Developer: Pixel Perfex

Publisher: Headup Games

 

Price as of Article: $14,99 USD, £13,49

 

Story

In Earth Atlantis the Earths surface has been covered by 96%  water due to the great climate shift at the end of the 21st century. The main capital cities have all but gone and now lay in ruin deep in the seas where all that’s left is steel and stone. Machines now roam as they have adopted the form of terrifying sea creatures. Human civilisation has fallen. All you know is that you are a hunter and this is where your journey begins.

 

 

 

 

Audio

The audio here is ok but nothing really special, that you are going to think wow, I will remember that. It’s all pleasant enough but I feel they could have done a little more with the sound effects. Especially with the enemies. Considering that these mechanical beasts are free roaming the seas, I wanted to hear some fierce mechanical scary sounds. I just imagine being up against one of these huge bosses having some really special mechanical movement sounds or propelling sound effects when moving through the water. I was disappointed in the audio. The backing music was ok and inoffensive.  

 

Visuals

Visually for me is where the game is really interesting and for me shines as it differentiates itself from other games out there. I like this kind of art style, these look like sketches based on steel structures and I love how you can see in the background, the statue of liberty for example showing that these are cities in ruin but some important landmarks still showing. Even though the visuals lack any colour the visuals do a good job of showing you are under water.

The game looks great in both docked mode and in handheld mode and what really comes to the fore is the detail in the creatures. I think its stunningly well drawn. From the Boss turtle to the whale or just the sea crabs on the rock face. I really liked the vast array of sea life in this game which was out to kill you and discovering more with each new section you open up.

The drawback of having this style with the background level design is it can appear to be very samey all the way through with not a lot of variation.

 

Gameplay

The game is a side scrolling retro shooter with a Metroidvania type map in where there are no levels just areas to open up for you to explore.  its super simple to play and the controls feel tight and very intuitive. In fact, there is only the analogue stick to move your sub left and right and then you hold a button to fire your weapons. That’s basically all there is to it. The challenge is avoiding the enemies and the enemy fire.

You get to choose one of 4 submarines however 3 of these are locked at the beginning and then you start exploring the seas where you will be confronted by lots of differing types of enemies from sharks to sword fish which all look robotic.

The aim of the game is simple, build up your submarine by killing the small fry so that you can get your sub to a decent standard in terms of weapon fire. You want to aim for 5 bullets firing from the front and 4 from the back. The secondary weapon will be needed to defat the bosses and range from H for homing missiles to E for electricity type based weapons. The secondary weapon is also stackable but cannot be mixed.

The secondary weapons are found in crates and the map highlights where they are. It won’t tell you what type of weapon you will find in each create. So if you equip a homing missile and the next create drops a lightening based weapon you will either have to leave it or swap, you cannot have both and swap in an inventory which is a shame for me.

Then there is the Monster hunting aspect of the game which is what your aim is. The map highlights where each of the bosses are and it’s your job to find them and take them down. I found this part of the game to be extremely fun. There is a casual, normal and hard mode to choose from and I found it a high challenge on normal. You will encounter sea turtles, whales and all sorts of cool looking sea creature bosses with 25 to find which is awesome. Each battle is different with each boss having different weapons which they will use against you and I was surprised just how varied they are. From bouncing boulders to lightening bolts being fired at you. The worst for me though are the one hit kills on some bosses with vastly over powered weapons.

The game saves your progress but hears the rub. Each time you die, you will lose all weapons that you started with and you will have to grind them all again to get powerful enough to take on a boss. No good going straight back with the lame pea shooter you start with.

After a few times it’s fine but after the tenth time this starts to become a major frustration and it killed all initial enthusiasm I had for the game. There is hardly any check points either so it feels like your starting from the beginning each time. Now if this was a rougelike with procedurally generated levels where it felt different each time, and each death had meaning in that you could upgrade your sub I would be fine with it. This though just feels ultra-punishing for the sake of it to the point that it drains the enjoyment. A few bad decisions from the developer in my opinion.  When you complete the game you will unlock Hunter mode and also a few more subs to play with which is welcome but I am honestly not sure how many players will have the dedication to go all the way to complete it. The game gets very repetitive very quickly.

value

The game is super simple to pick up and play, however there is no online mode or a leaderboard so replayability is fairly limited once the game is complete. There is no opportunity to play with a friend either. I think with all the games out on the e-shop this is on the slightly expensive side at £13,49 OR $15.