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Haven Review: Cyborg Rage

CyborgTitleFirst 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.

“Bullethell” shooters have been raining down on us for decades. While they all have common tendencies (space themed, side/forward-scrolling, etc.) there’s always an element of uniqueness. Today we’re reviewing Cyborg Rage, developed by Ragiva Games and published by Black Shell Media.

What makes Cyborg Rage different from many bullethells is its difficulty level: it’s not! I’ve reviewed this genre before, and the one complaint I typically have is that the games are simply too hard for all but the most seasoned twitch/controller users. But this game is actually fair; even with a standard PC mouse. In fact it’s the only device you’ll need to get started with the single-player story line, or to partner up in multiplayer mode.

Cyborg2Upon launching the single-player campaign, the first thing you’ll notice is that your ship is accompanied by an AI wingman. Sometimes it follows you around the screen, and at other times it floats to its own drum. Either way, it’s dedicated to helping defeat enemies and advancing you to the next level.
CyborgRed1The most important feature in the game however, is not the endless onslaught of baddies or the big boss who appears at the end of levels. Rather it’s the orange percentage meter at the top-center of the screen. This meter is separated into three values. As you use your ship’s abilities, one or more of these values will drain to zero, climbing back up to 100 over time. Each of the three values, positioned to the left, center and right, respectively, corresponds to like buttons on your mouse (e.g.: pressing your middle mouse button will cause the middle value to drain to zero). Each button makes something different happen, depending on how far along you are in the game.
Cyborg4Before we discuss the button effects, let’s start with the pointing device itself. The game currently has no controller support; it’s mouse only. Just slide your cursor to move the ship to a desired location on screen. When enemies are near, your ship (as well as that of your wingman) automatically engages in continuous pulse fire. Don’t worry, you can’t run out of ammo. Now this is where the mouse buttons come in:
CyborgShield1Left Button: causes extra pulse fire to exude from your ship for three seconds. This is useful against a large group of foes or a particularly nasty boss. Later, this effect upgrades to a parabolic shock wave.
Right Button: causes your ship’s shields to instantly heal to maximum. Later, this effect upgrades to a force field that temporarily freezes enemies in place.
Middle Button: fires a missile that knocks out enemy shields. Later, this effect upgrades to an energy wave that heals the shields of both you and your wingman.

The above description of ability upgrades is true for the first few levels of the game. As you progress further, even more interesting abilities will map themselves to your mouse buttons! For this reason, I really enjoy this title. The story is intriguing, the voice acting is good and never knowing what new abilities await keeps me coming back. I hope that future add-ons will continue to provide creative new ways to knock out the enemy forces.

So is Cyborg Rage worthwhile? Yes it is. Priced on Steam at $5 (USD), the title is a good value. My only suggestion is to add controller support, as most bullethells come with the expectation of such support.

CyborgScale-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-