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The Hong Kong Massacre

A highly detailed fast-paced top-down indie shooter

by
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:20 GMT
Preview: The Hong Kong Massacre
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:20 GMT

The Hong Kong Massacre is an upcoming top-down shooter game currently in development at Vreski. The indie game is expected to release early next year.


The Hong Kong Massacre is Vreski's first project, slated for an early 2019 release. The two-person indie game development studio is located in Malmö, Sweden.

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The game's development started roughly four years ago. Videos of early prototypes available on YouTube (here and here) show the rudimentary gameplay mechanics that are perfected in the latest build.

The prototype caught the attention of some, encouraging the two-person team to continue working on it. The prototype became the base on which the studio's first game is being built.

In the game players set out to hunt down a triad leader in Hong Kong by making connections within his inner circle to find clues about his whereabouts.

Players work their way through several chapters of a hard-boiled revenge story, filled with brutal, cinematic shootouts. As they discover new clues new locations will be unlocked. The game will also contain several stealth levels.

The main mechanic in the game allows players to slow down time at any time similarly to Max Payne games. This mechanic helps players dodge bullets or set up the perfect shot.

The preview version we played featured several chapters to play through and these showcased the game's beautiful and detailed environments in 3D top-down view.

The game is perhaps best described as a top-down version of Max Payne 3, despite it being inspired by classic action movies. The environments, mechanics and cinematics are all neatly tweaked to deliver the same vibe, but in a more simplistic, arcade fashion.

The Hong Kong Massacre is not the type of game you would want to rush through, however. The chapters we played are balanced and not extremely long, which makes it perfect to just pick up and play for half an hour a day.

As players progress through the game they will unlock various new weapons to choose from per level, each with their own statistics, such as firing rate, reload speed and more. These statistics enhance the experience and make working towards weapon unlocks interesting.
The biggest selling point is, of course, the bullet time effect that slows down time. The mechanic is linked to a cooldown bar that prevents players from using it constantly, so timing is key to clearing levels.

The effect is especially awe-inspiring in rooms with many enemies to kill. Once bullets start flying and props explode, the many particle effects light up the environment for a lasting impression.

The current version of the game isn't without its flaws, however. While the bullet time effect is nice to have, playing without it is pretty much impossible. Too many bullets fly around you at too high speeds to be able to keep track and dodge them. This saddens me because I would have loved to be able to experience these detailed gunfights in real time without dying constantly.

In addition, the game can also be frustrating at times because of the many particles that are flying around. While these are beautiful to look at, actual bullets are more difficult to track in the heat of the moment. A last second "oh #$!%" button to dodge these bullets or even reverse time might mitigate this issue somewhat.

The preview build didn't shed much light on the game's actual story, although a boss fight was included. The build itself seemed to focus more on gunfights than story, so it remains to be seen if the story will be more significant in the final retail version.

Despite these issues, the detailed shootout experience sets the game apart from other indie shooter games releasing this coming year, so the game is well worth keeping an eye on.

If it is able to provide an interesting story to compliment the entertaining gunfights in between, the game could become one of the better indie games out there.

The Hong Kong Massacre will release for PC and PlayStation 4.
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About the author

Raymond Bakker
Journalist and Software Developer at Moonlight Multimedia. He covers the latest video games news from indie to virtual reality and has been actively involved in the video games industry since the early 2000s.
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