Who else but Housemarque could’ve perfectly melded arcade-inspired twin-stick shoot ‘em up gameplay with class-based multiplayer, RPG character progression, and an addictive loot system? The Helsinki-based developers are after all, in their own words, the torchbearers of the classic arcade game ethos. They’ve been riffing on Asteroids since the early 1990s with their Stardust series, paid homage to Defender with Resogun, the best title to play on the PlayStation 4 at launch, and even collaborated with Eugene Jarvis, the man behind Defender and a few more of the most iconic arcade games of all time, on 2017’s Nex Machina. Fast-paced, responsive, good feeling gameplay is at the core of their best works, some of which represent my favorite games of the last couple of console generations. And now, after a few dozen hours with it, I can add Alienation to that list.Continue reading Alienation [PlayStation 4] – Review
Tag Archives: dual stick shooter
Renegade Ops – Demo Impressions
Wow, I just played the demo for Renegade Ops and I think it is one hell of a game. I’ve written a lot recently about downloadable games and while I’ve enjoyed many of the games I’ve played, I didn’t purchase them immediately afterwards. Well I really dug the demo for Renegade Ops and I plan on purchasing it, a solid endorsement eh?
In the demo for Renegade Ops I witnessed the plot setup and played through one stage. A madman has dropped a bomb on a city and is threatening to destroy more cities soon. A council of politicians is meeting to discuss what to do and they’ve decided in favor of negotiation over retaliation. That didn’t sit well with a high ranking officer and he has decided to take on the madman himself, with the aid of other renegades.
The stage I played through was set in a tropical environment, in what could either be a South American or Asian country. I drove a vehicle around equipped with weapons and completed objectives as they were assigned. The game is played from a top-down perspective and I controlled my vehicle using both analog sticks; the left one to drive and the right one to shoot. The stage was very open and there was a lot to do. I had a secondary objective of rescuing hostages for the entire mission, but I was consistently being updated with timed primary objectives.
Renegade Ops looks to have a few hooks to keep players coming back such as leveling, upgradability, co-operative play for up to four including both split-screen and online play. The stage I played was a blast and it seems like the game will be very cool playing with a friend or two. The tropical environment looked gorgeous and I was surprised by the amount of destructibility. But I guess I shouldn’t be as it was developed by Avalanche Studios, the developer behind the Just Cause games. I’m really stoked about Renegade Ops after playing the demo and I plan on buying it, a ringing endorsement. Renegade Ops is published by Sega and it was released this past week as a downloadable game for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, with a PC release coming.
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon – Demo Impressions
Besides seeing commercials every now and then for the TV show, I have had no exposure to Comedy Central’s adult cartoon Ugly Americans. Not totally aware of the show or its success, I was surprised to see a downloadable game based off of it pop up on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network last week. Considering I’ve been watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network since its inception, I figured Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon would be right up my alley.
After a brief intro, I was given the choice to play as four characters. Once I picked one, a cutscene began that set up the plot and gave me a feel for the characters and the humor; it’s typical of similar shows, such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Ugly Americans is very much a cartoon, and it’s very much an adult one. In the aforementioned cutscene, one of the characters was hanging around a sex doll hoping to make his girlfriend jealous, while another character was joyous that he just received a gun that uses anything for ammunition, his suggestion: a lamp to shoot into someone’s head.
I figured the game would be a side-scrolling beat ‘em up, surely easy for the developer to churn out, and I was kind of right. The game’s stages do scroll to the right and I fought a bunch of enemies, but the combat is conducted via the analog sticks. The left analog stick moved my character while the right analog stick shot my weapon in the direction I pointed. There were a ton of enemies to kill as I wandered through the city streets, but I knew I would only be interested in the game if I had a co-op buddy.
Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon reminds me a lot of Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Zombie Ninja Pro-Am. The use of cel-shading between the games is very similar, as is the humor, and nearly the quality of the game, but Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon has more potential for fun. It seems like an okay game; I can’t imagine it taking too long to complete and leveling up characters could provide an incentive to replay stages. Without a co-op partner or a familiarity with the series however, it’s not recommendable. Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon was released last week for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. It was developed by Backbone Entertainment and published by Comedy Central Games/345 Games.
Deadliest Warrior: Legends and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet – Demo Impressions
Real quickly I wanted to talk about the demos for two games that I won’t do a full first impression of.
