Spooky season may be upon us but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a trip back to the 90s complete with smooth jazz and crime noir. Fallen Aces, developed by Trey Powell and Jason Bond, and published by New Blood Interactive launched the eagerly anticipated demo of the FPS crime noir title on October 1st, 2021. Despite having a big interest in many of New Blood Interactives previously published games, Fallen Aces was a title I knew very little about and that only made me more excited to dive into the demo and take a look at it first hand.
Short And Sweet
Fallen Ace’s demo can be tackled in a number of ways but at least from my experience each playthrough clocked in at about 15-20 minutes. This is of course very standard for any demo but Fallen Aces does a great job at not only putting its best foot forward gameplay-wise but also managed to grip me and sell me on its gritty, noir-inspired world in that short time too. This is in no short part due to the incredible music, audio design, art and voice acting. Both the performances and storytelling direction at least from my experience are very akin to the original Max Payne released back in 2001. Granted the gameplay experience is extremely different to that of Max Payne but the overall atmosphere and execution in the demo are done so well that I think it warrants the comparison.
The animation had been an aspect of Fallen Aces that initially caught my eyes when browsing through early developer posts on Twitter and it’s still one of the most impressive parts of the title’s demo. I was blown away to find out that the title’s co-developer Trey Powell had hand-drawn 100% of the games original art and I’m not surprised he wanted to let everyone know after the demo’s release given that the animations of the enemy mobsters alone took him a number of months.
I just want you all to know how fucking hard it was to animate all those enemy animations to be that smooth. It took MONTHS! Have to have 8 rotations for each animation which is like 24 frames. I draw with a mouse.
— Trey Powell Fallen Aces (DEMO OUT NOW YA MOOK!) (@TreyPowell1964) October 2, 2021
Accompanied with the animations are some really polished gameplay and combat. given the range of combat options including using weapons such as bottles, pipes and guns and the more direct approach of using your fists, kicking and some amazing “finisher” style moves every element of the combat comes together to create a seamless experience that both looks amazing and is extremely satisfying to chain together.
In terms of accessibility, the demo unfortunately comes a little short on that front. Whilst there’s a clear and welcome addition of subtitles and remappable keys which have become industry standard at this point for any PC game there is still, unfortunately, a lack of more quality of life options such as closed captions, adjustable subtitles and UI size options and colour blind options.
From what I played of the demo, Fallen Aces is scratching an itch I didn’t even know I had. Something that New Blood titles seem to excel at finding and exploiting in the best possible way. Needless to say, the fact it’s short, free and extremely fun means you have no reason really not to give it a try and I certainly look forward to the continued updates and developments surrounding this game’s full release.
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Reviewed on: PC
Developer: Trey Powell & Jason Bond
Publisher: New Blood Interactive