Unbound Saga Hands-On - Kicking, Punching, and Throwing

We try out this side-scrolling PSP brawler at E3 2009.


Unbound Saga

Unbound Saga is one of the many games on display here at E3 2009. The download-only PSP game will be a side-scrolling brawler like Double Dragon or Streets of Rage, and it pits two comic-book characters, tough guy Rick and femme fatale Lori, against legions of bad guys as part of Rick's self-aware quest to find out why he's been stuck in a comic book all of his life, and who's behind it.

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Who's Making This Game: New Jersey-based studio Vogster, which is also responsible for the Robocalypse games.

What the Game Looks Like: Unbound Saga looks like a comic-book-inspired brawler because it is a comic-book-inspired brawler. Rick is a heavily tattooed muscle head, and Lori wears a corset, fishnet stockings, and high heels.

What There Is to Do: Walk to the right and beat up some 38 different types of enemies. In addition to punching and kicking, each character has extra abilities. Rick can grapple opponents and hurl them into his foes, as well as pick up objects, such as crates and barrels, and hurl those at the bad guys too. Lori, on the other hand, can kick and attack with her butcher knives, and perform special jumping attacks or use a bunch of other abilities from her "bag of tricks," such as healing her teammate or poisoning her enemies.

How the Game Is Played: Unbound Saga takes place on comic-book "panels"--basically, a single screen on which a pile of enemies spawn. Once you've defeated all of the enemies on one panel, you can move on to the next. The game has 10 "scenarios" that consist of 10 to 12 panels apiece, though in addition to fighting, there will be puzzles and secondary objectives, such as destroying an elevator that keeps dumping enemies into the world. At all times, both Rick and Lori are in the game, pummeling the bad guys, and though this is a single-player game only, you can switch control to the other character at any time. The computer-controlled character can't die and gradually recovers from damage over time, so an important part of the game's strategy might be exactly when to switch control to the other character.

What They Say: Unbound Saga has a ton of physics modeled with respect to smashing objects, knocking enemies into each other, and so on. The game has a lot of potential as a downloadable game, given that the possibilities for DLC are endless. Vogster is also working with Dark Horse Comics on a comic adaptation of the game, which is scheduled to hit comic-store shelves on July 1.

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What We Say: Unbound Saga looks like it could be a pretty solid brawler, though the action felt a little plodding at some points. We'll find out how the final game ends up when it launches on July 16.

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