Tag Archives: Bullet Hell

Haven Review: Drifting Lands

Now in my time I have played a lot of side scrolling games, starting from the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) all the way to the glorious Sega Genesis and despite my enjoyment of those titles they never felt complete to me, they never felt like they were what the genre could be and what Drifting Lands accomplishes.

Humble in their beginnings they created one of the first genre of game where you have a ship of some kind that you got to blast through hordes of enemies that generally spew in from the right side of the screen. All the while you are madly dodging lasers, bullets, bombs, and explosions and everything else that is trying to kill you from giant space worms to other alien ships.

Drifting lands takes from its predecessors in the basics where you got the ship, its bullet hell in dodging and fighting. But that is where the comparisons end, they have added level select, they have added in stage difficulties, they even added a currency system and what I most absolutely love. They added the ability to buy and build a variety of ships from parts you scavenge from destroyed enemy ships.

However, this also presents a problem because with multiple ships to own, build and customize with a variety of weapons there is a downside to it all. That being you can lose your ship and all the rare parts you get while you play through stages. Which at this junction breaks my heart, because I got a really amazing rare item that boosted my ships stats through the roof, but upon fighting a enemy boss my ship was destroyed and I lost that part never to see it again.

Now, to this extent they have given the option to go classic mode where you will lose your equipment like I have. Never to be able to get it back again and you got to grind all over again for hours and hours on end if you hope to find it again OR you can do a safe mode which items will only break and you can repair them in the market place.

My only wish is that I would like an option to change between the two game modes while in game but, that is not do-able. So if you want to play it safe you got to make that choice very early on at the start of the game or else you may run the risk of losing your really good stuff.

Drifting Lands is one of the best side scrolling action games I have ever played with its very in-depth customization features, toppled with its beautiful scenery and exciting soundtrack. It stands out to me as one of the best if not to date the greatest side scrolling title to date.

The only thing I wish they did better was changing the game mode option freely, because I deeply regret being blown up, I lost a really awesome Guardians of the Galaxy Easter egg which was a old cassette.

If you are a fan of the classic side scrolling genre and have always wanted more from it, but also sticking strongly to its roots than look no further, Drifting Lands is the game for you. I’ve enjoyed it for countless hours.

Also the man in charge of the market looks suspiciously like Anthony Bourdain

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: Xmas Shooting – Scramble!!

Fruitbat Factory is at it again bringing us another delight from Orange juice! No, not the beverage that got our YouTube channel suspended for three months. The game design group! This time its Xmas Shooting Scramble!

Like its previous Bullet Hell titles its come out with like QP – Shooting is dangerous we are back for another round of insanity and mischief lead by the chibi’s from that as far as I know represent their development team at Orange Juice.

This game though has a plot, which at the very moment you start arcade mode you are chasing down someone who has stolen the presents from Bunny Girl Santa! That devious little bastard, Who dares steal from Santa! Well besides villains like Team Rocket and other characters throughout the history of games and television.

But back on track on track now, the game controls just like its predecessors and its pretty easy and straight forward to the point where anyone can pick it up and start playing it and have little to no issue understanding the controls, the configuration, and everything else.

It really feels like they just re-skinned QP-Shooting is dangerous in terms of mechanics and just made a new story. Which is forgivable in this case because its a bullet hell game and if you are like myself you just kind of expect bullet hell titles to just be pumped out over and over again. There isn’t anything wrong with it unless they “literally” just re-skinned QP – Shooting is dangerous and trust me they didn’t and they did manage to fix a few bugs as well.

Like their previous titles the music is very delightful and spot on, as is the actual gameplay where you can challenge your friends and family and prove to them all you are the dominate gamer of the household and that your bullet hell skills should be recognized.

But what it ultimately boils down to is do you like Bullet Hells, do you like anime ladies dressed as Santa, because you know thats a fetish and people are into that. Do you also like cheesy dialog to explain why you are firing energy waves and protecting yourself with little reindeer than look no forward! When Christmas rolls around we have found the ideal game title for you that is not only nicely made, runs smooth as silk, but also has lovely animation in terms of game design in it.

If you liked QP – Shooting is dangerous than you will definitely love this title.

-Daniel Clatworthy

Haven Review: Zamarian

 

2016-02-01_00005Zamarian is a mouse-driven arcade space shooter. Instead of having free movement though, you are stuck moving in a circular motion around a central point. Enemies tend to spawn at the center and spiral out toward you, however some will spawn outside the circle. Enemies will drop money, health (in the form of shields), and sometimes weapon upgrades. However all these upgrades can be bought from the store if you have the coin. You can also spend money to buy new ships. There are light, medium and heavy ships. From what I gathered, the only difference is their price and their health. The heavy ship obviously costs the most and sports the most health.

An interesting mechanic is that items are bought in real time. There is no pause menu to access the shop. If you are running low on health, quickly buy a new ship while still avoiding incoming attacks. Once a purchased ship is destroyed you’ll go back to the base ship. Of course when this happens, the game recommends immediately purchasing a new one since the health of the base ship is minimal. So essentially, if you’re quick enough and have the cash, you can just keep buying new lives. This is the recommended thing to spend your money on, as weapon upgrades come along fairly often. But if you’re needing something in a pinch or are just bored with your current gun, you can buy a new one.

Weapons also have health that depletes when you get hit. So you’ll be switching through them pretty regularly. One problem I have with the weapon store is that the names of the weapons aren’t displayed; just tiny pictures. When you’re focusing on everything else, trying to make out what those pictures actually correspond to can be a big pain. Usually I open up the store, pick something at random and just kinda go with it.2016-02-01_00004

The UI in general is a little lacking. When enemies spawn in the center of the circle, they’re very tiny and hard to see. It’s not the biggest issue, but with everything else going on it’s hard to tell what exactly is coming at you. This can be said for things you need to collect, as well as for those to avoid. There really isn’t the biggest distinction between collectibles (like money and upgrades) and enemy bullets. They’re all just brightly colored objects flying toward you. There have been many times where a mass of glowing green things are flying toward me, and I go to pick them up, thinking they’re money. In reality they’re bullets, and I get destroyed. When the screen is that hectic and there are a billion things flying in your direction, there really needs to be a way to distinguish what’s good and bad. In the heat of the moment it’s harder to make snap decisions because everything is a little more ambiguous than I’d like.

The controls for Zamarian are weird. Literally all you do is spin around the center point. You can move inward and outward, but that’s it. Aside from opening the stores and buying stuff, there’s no other clicking involved. In fact, your guns fire automatically.

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The biggest problem with this game is its sound design. Since the guns are constantly firing, there’s a steady, never-ending “pew-pew-pew” coming from them. This, in addition to the myriad blips and bloops coming from the enemies and pick-ups…all on top of a generic metal soundtrack…leads to an atonal cacophony that makes my ears bleed. It’s literally that bad. I did worse at the game when the sound was on. I couldn’t concentrate on anything with that horrid noise in the background. Luckily this problem is easily solved by turning off all the noises/music and just putting on a nice podcast. Zamarian is an interesting take on the arcade space shooter genre, but with definite problems. Overall though, it’s a nice little experience.

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Disclaimer: We received this game because we wanted to review it, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Jordan Kamm-