Digital Diversity: All Walls Must Fall

 

Location: Berlin
Date: November 2089 - The Cold War

Technology allowing the manipulation of time has resulted in the Cold War never ending; with each move to bring it to some kind of conclusion endlessly countered and preventing a break in the stalemate. The people have lived for decades in the knowledge that the war could suddenly heat up, ending them all.

A nuclear strike by a rogue group threatens the fragile truce.  Both sides send special agents back in time to prevent a fiery apocalypse by any means possible.

Welcome, Agent. I hope you’re ready for this.

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Exploration is essential. Every new room gives you the Time you need to complete your mission.

An isometric tactical game of a different breed, All Walls Must Fall by InBetweenGames uses the beat of the music as its primary resource for exploration, actions, combat and tactics. Through the reconnoitering of Berlin’s gay nightclubs you, a bearish agent with a cybernetic arm and stompy boots, gains Time, which become your in-game currency for picking locks, hacking terminals, and all kinds of in-game actions. Waste all your Time and you’ll fail the mission, flinging yourself back to the beginning to try again, or even dying and having to start your campaign from the beginning.

Missions take the form of breaking into procedurally generated buildings, tracking down a target, taking them out or interrogating them, and getting out with your skin intact. How you handle this is up to you .

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Start a fight or flirt your way into restricted areas? Your choice

While a strictly violent approach is possible, All Walls Must Fall has an intriguing persuasion system; where it is possible to intimidate, bluff, or even flirt your way out of trouble. The most silver tongued of agents will find their runs go smoothly, and without risk to themselves or their mission. However come on to, or try to scare, the wrong person and you could land yourself in a precarious position.

How you handle the mission will also provide bonus income for upgrading your tools, your weapons, and your access to more Time. Going for the bigger gun may seem like a good idea, but maybe you’ll want to spend those credits on better tools of persuasion to get the edge on your next interrogation, or better ways to open doors.

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Kicking down the door seems like fun, but hacking them stops you getting shot.

A successful run is as much about being prudent with your use of resources as it is trying to get the mission done quickly. Break down the door and the guards will go straight on the defensive. Pick the lock, using up some of your precious Time, and you might trick or sneak your way through, but run out of beats at the wrong moment.

Either way, there are going to be times when combat is unavoidable, and that’s when you’ll need to break out an entirely different set of skills, that of combat, to make it out alive.

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A lot of desc ornaments died that day.

Combat in All Walls Must Fall is simple in design but difficult to master. Like with everything else every action is determined by your use of the beat. Take a shot? That’s a beat. Dodge a shot? Another beat. Mess up and about to get yourself killed? Rewind time and try again. But remember: once you’re out of time you’re out of luck.

Succeed in combat and you’ll be rewarded with more Time based on kills, dodges, hits and the amount of environment you destroyed in the process. That time might be what you need to escape.

Part funny, many parts smutty, and with a flawless narrative that shows great attention to story and character the game plays out as much a cold war espionage movie as it does a thumping action. Not afraid to proudly display sexuality and moral ambiguity it stands proudly as a game telling its own story, instead of piggy-backing off existing genre ideals.

All Walls Must Fall is an incredible game for those who love to play tactically. Combining a stark cyberpunk-noir setting, incredible writing that questions the very nature of freedom and morality, a kick-arse soundtrack that is seamlessly interwoven with the game mechanics, and an infinitely replayable structure that lets the player experiment with cause and effect.

 

All Walls Must Fall is available on Steam for Windows, Mac & Linux


Isaac from InBetweenGames  Answered some questions about All Walls Must Fall

Jamie: When you sat down and began making All Walls Must Fall what were your goals? Did you make it out of a desire to tell a specific story, or was it just an idea you had at the time that you really wanted to develop?

Isaac: Our number one goal was really just to ship a game that we felt passionate about making and having other people play. We’d just been fired from a company had just lost a big project and was going insolvent, and we just thought that the best way to ensure that we could actually finish what we were making was to take control and do it ourselves. After we took that jump, we started working out what kind of game we wanted to make, and the first thing we settled on was to make something set in Berlin, a city we all love and felt was a bit underutilised in gaming. As we had a shared love of cyberpunk and what you might call the Syndicate aesthetic, things quickly went in that direction.

Jamie: What have been the biggest struggles you’ve had to overcome making the game? Are there things you wish you’d known going in that would have made it easier?

Isaac: We knew that running out own company was going to be the biggest new challenge, as it was something none of us had done before. Even a small team with a fairly small budget was quite a lot of work. Although I knew that this would use up additional time, it’s not until you’ve got stuck into German tax law that you really appreciate how complex it can be, and how stressful. But that said, we didn’t really have any major problems during development – were were lucky to secure funding from a few sources, and we were able to just put our heads down and get on with it for the most part.

Jamie: What are issues or elements you think need to be represented more in games that would help the Queer (LGBTQ+) community?

Isaac: The approach we took with the game’s queer elements was to have them be a core part of the game, but not have the marketing around the game necessarily put them front and center. We worried a bit about being written off as a “gay game”, and we didn’t think that was really all that relevant. Games that only feature straight protagonists don’t write that fact down on the list of bullet points, so why should we mention that we don’t? I feel like the best way to improve queer representation in games is simply to have more queer characters in games. These games shouldn’t be put in a different category, just because they’re more diverse.

Jamie: Have you got a future project that you’re enthusiastic about?

Isaac: Yes! But it’s actually with a different studio, and it’s not announced yet, so more on that soon(tm)…

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