Contra 2028 is a Third Person Shooter in the veins of Vanquish in where you must jump, slide, and do what you can to survive in this arena that will ultimately see you die. It was put together by a team of eight students in just eight weeks and uses the Unreal 4 engine. We play as an unnamed man that has found himself in a building being breached by aliens and has no means of escape. What he does have is a machine gun with infinite ammo and a shotgun that does require ammunition but will stop foes right in their tracks. That formidable amount of firepower is all well and good, though you are still far outmatched via the sheer numbers of ravenous aliens that think nothing of charging head first into a valley of gunfire. Contrary to most other games of this genre, your biggest asset will be your versatile movement which allows you to use the numbers of the horde against them as you make your way through the arena.
If you have ever played Vanquish, you know exactly what I meant when I said slide during the opening sentence. We are not just going to flop down and mop the floor with our stomachs, we are going to dart across the room at intense speeds using our rocket-propelled boots. This feature is just as fun as ever and is an invaluable asset to level the playing field as you zip past would be threats. Like all good things, your rocket boots do not last forever. You are limited in the amount you can use it by the energy meter found below the ammo counter and while it does recharge very quickly, its best to keep your eye on it lest you find yourself ruining out of juice in the middle of a sea of enemies. Even then, you are far from defenseless due to the fact that you can jump which is quite the oddity in this genre. And if you have enough time you’ll also be able to charge up a hyperjump which will quickly let you reach high places and can really save your bacon if used properly. Be wary though, these aliens can jump just as well as you and no place will remain safe for long.
The movement is spot on and is a far cry from your usual hide behind cover mechanic found in nearly every other game of this type. It has far more in common with something like Serious Sam or Painkiller more so than Gears of War as you may immediately link it to from the screenshots. Of course, running and evading your foes will only get you so far. You do have to make use of your weaponry to eliminate all of the aliens found in that wave. As fun as the shotgun is to use, the weapon you’ll have in your hands the majority of the time is the machinegun. Not only due to having infinite ammo but also from the fact that enemies you defeat may randomly drop a power-up such as upgraded damage or accuracy. These do not last forever yet they will certainly help thin out their numbers and keep your score multiplier up. Score enough points and you’ll eventually receive an automated turret for you to place whenever you please, making it far easier to hold on to choke points before being overwhelmed. There are also online leaderboards that compare your score to others when you finally bite the dust, for added motivation to replay it.
When an enemy gets close, there is the option to melee it, though that is mostly a last resort struggle as you should definitely run or use your shotgun in those cases. A nifty feature in combat is the short-lived slow motion that occurs when you try to aim while either in midair or sliding, allowing you a far easier time lining up a shot. You have so many tricks and options at your disposal that death will always come down to an error on your part, making it a game that is easy to come back to time and time again. There is no limit to the amount of waves, so you will eventually meet your demise, however for that reason stated alongside the competitive arcade style point system, it does become rather addictive. The waves you will go through are not random, what and how often your enemy drops powerups & ammo for your shotgun on the other hand, are. This does add an aspect of luck to how far you may get on the leaderboard, though the power-ups themselves are not so decisive that you can’t pull through with only your skills at play.
Besides simply mowing down everything, on occasion, a wave will task you with defending a generator. Failing to do so will disable your hud and your energy meter, making it in your best interest to keep it going. Controller support is supported from the get go and playing the game is as simple as double clicking on its exe file. It’s an effortless process from downloading the game and getting straight into the action. It can be easy to forget that this was an eight student project with how well the end result turned out. One thing I did find rather odd was the name Contra 2028 since the only thing even vaguely resembling that series is the jumping animation. Nonetheless, this is a title more than worth checking out and heres hoping to seeing the talented folks behind it again in the future.
Link to download: Contra 2028