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XBLA Undertow mini-review

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So I finally played some Undertow over the last couple days... seems like a pretty nifty little game, with some very nice graphic effects. I enjoy "territories" game types (ala Halo 3), so this one is mostly right up my alley. Mostly.

 

Pros:

1. Really nice graphics

2. Fast and furious gameplay

3. Character selection and upgrade

4. Cool powerups

5. Multiple ways to traverse the map

 

Cons:

1. I have a really hard time figuring out how to switch my character in the base

2. Do I have any control over how often my teammates spawn, where they spawn, and what kind of characters they are?

3. Very limited life, and no way to ram people, so the bigger ships seem almost useless.

4. No real strategy for the solo game; it's just jump in guns-a-blazin'. And why don't my teammates protect our bases more? It's not like my one character can be everywhere at once.

5. Could the story mode have any more cheese in the cut scenes?

 

Summary:

 I like the game, and would really enjoy playing multiplayer to see if it improves some of the strategy limitations. I got mine free on XBLA so it's a great value overall, but would I have paid for it? Hard to say.

Comments

I was left a little

  1. I was left a little befuddled with the character switch, so I never attempted it.  My impression that you pick the class you will be on your next respawn.
  2. I assume you mean your teammates.  Don't know.
  3. There are guns for a reason.  Plus, grenades/depth charges don't hurt you, but do great in close quarters.
  4. I agree it seems like you have little or no control over friends.  I suppose by virtue that they respawn somewhere is like they are defending it... it does seem like you have to do all the work in capturing and recapturing bases.
  5. It could have more, but then might have holes in it.

You can make your character

You can make your character switch immediately, but it's confusing and (for me) didn't always work. But some of the characters are much cooler than the default cannon fodder swimmer.

Yes, I meant teammates.

On the biggest ship you can choose, it only fires its gun about once every 5 sec. Sure, it's powerful, but with no way to dodge and no secondary weapon, it's almost useless when there is a horde of baddies in front of you.

Yeah, this game feels almost like a RTS in single player mode... except that your guys don't do much of anything! I would have liked some RTS-style management options, like "defend this base" or "advance to next base" or "spawn as fodder/marines/etc."

Ah, behold the power of cheese!

Carl

I skipped most of the

I skipped most of the cutscenes. 

I agree the graphics are very nice, for what is basically a 2D game.   I only really played the game the first time through, though and never looked back.   

I tried this game out a

I tried this game out a couple of times. 

Pros:

1.    Great graphics for a free game

2.    Lots of action

3.    Resembles Geometry Wars 

4.    The cheesy cutscenes (I have odd humor, ask my wife) 

 

Cons: 

1.    I was a bit disappointed with how small your characters are, made it hard to see what was going on (though I do play on a 19" widescreen montior)

2.    It seems your guys are easily killed & weak until they are upgraded to their 3rd rank.

3.    Way too uncontrollable...there is no strategy.  Your teammates are useless.

4.    I found no point to switch classes after getting to the third rank of the cannon fodder class. 

 

Summary:

I would have not bought the game. 

 

I wouldn't mind the cheesy

I wouldn't mind the cheesy cutscenes, except that they seemed to take themselves seriously. If you're going to have cheesy dialogue and minimal character animation, I think you really need some self-deprecating humor to admit "hey, we know this is cheesy. Just sit back and enjoy it." Kind of like an episode of Chuck on TV. ;)

I agree with Jake's cons. It seems like an OK game, and really I'm most interested in knowing if it improves with online multiplayer. If it doesn't, then I'll probably leave this one on the shelf...

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