Developer: Transhuman Design
Publisher: Crunching Koalas
Release Date: 28th September
Price as of Article: $9.99 £8.99
You start off on a space station and are sent down to a planet, you are going there to exterminate all signs of life. Thats all you know, are you The Butcher? You could be as you head down to your Predator style missions each time with the goal of killing in mind, you are a bloody thirsty cyborg and it’s hard to sympathise or warm with this type of character when you’re a killer out out to destroy everyone! Like The Terminator you cannot and will not falter.
I was surprised by the audio in this game. Each area has a really great dark themed backing track which feels fast paced just like the game itself. The shotgun sounds fantastic as does the charge of the railgun and when you do shoot it, it makes a morbidly satisfying noise. The sound of enemy weapons firing at you are also great and you are in no doubt that there is some heavy artillery being used against you. When blood is splatting and guts are blown all over the place you can hear blood drips, its pretty grim but so satisfying blowing your enemies apart! The developer has done an excellent job getting the feeling right and the sounds evokes a visceral experience.
Visually the game is drawn in a pixelated style and your character is quite small, because of this when in handheld mode the character is a little harder to see, when the game gets crazy with loads of enemies on screen then you will want that extra real estate in order to maximise your annihilation of everything you come across in this post-apocalyptic world.
The game is super violent and it depicts this superbly well with the red stuff on show all over the place. I don’t even want to know why the hooks are spread throughout the levels but you will see some nasty stuff when blowing some enemies away near these hooks. The look of the levels is actually done really well and there is clear definition between worlds. I enjoyed the Volcano world and The Last City was a special highlight, there are neon signs broken up showing that this place has been through war.
I did encounter slow down and multiple crashes with this game at the time of review. I have been told by the developer that it is to do with the unity engine and that this is being fixed so expect an update soon, hopefully this will fix these issues. With a fast paced game like this the slow down was noticeable, at least when the game crashed it did save any of your progress.
The closest thing to compare this to is a 2D version of Doom. The game is a simple shooter using twin stick controls with the left stick controlling movement and the right controlling your aim, you can shot anywhere in a 360 direction which is fantastic. You can jump and moving between platforms is smooth, it feels great and you can drop down by holding down on the left analogue stick. In practice this is superb as you need to move around quickly to avoid enemy fire.
When you begin the game it defaults to hard mode and all of the trailers seen for this indeed say that the only way to play this is in hard mode. That’s all well and good but when you step into the first level of which their are 20 spread over 5 worlds and get your brains blown out, your thinking hang about what just happened!? This is the epitome of rewarding but oh so frustrating.
It will take you an age to get to level 2, when you do you will be happy if you made it without your Switch being thrown across the room (I played best in docked mode, this is part of the reason!).
The developer pokes fun at those who choose to play the game in casual mode by increasing your health 4x and turning the secret skulls you can collect into bananas instead. There are loads more health power ups and ammo aswell where as in hard mode ammo is limited.
I will admit to playing casual mode in order to get some footage for this game and to experience the whole game. I have played my fair share of hard games and this one is certainly up there in terms of difficulty. Whilst hard is extremely difficult, casual is too easy and I completed the game in about 2 hours. It feels like an intended joke by the developer – throwing the casual mode in to tempt you, if you take the bait and complete it this way you can’t help but feel like you have cheated. On the flip side hard mode is in my opinion a bit too hard, in order to succeed you will need to memorise each level and where every enemy is placed to have a chance of beating it. If you die you start the whole level again and it’s crushing, when you get near the end of a level you move into a “exterminate everything in the area” part before being able to move forward and dying at this point stings particularly bad.
A normal mode in between Casual and Hard would have been perfect. As it is the difficulty curve is not quite right. That does not mean that you will not enjoy it, in casual mode I had a blast and once completed, I knew a bit more about the game and level design, after that trying hard mode again was more enjoyable. Along the way you need to keep your health and ammo topped up in order to succeed. You get a great choice of weapons and you will add more to your arsenal as you move through each world. The shotgun and grenade launcher are personal favourites but all the weapons are fun. Even more fun is using them on the imaginative array of enemies from jet fuelled flying guys who blow up when you hit them to rocket launching enemies, if you really want to you can get your chain saw out for some hand to hand combat with grim consequences!
At the end of it all you will need to defeat the boss which was fun if a little predictable. I got a pretty terrible ending but there is a better one if you defeat the game on hard mode, perhaps if you beat hard mode and go up to Hardcore there is another as well.
Each of the levels is timed giving you an incentive to play over and beat your score, sadly the developer missed an opportunity here to implement a leaderboard – as it is you can only compare your scores to yourself on your local device.
This would have been cool if you could play with another person and such is the challenge that I think it would have worked well. The controls in both docked mode and handheld are thankfully really nice and tight. It’s all pretty intuitive and you have alternative preferences you have the option to change some of the buttons around which is a nice touch.
The game is currently £8.99 GBP or $9.99 USD and for me the game is priced well and is on the positive scale against other similar Indie Games. The question I always ask myself when making these reviews is would I buy it with my own cash if it had not been provided to me for review. The answer here is it would have been a day one purchase for me because I like these type of games and grew up playing them, throw in the violence and gore and I was sold the moment I saw the trailer. It offers a great challenge and is superb fun. The levels are only 2 minutes each so it’s really nice and easy to just pick up and play. Multiplayer and an Online Leaderboard would have been welcome additions adding that extra replayability.