PAX East: Uragun
By: Roberto Nieves
Last year, when conventions and events went digital, a game caught my eye during the PAX Online event, Uragun. A self-explanatory title, Uragun had players piloting a big mech, fighting vicious machines in a dystopian future. The build was rough but enjoyable and showed promise. More than a year later, the team at Kool2Play has essentially upgraded their game, becoming bigger, badder, and better than ever before.
At PAX East, I had an opportunity to see the game for myself. Players are thrust into a dystopic world where advanced robots have run amok. The first level hits fast and hard as swarms of enemies surround the player. Fortunately, their mech, the Uragun, is incredibly advanced. From the moment the equipped minigun spins up, it's a delightful sight of sound and explosions. As enemies swarm, a synthwave soundtrack pulses through the battle, and newer enemies make their appearance. Jumpers, which slam the ground, appear to harm players. But, with quick reflexes, they are quickly dispatched. Within moments, I wasn't having fun; I was having a blast.
Uragun had incredibly tight controls and the right amount of particle effects and combat sensation. Everything about it felt fantastic, and before long, I was smiling and laughing through the rampaging hordes of monsters. I was also introduced to new special abilities, such as dash and ground slam. They use energy but are very effective in destroying large groups of enemies.
Later in the demo, I was introduced to new levels. One takes place on the rooftop of the city, and by using platforms, I was able to navigate between stages. Large structures rose and fell in various order on one particular rooftop, providing a constantly changing battlefield. On the one hand, this made it harder for the enemy to find and destroy players, even offering protection. On the other, it'd be easy to lose protection instantly. During this time, I was able to switch weapons, changing from a rail gun to an energy disc launcher. Around this time, the development team mentioned inspirations for Uragun, most notably the amazing Assault Android Cactus by Witchbeam games and the 90s classic Future Cop L.A.P.D. on PlayStation.
Finally, I played and faced the boss from the first demo. The boss was a giant robotic snake that penetrates the ground and then bursts upward unexpectedly. Of course, having faced it before, I made short work, though nevertheless, it was still quite a challenge. The Snake generated small energy generators that covered the arena in electrical pulses, and all the while, the snake attempted to shoot and bash players. With some determination and elbow grease, the mechanical beast was felled.
The controls felt tight. Left trigger fires the weapon on the left arm, and right trigger fires the weapon on the right arm. The numbers used the special attacks, and the overall movement and aiming felt great.
When asked about how they came about the changes, the dev team began with two words: Player feedback. The first demo, coupled with feedback on their Discord channel, created a bevy of feedback to learn and apply. Every small detail, from weapons feedback to enemy movement, was all factored into their upgrades for Uragun. Even the colors and presentation received a considerable upgrade for the better. Where the first demo had browns and greys, this demo took me from ice packs to neon cityscapes to a factory in the desert.
Uragun has come a long way and continues to improve. New weapons, modes, enemies, and boss fights are set to be added, and the game is getting ready to be released onto several platforms.
Uragun is a shining example of a collected team listening to players and implementing changes to better the experience, which is why this was one of the best games to play at PAX East. Swift, fast, and action-packed, I look forward to more Uragun, but most importantly, I look forward to seeing more of what this team can do.
Uragun is set to launch on Steam and console next year.