New Free Steam Demo Is A Modern-Day Superman Game

New Free Steam Demo Is A Modern-Day Superman Game
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The problem with making a game about a superhero like Superman is figuring out ways to impose limits on the character to make sure he’s not overpowered. Undefeated, a free superhero PC game created by a trio of students from Japan’s Vantan Game Academy, demonstrates just how unnecessary those limits might be.

The nameless hero of Undefeated has no health bar. The army of enemies menacing his city couldn’t possibly hurt him. Instead he has a “Hero Point” meter that fills as he performs good deeds like rescuing civilians and defeating bad guys. The higher his hero grade, the faster he flies and the harder he hits.

Decked out in a black t-shirt, black jeans, and a pair of dark sunglasses, he patrols the skies and streets without fear for his own safety. His only real enemy is time. Can he rescue civilians trapped under concrete slabs or behind walls of flame before it’s too late? Will he lay low Undefeated’s also nameless super villain boss before the town is destroyed? Can he fly fast enough to get five stars in the game’s flying challenges?

Undefeated is a superhero game that simulates what it’s like to be powerful enough to handle anything thrown your way. The superheroics are so easy they’d be dull if not for the sheer joy of speeding through the air or dashing through the streets.

The game opens with the city under siege. A villain and his army of minions have invaded, and only one man stands between innocent civilians and certain doom. He’s a man with super speed, closing on hordes of enemy foot soldiers in no time flat. He’s a man with super strength, taking out armed and armoured soldiers with a single punch. He’s a man who can fly at supersonic speeds, chasing the supervillain across the skies, pummelling him into submission before the city falls. He is a man so mighty that the entirety of the sequence I just described is essentially the game’s tutorial.

He’s also a man who bears an uncanny resemblance to Kotaku’s Chris Person.

Once the main villain falls, the hero is free to explore the city. There are flying challenges, in which he must fly through a series of rings before the time runs out. Destruction challenges litter the city with villainous contraptions that must be punched out of existence within a set time. Enemy hordes sometimes spawn, as do civilians trapped under rubble or beset by flames.

Being a free Steam demo, there’s not a whole lot to Undefeated, but what is here is extremely impressive, especially considering it was created by three Japanese game dev school students. The running and flying is exhilarating. The combat, while simplistic, feels powerful. Busywork, even superhero busywork, is seldom this satisfying.


    • As the author points out, a lot of the time the fun in games is managing the threat you face. Counter-strike/Doom/Quake/Fortnight wouldn’t be fun if you were unkillable. At least not for long. So the problem with a Superman as a character in gaming is for something to be a threat to him the game has to be pretty crazy, like a battle against Darkseid/Doomsday or some sort of strategic game against Luthor/Braniac. For a long time either option would have been really hard to pull off.

      I really like the idea of a game where you’re unstoppable and you’re really competing against yourself. How do you save the most people, or prioritise saving people from competing threats. Or saving people -v- capturing the villain. This game sounds like it could be really interesting if they can make it work.

      • I completely agree.
        I have no problem with being completely impervious to damage, as long as the priorities of the game shift.
        I want to feel like Superman in a “world of cardboard”, to worry not for myself, but for the citizens of the city.
        I want pressure to come from the fact that even Superman isn’t perfect and can’t be in 2 places at once, even with ludicrous super-speed.
        Let me destroy everything in my path, but give me repercussions for being reckless and using excessive force in inhabited areas.

        Mostly though, I just wanna be able to fly around at supersonic speed (with the sonic boom of course) and punch dudes through buildings with dynamic destruction.
        With a good physics engine, just screwing around with all of Supes’ powers would be so much fun.

  • So it’s Saints Row 4 but without guns and you have to give a damn about people? On the whole it sounds kind of boring though, basically playing a game with God Mode cheats on. What I’d really like to see is a game like this but with a focus on the hero psyche and the stress it can put on you to maintain a dual life.

    Do you struggle to keep a secret identity or live in the open knowing that you put everyone close to you in danger? Do you try to save everyone at your own mental anguish or save who you can at the risk of being hated for not saving someone? Do you fight with reckless abandon and not care what it costs the city or do you be careful and restrict yourself knowing it might give the villains more chances to escape? Do you die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain?

    • That sounds like an interesting concept, it would be fun to play a game that dealt with some more complex aspects and realities of the genres.

      Overpowered doesn’t mean much if the focus on consequences is shifted.
      Deflecting bullets is great until they start hitting other people and property, super strength is fun if you can make sure you don’t over do it, super speed/flight is a great way to get around until you plow in to civilians, vehicles or buildings.

  • IMO a half-decent superman game just has to be this with a Dead Rising-style realtime element where as time goes by stuff keeps happening and you have to prioritize which disaster you are going to tackle first.
    A great superman game will force you to choose (without throwing a moral “A or B” prompt at you, but rather just have two things happen simultaneously and you can’t tackle both) and also throw up the consequences of your action or inaction later in the game.

    For example, you could either stop a kid getting hit by a car, or stop a burglary by the main villain. If you save the kid the villain gets something that makes later missions much more difficult. If you stop the robbery, the kid’s parents pop up later in the story to make you feel guilty and/or make different missions more difficult.

    • I like this idea too. I think you could take an approach like Fable where your characters actions define how the world sees them. Take your idea further, if you continually let people die public opinion drops and you go from being viewed as a hero to being viewed as a vigilante. Accidentally (or deliberately) kill people during a fight and your rating drops to the point where you’re actually considered a villain and you have the police and other superheroes after you.

      • Actually, yeah. When I was initially writing the comment instead of a villain burglary my mind was trying to come up with something around stopping a riot, or some other thing where crowds are involved, and failing to stop it would result in a lower public opinion, but I couldn’t quite work it out.
        Your idea is excellent though. Especially if you set it in Superman’s early days of superhero-ing, and if you’re not “good” enough you and end up in mistrusted-alien-god-needs-to-be-kept-in-check-territory a la the Batman vs Superman movie.
        Or you could choose to go on a rampage and end up in almost Brightburn territory and the whole focus of the story shifts from defeating Lex Luthor, et al. to defeating the Justice League, which is beginning to form itself around the threat you pose.

        Holy crap I want to play this game now.

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