GDC 2015: Hands on With Megaton Rainfall
Superhero games are not exactly rare in the world of video games. The Batman Arkham series is going strong, while Marvel is getting its claws into the MMO space, and DC is getting fighting games with its heroes. Original superhero IPs are a little harder to come by, with games like City of Heroes and Champions online making little difference in the overall superhero game landscape. Basically, if you have an original superhero IP, the odds are already stacked against you.
Alfonso del Cerro is a developer from Spain who has been working the last three years on his new superhero game, Megaton Rainfall. In Megaton Rainfall, you play a nameless superhero who is tasked with saving his city from an alien attack. You have an enormous city to play around in, and a few interesting gameplay elements that makes Megaton stand out from the pack.
I met up with Alfonso at GDC where he was showcasing Megaton at the Indie MegaBooth. The game was drawing more than its fair share of second glances. My demo began with my character, the aforementioned nameless superhero, floating high above the planet in space. A flashing flying saucer icon on the planet’s surface alerted me to an impending alien attack, so I gathered up my superpowered booty and zipped down to the planet’s surface.
The first thing I noticed was how quickly my character moved. In literally the blink of an eye, I was through the atmosphere and flying amongst the city buildings. You control the hero with the standard WASD keys and mouse for head movement, but you can also ascend with the spacebar, and descend with the “C” key. Honestly, it was a bit hard to get used to and I would have much preferred a movement system closer to that of a flight game. Regardless, I soon got used to it, and was flying around the city, hunting for the alien menace.
Combat was extremely difficult as the alien saucers had only one point of weakness, a small red dot in the middle of the top portion of the saucer. Before I was alerted to this fact, I was flying around the enemy, unleashing a number of energy bolts. Bad move, as it turns out any wayward bolts would immediately destroy any building in my way. Basically, I turned into Superman from Man of Steel, destroying anything and everything in my path, enemies and innocents alike. After being admonished by Alfonso, I adopted a more cautious approach, waiting until the enemy stopped momentarily before unloading my arsenal at the red dot. Again, it was easier said than done as the aliens, who are no fools, would not stop moving around.
Being an early build, the demo had more than its fair share of screen tearing and stuttering which is understandable, but it made the game a bit harder on the eyes. Your character is a translucent blue entity where you can see his/her hands at all times. Along with the aforementioned issues, the blue glow around the hands, the aliens flying around, the energy blasts coming from your hands, and explosions/building crumbling/other particle effects, there’s a lot going on visually. Almost too much.
Speaking of visuals, the game had a nice cell shaded look to everything. The city looks tremendous especially given the size. Even though my time with Megaton Rainfall was extremely short, I was quite enamored by the overall visual design. The city (or what small section I had seen of it) had a very crisp, “clean future” type of look to it. It looked more like The Citadel from Mass Effect than the city from Blade Runner, for lack of a better comparison. Whenever a building gets destroyed, the resulting destruction looks less “explosion-y” than what you might find in movies, and more like a structure simply breaking down into millions of individual pieces and falling apart. It reminds me of the scene in Big Hero 6 where Hiro was showing off his micro-bots. Picture that scene with the micro-bots falling apart, and that’s how the destruction in the game looks. It’s very nice on the eyes, and fits the overall design very well.
By the end of my demo, the area of the city where I was battling was laid to waste, with a bunch of aliens still shooting out of the mother-ship high above the city. I’m a terrible superhero, it seems.