale with some noteworthy, tactical quirks.

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