Tag Archives: 2d shooter

Let Them Come review

There’s a scene in Aliens where the marines setup automatic turrets to shoot the approaching horde of aliens. In Let Them Come you essentially recreate that scene but as a gunner controlling a turret. It’s intense, a little scare despite the pixel art aesthetic, fun and challenging. It’s so very similar to that scene from Aliens, yet to my knowledge, this is the first time it’s been translated to a tower defence game, and it works marvellously.

It’s so very simple. A text introduction paints the picture of a lone soldier needing to setup his turret at different locations to figure out the story behind this alien infestation. It’s then a matter of you earning credits by shooting the aliens, buying upgrades for your character and the turret, then conquering multiple waves of aliens, defeating a boss, and moving on to the next location.

Pixel art conveys the action and gore. The narrow corridors with subtle animations in the background, foreground and the sides bringing each scene to life. Silky smooth animations for your character’s movement as well as that of the many different alien species. It looks fantastic. In fact this art style is miraculous, and not just here but practically everywhere I see it. How these pixel artists capture a person, an alien, a location so beautifully and in such detail while shaping it in pixels is miraculous. Here it also works to add a level of nostalgia to the title, to manage your expectations for a simple game of tower defence. Indeed, it wouldn’t have been out of place as an official Aliens game from 1986, if it wasn’t for the exceptionally smooth frame rate, crisp well-defined pixels and copious amounts of alien hostiles and bullets filling the corridor that only modern system can truly handle at this level of quality.

There’s more to it than simply letting loose with your turret against the waves of aliens, though, and soon you’re contemplating precisely what you need to purchase between waves to best fight the horde; what the best tools are for this violent but necessary job of survival. You can only hold limited ammo types and equipment, and choosing the right combination becomes more and more critical as the waves progress.

Four slots can be filled with passive upgrades, these being buffs to health, or armour against projectiles, cooling vents for the turret, and several more which affect your character’s ability to fight off the waves. Meanwhile, two slots are available for personal equipment, these consisting of melee weapons, grenades and other useful offensive of defensive items. Moreover, there’s a wide selection of different types of grenades that perform better against different species or quantities of aliens. Finally, there’s the two slots for ammo type for the turret, these being the standard ammo, of which you have an infinite amount, and the special ammo types, that run the gamut much like the grenades do. Bullets for the special ammo types need to be bought and used wisely to deal with waves. Indeed, there are many factors to consider when it comes to purchasing these weapons and equipment that will affect your survival rate.

As you defeat waves and progress, more is revealed. Boss creatures test your ability to adapt at the end of each location, providing a stiff challenge that requires you to equip yourself smartly. Meanwhile, power-ups are earned that can provide some much needed boosts to ammo, health, score, or even enhances you and your firepower temporarily. Fortunately, defeat isn’t the end, you are free to restart the wave having kept any credits earned so to spend them more wisely and maybe prevail next time. Additionally, much of the purchasable equipment can be upgraded once you’ve moved to a new location, always giving you something to spend your hard earned credits on, and soon proving crucial to keeping you alive as larger waves attack and new alien species throw something unexpected at you. Let Them Comes certainly keeps you on your toes.

Despite the challenge, however, it doesn’t take long to reach the end, and for some the frustration of overcoming the challenge is going to be too much. Afterwards you can play through again at different difficulty levels, as well as compete for high scores, but your mileage will vary depending on your patients and love of the genre and art style. Although, the time you do spend with this exhilarating and delightful tower defence title is certainly well wasted.

Thanks to Xbox and Versus Evil for supporting TiX

Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax review

As you get older in life certain experiences thrust you into a state of nostalgia, more so when your hobby is videogames. Some of the best games in history follow a formula, and I challenge anyone’s top five not to include a side scrolling 2D shooter. Finland’s Vasara Entertainment have released Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax and this follows this formula, and follows it well.

Stardust Galaxy Warriors is a fast paced 1-4 player co-op game that tests your reactions and patience. The game has a loose RPG element to it and takes it’s aesthetic inspiration from Japanese anime. There are few different modes but the campaign mode and gauntlet mode are enough to keep you busy. I mainly played the campaign mode, which is 30 stages set across ten different environments that throw a variety of enemy types and massive bosses at you.

vasara_stardustgalaxywarriors_screenshot

You can choose between four characters that are essentially the same but with a different signature power weapon. Once you’re happy with your character and their weapon’s load-out you are then expected to plough through waves and waves of enemies to reach the boss at the end. Your arsenal ranges from small rapid fire weapons to larger, slower but more devastating cannons. Each player’s signature is basically a panic button for when things get too much. Once you activate it you then get a few seconds to compose yourself and dig in to the rest of the stage.

There is a vague story-line playing in the background but it’s easy to become completely detached from it when your main aim is pure survival. Like any of these types of games, your score is important. Once you have finished the level you can then upgrade certain aspects of your character using currency based on your score. Your upgrades include armour, speed and damage.

sgwsc_coopreview_screen2

Everything in your arsenal is available from the start meaning there is no grinding to get the better weapons, however, to really upgrade your character you will need to unlock the perks for a better survival chance when things get hectic. The core gameplay can also be customised by increasing enemy amount, rate of fire and power-ups, which is a nice touch if you’re not satisfied with the already seizure inducing moments on offer by default.

Stardust Galaxy Warriors is fast paced and with more than one player on screen be ready to get lost and confused should your concentration lapse for a second. Every enemy fires multiple projectiles at you in a constant stream, meanwhile, you’ll be following suit with your own hail of fire, leading the screen to become very messy indeed. Once you reach the boos they follow a set sequence of attacks, which are easy enough to learn but sometimes they throw in a random attack that can throw you off your guard.

ss_0cf310208ae68fd677c17e68a50ccf99b03fbf7e-1920x1080

My only real gripe would be the power-ups, games such as R-Type gave you power-ups that you can keep until your demise, however, these are timed and you only have them for a short period. You can unlock a perk that allows you to keep the power-ups longer but they are ultimately still temporary. Stardust Galaxy Warriors is a beautiful looking game with a fast paced techno inspired soundtrack, with all the on screen chaos thrown in you know this isn’t going to be a relaxing affair. I was completely hooked, and like I said at the beginning, this brings back so many memories of tirelessly ploughing through enemies to defeat a super difficult boss at the end, repeating the phrase “Just one more go” after every death. Stardust Galaxy Warriors is available on the Xbox store now and definitely worth a go.

Thanks to Xbox and Dreamloop Games for supporting TiX