A single player twin-stick shooter, Sturmfront: The Mutant War – Ubel Edition features high action and steep difficulty. It isn’t the best twin-sticker out there as there are a few bright spots but the broken pacing issues easily frustrates.
With the cover obviously knocking off classic Doom, you play as a purposely stereotypical blond Rambo type trying to save the world from a mutant apocalypse. At times, the screen can fill with enemies and bullets but never drops in frame rate. The action is built around the two default weapons. The basic machinegun does its job cutting through the majority of enemies but anything that is flesh-based needs to the burned by the flamethrower (the other trigger button). This includes the always annoying generators. Like any Gauntlet game, you need to take these out as quickly as possible or run the risk of getting easily overwhelmed. The flamethrower needs gas though, so the limited ammo supply prevents the player from spamming the attack.
The problem with Sturmfront is the insane balancing issues. Starting from level one, the enemies grow as the player collects machinegun upgrades, eventually becoming a powerful spread gun from Contra. Unfortunately, a single death is enough to make the game nearly impossible to advance since the player’s weaponry reverts to the peashooter. From my stream below, you can see how I was unable to pass the beginning section of the 2nd stage simply because I was so underpowered.
Even with the high amount of action, it couldn’t help but feel this game should have been designed with some type of dodge, roll, sprint, or shield action. Something like this could have helped to alleviate the wild difficulty swings upon death. There isn’t even a screen clearing bomb option: just machinegun and flamethrower. At least the bosses are big and ridiculous but you won’t care about the story or the text boxes that are filled with an insane amount of text for an action game. The comic book art panels before each stage are always impressive though.
If the difficulty and pacing issues were designed with a little more care, Sturmfront could have easily been a $10 impulse buy type of game. Due to the steep difficulty, it is only recommended for players that enjoy playing at a high level, never stopping until perfection is achieved.
Also available on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.