The first is Deadliest Warrior: Legends. It is a downloadable fighting game released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 based on the TV series of the same name. I chose from a roster of famous warriors spanning history, but there were only two in the demo. I could move my character around in full 3D space and attack with multiple weapons, but the movement and combat felt loose. My wins came very easy and I didn’t really like the feel of the game, but I be it’d be a hoot with a second person. Deadliest Warrior: Legendswas developed by Pipeworks Software and published by 345 Games.
The second game was just released today; it is Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet. Its demo gave me the impression there wouldn’t be any voice over, that the game’s narrative would be conveyed through animated cutscenes. A good choice considering the game’s art is striking. I controlled a space ship through a side-scrolling world, not really being sure of my objective. I ran across upgrades for my space ship and had to do a little backtracking once I found an upgrade that would allow me to progress farther, and yes, the game is apparently inspired by Metroid and Castlevania. I really liked the look of the game, and could imagine enjoying the gameplay as I ventured into unusual new areas. Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet was developed by Shadow Planet Productions aka Fuelcell Games and Gagne International and published by Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360.
Galaga Legions DX – Demo Impressions
Galaga Legions DX is a downloadable video game that was recently released for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It is a reimagining of the 2008 downloadable game Galaga Legions. The game is still about racking up a high score and competing for leaderboard positions, but the format is slightly different. Each stage is now more noticeably broken up as waves of enemies constantly appear. And control of the player’s ship and satellites is handled differently.
In Galaga LegionsI controlled my ship and the two satellites attached to it. However I could place these two satellites anywhere on the screen and they’d shoot whenever I’d press the fire button. When I was in a position I wanted one of the satellites to be in, I moved the right analog stick in a cardinal direction and the first satellite would stay put. I could also place my second satellite wherever and recall them at any point. This added strategy to the game as I was shown the flight patterns of my enemies a second or two before they appeared on the screen.
In Galaga Legions DX I wasn’t able to place my satellites wherever. Instead I was able to directly control the direction they fired by aiming the right analog stick, therefore playing like a dual stick shooter. The satellites were able to shoot in two different modes too. The first mode had them shooting in the direction I pointed while the second mode had them shooting in separate directions. I initially stuck with the first mode, but found it useful to switch between the two during some enemy waves.
Compared to Galaga Legions, Galaga Legions DX seemed very easy. Galaga Legions was a very tough game requiring heavy memorization and I still haven’t beaten it. But instead of making a brutal shoot ‘em up, the developers of Galaga Legions DX have shifted the focus to defeating waves as quickly as possible. I love the look of the game, all the neon is great, but the heads-up display blends a little too well and is a bit hard to read. I’m not all that interested in the game however because it is too similar to Galaga Legions, a game I played a lot. If shoot ‘em up’s are your thing, and competing for leaderboard positions sounds like fun, check out Galaga Legions DX.
Super Stardust HD Bundle – Review
At first Super Stardust HD seems like just another dual stick shooter, and it is, but it is also a very, very solid game that is as addicting as Geometry Wars. The game has multiple modes and I started off playing the arcade mode, which has you playing through the game’s five planets. At first only one is unlocked but the rest will come as you complete them. The planets are populated with asteroids and enemies will appear in waves. There are a few types of asteroids and these different varieties add a strength/weakness element to you weapons. As you destroy the asteroids, some will drop power ups that can upgrade your weapons, add shields, ships or just points. The longer you survive, the higher your multiplier.
Endless mode and survival mode are similar in that they have you competing until you’re out of lives; the only difference is that survival mode takes place on a planet with indestructible space probes. Bomber mode takes away your weapons and leaves you with only your bombs and time attack has you completing a single planet as fast as you can. There are also a few multiplayer modes, both competitive and cooperative, and these change the formula a great deal. They are limited to local only and while I definitely prefer couch co-op to online co-op, having the competitive mode be online would’ve been nice.
It took me a few hours to play through everything and if it wasn’t for trophies and having a friend’s score to shoot for on the leader boards, I would probably be done with it, not to say the game isn’t good. But I know that as soon as my high score is toppled I will enjoy coming back and trying to retake it. This review was written with both of the game’s DLC packs, without them the game loses nearly all modes, but you can get the game and both DLC packs for fifteen dollars.