Monday, January 10, 2011
By: Matthew Doucette
Here is the review in full:
SPECIAL BONUS GAME
Since the final two entries in the Winter Uprising are dragging their feet a bit, it seems, and since Xona contacted us about another of their games, we figured we would fill out this round of reviews by taking a look at their 4 player Shmup, Score rush. The graphics and gameplay are all very similar to Geometry wars. Enemies, bullets, and players are all neon points of light cluttering the screen in a seizure inducing frenzy. Geometry Wars, though, prefers to bury you in enemies. In Score Rush, your main concern is ordinance. This is a true “bullet hell” Sh’mup. Though your ship seems large, only a 4×4 pixel square at its center is actually vulnerable, and believe me when I say that that will seem way too big once you’ve been playing for a while. You control your ship with one stick and your firing direction with the other, with your right trigger used to detonate bombs. Though these bombs wipe out enemies, their far more useful effect is the fact that they clear away all of the bullets.
Initially you are very weak, but easily identifiable enemies quickly start providing you with powerups to give you a massive boost in firepower and a train of “options” that follow you around heaving additional bullets into the fray. Once you’ve been powered up to the max, additional pickups are good for more than just points. They send out a shockwave that eats up some of the bullets around you. You will be faced with sequence of bosses that become progressively harder as they descend through the alphabet, which means that you CAN beat this game. Doing so will unlock the harder difficulty levels.
The game supports four player co-op, and gameplay has been adjusted to help the team do the best it can. For instance, powerups are color coded for the weakest player, helping to maintain a balance without having to keep a running tally in your head. As the name suggests, your goal is more about topping the scoreboard than beating the game, so that’s where the replay potential lies. I have to say that I really enjoyed the game. What at first seems like a game that quickly becomes impossible slowly reveals to you how a little nuance goes a long way. Successfully maneuvering a tiny dot through a maze of bullets is rewarding, and death is not as much of as setback as it could have been thanks to most of your powerups scattering back onto the board when you explode, letting you collect them again. It gives you a legitimate chance to survive the onslaught, rather than leaving you with a peashooter in a fight that managed to kill you when you had a minigun. It all comes together into a solid, simple, polished game. Really frantic, really fun.
8.7 / 10: A four player, bullet hell Sh’mup that will keep you coming back.
That is all.
About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $190,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.