Witch Beam was kind enough to provide We Got This Covered with a preview copy of their upcoming twin-stick shooter, Assault Android Cactus, a Unity based game that is currently on Steam Greenlight.
Initially I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from Assault Android Cactus, as both the Unity Engine and arena shooters have been done to death, but as I got into the game I became quite impressed. First off, it looks great. The visuals are quite colorful with different types of enemies, structured levels, character design, and weapon loadouts. The nice thing about the Unity Engine choice for this specific game is it should run on literally everything. I was able to play it on highest settings, albeit low screen resolution, on my Acer One Netbook, something that has a hard time opening multiple Internet Explorer tabs.
What makes this game special, though, is the sense of melding between nostalgic and current gameplay I felt while blowing my enemies to bits. I was brought back to the days of Smash TV without having to look at the horrid graphics or use the awkward controls. Witch Beam found the perfect medium between what was fun to play in the past and what works in games today.
The controls are smooth and responsive, whether using a controller or mouse and keyboard, and the number and difficulty of enemies both scale as the game progresses into an almost bullet-hell style scenario. Currently there are scheduled to be 20 normal stages that take place across various parts of the ship, and 5 boss battles placed intermittently throughout. Our preview copy contained a total of 7 finished levels, one of which was a boss level, and while I arrogantly blasted my way through the first couple with ease, I soon became overwhelmed at times and watched my rank drop from “S” all the way down to “C”.
Not only can the types of enemies drastically change during the course of a single battle, but the stages also alter themselves. During certain levels the walls can become floors and the floors can become holes that will seemingly swallow the player whole. Although that isn’t technically possible, it’s quite an impressive touch of innovation, adding a new feeling that even the arena itself is out to get you.
Because of its nature, that of a semi-hardcore, arcade style twin-stick shooter, Assault Android Cactus doesn’t have any sort of progressions system, at least not yet, or unlocks. The main focus is on learning to adapt to an aggressive AI while obtaining the highest score possible. While this sounds like it could potentially bore some players fairly quickly, there are 5 distinct androids – one of whom happens to be named Cactus – to play as and each has 2 unique weapons to separate themselves with.
Another important factor in replay value is going to be the multiplayer, where it appears that up to 4 players can take on an arena together. This wasn’t an option in the preview, but it looked like a good deal of fun in trailers. There are also going to be Endless Battle, essentially score-attack, and Boss Rush modes.
Assault Android Cactus does a great job at revitalizing a classic genre and is a hell of a lot of fun. With its tight controls, ease of access, nice artistic style, and aggressive gameplay, I could definitely imagine having tons of fun playing it with a couple of friends over some nice cold beverages.