The Ables: Freepoint high is an action side scroller platformer releasing on Steam in an Early Access state from Steam’s Greenlight in December 2015.
You play as a teenage boy or girl, who is starting in a new school. You have just been told you have super powers. Not just one super power, but your power is the ability to absorb other super powers from other super heroes. Luckily you happen to go to school with plenty of other superheroes allowing you to coincidentally make use of this otherwise pretty poor superpower. The platforming side of the game is tedious at best, with way too many jumping puzzles for my liking as well as some plain and simple luck based mechanics thrown in too such as having to jump to avoid oncoming cars (which seem to come out of nowhere) whilst also dealing with enemies at the same time. The combat side of the game is again, at best, tedious. You had better be prepared to get arthritis in your fingers because you will be pounding the shoot button harder than anything.
The game’s lack of any tutorial system makes learning controls something that has to be done on the fly. I tried to access the control menu but this bugs the game out and you just get the controls as a see through overlay on your screen with no way to exit out of it. Once you manage to figure out what all the buttons do on your controller, you will also notice a slight bit of input lag on whatever you press, this is especially annoying given the game has portions of platforming in, and timing your attacks with jumps is also a key element of the game.
The way in which you “unlock” new powers is by saving your friends from the enemies which have captured them. I thought this was a cool little way of allowing the player to choose which students to save first depending on which ability they would like access to, to start with. Enemies and bosses are very generic and offer no real challenge, a couple of shots with your weapon will often destroy them, whereas the bosses just act as a bigger bullet sponge whilst you dodge out of the way of projectiles being thrown/shot at you. Nothing really unique stands out from the combat side of the game sadly.
Visually, the game is very basic. It’s a side scrolling game, so there can only be so much graphical fidelity on show, but this just looks like a PS2 game at best. Janky animations from anything that moves, to bland uninteresting textures seen throughout the game. Lack of any voice acting is again very apparent as there is plenty of dialogue between characters whether it is in the game or via cut scenes after levels.
I wouldn’t think Ables is a hard game if it didn’t suffer from controller issues, but given there is input lag, this just adds to the difficulty unnecessarily which sadly results in plenty of silly deaths and unwarranted damage taking when you have quite clearly pressed the button to jump, but the game doesn’t play out your action for a millisecond too late.
I have been playing for just under an hour so far, and I have already managed to rescue over a third of the students, I can’t see this game lasting any more than another hour at most going off the current trend of pace. At the moment there isn’t any replay ability. What would make Ables a much better experience is to add in a co-op mode. At the start of the game, there is a choice between two characters, so it would just make sense to be able to play this with a friend on the couch. I believe that this addition would be a huge bonus to the game because anything is instantly better when playing with friends.
Apart from the controller issues, the only other gripe I have technically with Ables, is the lack of any resolution higher than 1080p. With 4K becoming more and more popular, this should be added into any recent released PC game. It’s not a major issue right now given that it isn’t standard, but it just shows correct foresight from the developer to include it. I played the game with an Xbox controller, but I wouldn’t recommend you even consider trying the game with a keyboard given the latency issues.
At this moment in time, I am not able to recommend Ables: Freepoint High, quite simply because it isn’t a finished product since it is still in Early Access. If the developers are able to tighten up the controller problems, add in a little more in depth combat system and maybe even a co-op mode, then I would love to revisit this game. Unfortunately for now though, I am not going to recommend Ables.