Tag Archives: Side scroller

Haven Review: The Bug Butcher

BugTitleFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

When you hear the term “shoot-em-up”, your first reaction isn’t to take it literally. Well, it is now! Introducing The Bug Butcher, developed and published by Awfully Nice Studios. In this fast-action arcade blaster, you start out with a basic pulse gun with which you shoot at monsters falling from the ceiling. It’s literally a shoot-em-UP! These bad guys are essentially large, mean rubber balls that bounce and careen around the room. This means you must run back and forth across the floor to keep up with them, while not getting crushed in the process.
Picture1When you are positioned directly beneath a foe, fire your weapon. This will split the spherical denizen into two separate, smaller monsters. These smaller ones are less tough, but they move faster. Shoot them again until they turn into gold coins that you can pick up and spend later for special perks and weapon upgrades.
JuiceDuring combat, strange things can happen. A ceiling snake suddenly descends, grabbing a hapless NPC. Quickly shoot it down and the NPC returns to duty, albeit a bit dazed. Also, useful power-ups appear on the floor. One power-up, for instance will grant you extra running speed, while others increase your gun’s damage and rate of fire. Be sure to grab these!

Upgrade1After you complete each round, you’re able to spend collected coins on various weapons, power-ups and perks:

Weapons include machine guns, lasers and rockets; a marked improvement over your basic pellet pistol.
Power-ups include temporary invincibility, homing missiles and elemental grenades.
Perks include speed boosts, protective shields and combo attack enhancements.

The game is fast; very fast. I therefore recommend using a controller, rather than mouse and keyboard. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s virtually impossible to beat the game with the latter.

There are three degrees of difficulty from which to choose: Easy, Medium and Hard. There are also three distinct “game modes”: Arcade Missions, Panic (Single Player) and Panic (Local Co-op). All this variety provides a welcome degree of challenge within an otherwise repetitive arcade experience. The difficulty levels are self-explanatory, so let’s examine the game modes:

LaserArcade Missions starts off with a quick tutorial and a training stage. After that, there are five story stages with six missions per stage. Coin-redeemed upgrades are persistent throughout the story and can be removed/replaced after each stage.
Panic (Single Player) is an endless survival variation of the Arcade mode, and monster waves are more intense here. To compensate, you can press ESC at any time during a stage to redeem coins for upgrades! Unfortunately, these upgrades do not persist; they are good for the current stage only.
Panic (Local Co-op) is identical to the Single Player, except that another player can join you in battle. What’s more, you can actually revive your partner when they fall!
FireAll in all, the game is a heart-pounding bullet-fest. The enemies, while similar in bouncy proclivity, sport unique effects when shot. You’re certainly in for a few surprises as you make little ones out of big ones.

So is The Bug Butcher worth it? For fans of arcade shooters with healthy doses of dodging, rolling and running, the answer is yes. Priced on Steam at $8 (USD), it’s a good value. Add its 31 Steam achievements and it’s even better. If, however you’re a staunch PC user who’s not inclined to plug in a USB controller, you may opt for a different game. But before you do, I’d recommend investing in an XBox/PS compatible device and giving this title a try. It’s simple, repetitive action. But for that reason it’s great for learning how to use a controller.
BugScale1-Chris Roberts-

Haven Review: Volgarr the Viking

volgarr_screen_04First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Do you find modern games too easy, with their abundant checkpoints and simple streamlined level design? Do you remember those nail biting platform games that chewed up your coins like a blender, where death was only one good hit away and the levels had an abundance of pitfalls and spikes? Topped off with huge bosses? Then look no further.volgarr_screen_01

Volgarr the Viking is very simple to control and requires a lot of memorization and some luck, since it’s a retro style platform game that’s inspired by old arcade games. The hero can throw spears, cut things with his sword, roll and double jump. Every now and then you’ll find treasure chests with power-ups, which provide the player with a shield that blocks projectiles and can take one hit. Naturally, there is an achievement for getting through a world without taking any hits. A true challenge for hardheaded and thick skinned players, whom like to die a lot, yet feel they achieved progress with each mistake.

The goal of Volgarr is very simple.VolgarrTeaser_1.wmv Navigate the fiendishly-designed level and fend off anything in your way, while collecting riches. To prevent the game from being too frustrating there are checkpoints every now and then. After all, a platform game is all about reflexes, timing and memorization. The levels will press the players to the max.

Big bad bosses.

The in-game sound feels bit muffled and downplayed. This is a good thing, since it takes a long time before it gets on the nerves. While the music is fitting, it is a forgettable affair. The overall style is a cross between Golden Axe and a Conan movie. In this regard, they truly captured the feel of an old-school game. The is some music as well, however I found it quite forgettable, its just there.

The environments are nicely drawn and set up in a style which makes all the important elements stand out. It also captures that retro feel.

Is it enjoyable? Hell yeah. Is it hard and frustrating? Indeed. But then again, this is why I enjoy such games. It’s all about improving your gaming skills and learning from mistakes. Volgarr the viking throws no punches and will leave you oddly satisfied yet horribly brutalized at the same time. And that is quite the achievement.


Their homepage


A like to the steam store fromt.


-Njål Sand-



Haven Review: Super Intergalactic Gang

SIGGTitleFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Perhaps you’ve heard the term “SIG”. It stands for “Special Interest Group”, right? Well usually; but not today. In fact, very little is usual about the game we’re here to review. It’s called Super Intergalactic Gang (SIG); developed by Martin Cerdeira and published by Black Shell Media.

At its core, this game is a fast-action, side-scrolling bullet-hell. Think you’ve seen it all before? Not likely in this case. Almost every aspect of SIG is riddled with innuendo, tribute or reference to some other product. The opening sequence begins with “A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…” and one of the playable characters is named Luke Skycrawler. It’s actually quite fun to just scroll through their names before even starting the game. Recognize the gentleman pictured below?

SIGPool1Once you figure out which spoof character you’d like to play, it’s off to battle. Level 1 is fairly straightforward. Dodge enemy bullets using either a controller or keyboard arrows, and return fire; again either with the controller or with the “Z” key on your keyboard. Pressing and holding the fire button will generate a super shot, which deals extra damage. Press “X” on the keyboard to activate the “time distort” feature. This slows time; handy in moments of heavy barrage.
SIG1As you progress, a large variety of power-ups will appear. Don’t make the mistake I made and grab every one that floats by. Only the most recently collected power-up counts, so watch your surroundings and let some go untouched. The exception is the “heart” power-up; it grants you an extra life. Always take that one!

SIGBoss2Every level ends with a boss fight. The first boss is relatively easy; the second not so much. When you defeat a boss, you’ll be offered a choice of two super-duper power-ups; one offensive and one defensive, for use in the next level. Choose the item that best suits your play style. Trust me, you’ll be glad you have it.

Occasionally, you’ll run across some very odd creatures, such as Grip Face and Turret Turtle. I was unable to destroy these guys, so I simply flew around them.SIGOdd

So is Super Intergalactic Gang worthwhile? Yes it is. Priced on Steam at $4 (USD), the title is a great value. Simply remember that unless you’re using a controller, the only keys available are the arrows, “Z” and “X”; these are not configurable. So if you’re an A,W,S,D player, you’ll now be using your right hand to navigate and your left hand to fire. Another issue is the lack of save slots. When you lose all your lives, you start over from scratch. Just a few things to be aware of as you blast your way through the intrepid unknown!

SIGScale-Chris Roberts-