Shoot-em-ups were one of my favorite things to play in the days of old when games where harder than the walls in your house. Just seeing loads of bullets on the screen and being able to barely dodge while dishing out punishment was one of the better ways to spend an afternoon. The sound and trailer of Project Root got me excited and I wanted to see if it could live up to games I have played from this genre.
Project Root is a single player game that does not disappoint on this front, I do like the spin on the classic shmup system as you can explore far and wide with the objective play that is constantly going on. The system of no checkpoints is back, this means you are going to have to treat this game as you did with older games that were equally hard. Easy mode does not show any kind of mercy as you’re constantly pelted with various speed bullets and lots of homing missiles that will not leave you alone until you’re a burning wreck or have shot them down. Story mode for this game was quite hard to follow as a fair bit of dialogue takes place while you are surrounded by ships, land vehicles and bullets. As the text is quite small and makes no noise when it is pops on to the screen it is hard to pay attention, I found myself going back in to the fray just to find out what was said.
Your ship initially handles sluggishly and is fairly unresponsive, your guns are weak and it will take a while to kill stronger enemies, the odds are heavily stacked against you. For me this presented a challenge I have not seen in years so I gladly accepted! I do enjoy a game that is not easy and takes a little bit of a grind to get good at it. Progression is heavily rested on your upgrades, these will make your ship stronger, faster and hit harder, weak enemies beware my wrath! However the XP system that is in place for your upgrades is pretty bad. You can not fully upgrade your ship because you can not get enough XP from any given level to allow you to do so. In this case picking your upgrades carefully is imperative.
I found Project Root to be graphically stunning for the genre. Textures were clean with a diverse array of backgrounds and level designs, although it wasn’t all perfect, with a few glitches here and there, ships clipping through objects and sometimes getting stuck in a wall where you can not shoot back.
Music in this game did not feel like it was suited to the task at hand, it lacked any kind of diversity with what seemed like two soundtracks remixed throughout. The soundtrack used on the trailer was not even in any of the levels. The sound effects were pretty mixed too, some good, some bad. Most environmental and explosions were well done but I found more solace in muting the game and using my own music to set the mood of carnage.
Although I enjoyed the old school difficulty and premise of this game, it needs a lot more work to get where the expectation of the game’s trailer landed itself. A soundtrack that is suited to the game is a must, upgrade paths that are actually fair and do not leave you falling short for picking the wrong items and the in game story needs to be executed better.
If these things were to be fixed with future patches I would certainly replay the game, for now, it’s a shmup full of potential that didn’t quite hit the ship on the head!
Thanks to Gaming PR for supplying TiX with a download code
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