Looking for a great, original space action shooter available on PC, Consoles, and IOS? Well then my plasma pistol wielding, astro-exterminator friend, it’s time to rise to the occasion, and become… The Bug Butcher!
Your chunky space transport slowly touches down on a wintry planet, you know this will be just another day at the office. Maybe a science research project had gone horribly wrong, maybe someone touched a glowing meteor, or maybe it’s was just a really bad alien moth problem… but no matter what, the cold metal of the plasma pistol in your hand will soon be glowing hot with the hazy blue inferno of battle! Someone has called you; Someone has called The Bug Butcher, and that means that you were their final hope, their only chance… you won’t let them down!
Setting: Humorous space cartoon action!
The setting is not essential to the gameplay or story, as the game is an arcade shooter at heart. Nevertheless, the backgrounds and visual elements are compelling and creative additions to the world of The Bug Butcher. The player progresses through various levels of a remote outpost, seeking to exterminate the alien vermin that are attacking. All the enemies, weapons, and levels possess a certain cartoon/sci-fi element, reminiscent of a “spaceman spiff” sort of vibe. Each new area of the outpost has different environmental elements and new enemy types that require specific strategies and attack patterns to conquer!
As could be expected from an arcade shooter, there is no real storyline progression but the story isn’t really crucial to the game, since it really is just a reason to shoot alien bugs with energy weapons. Then again, who really needs much of a reason to shoot aliens? Cause you know… some aliens are just dicks. The game has a satisfying amount of new environments and levels without being distracting or reducing the focus on gameplay. The game is half a zany cartoon and half shoot-em-up. This combination is a perfect balance of both and makes for a simple, compelling, and at times humorous adventure. It’s well worth checking out.
Gameplay: Classic 2-button vertical shooter + gravity.
The Bug Butcher has humorous dialogue scenes and awesome cartoon graphics, but at its core, it’s a high score chasing, combo building, bullet blazing arcade game! The game mechanics are simple; the hero can walk or sprint back and forth, but can only shoot up, while enemies have a tendency to bounce, fly, or fall down, attacking from above. Some enemies split, some follow paths, and some can’t be slowed by bullets, causing various combinations and patterns to form, which are unique to each level. This creates a sense of fluidity and keeps the player learning and forces them to get better.
The game does feature an in-game currency which is used to buy new weapons, upgrades, and perks. Progressing through new enemy types unlocks new weapons which help with the increasing difficulty of the levels. Rockets, lasers, Gatling guns, and even a “lightning gun” are all at your disposal when facing the galactic hoards. Also for your use are speed boots, invincibility, ice bombs, and homing missile packs to level the playing field when backed up against a wall (or the floor!).
Difficulty: challenging but attainable.
If you’re into climbing the high score chart and achieving 100% on every level this is a good game for you. Building combos without getting damaged will build your score multiplier, which you will have to rack up pretty high to achieve 3 stars on each stage. Every level is a multi-faceted challenge. If the alien insects don’t kill you, every level has a timer that exterminates everything in the chamber when it hits zero (including you!). The player must balance speed, attack, and defense to master all 5 floors of the complex.
One complaint personally is that the game is not terribly long. It is highly repayable, especially for those who did not get 3 stars on the first go at each level. There are 5 floors, with 6 levels each, the last of which is always a boss fight. with only 30 levels, each of which have timer that is less often less than 5 min, presumably a skilled player could finish the game in around 2 and a half hours. This is my only complaint.
If the game is too easy or too hard, you can switch to any of 3 levels of difficulty at any time. Conquered all levels at 100% on normal? Seek those golden medals of mastery on hard mode for a real challenge! Don’t like fighting alone? If you’re playing on PC you can battle against friends too! Unfortunately the current IOS version of the game does not have a multiplayer mode, but hopefully they will add this in an update.
The Bug Butcher is available on Steam for $8, and IOS/Android, for $4. The game is not super long but, still well worth the price. If you love arcade shooters, I recommend you check this one out. I’ve really enjoyed my time playing it and will keep it around on my phone for when I need to kill some time (and consequently, some galactic vermin!)
Happy Gaming Space Friends!
Dominate the Sepia Pixel Skies!
Luftrausers is an excellent arcade game created with modern and classic game elements. when I looked at my Steam library I discovered I’ve logged 23 hours of flight time in this great retro shooter. That may seem a bit high for a simple arcade game, especially one that has no level progression, but that’s one of the great things about Luftrausers, it’s beautifully simple and like a good song that gets stuck in your head, it just works. The college semester I bought this it became my go-to homework break activities. This punchy fast-paced shooter is great to jump in and burn through 20 lives or so in search of that high score you’ve been chasing. Every play is a kick of WWII arcade nostalgia and adrenaline.
Story & Setting – The Wrong Side of History? The setting of Luftrausers is not really part of the gameplay at all. The game is a sort of playful nod to all those rumors and stories of WWII German war inventions and science experiments. You play as the German super weapon taking down the faceless hoards of the Allied powers. Though this seems to be the setting of the game, there is no story beyond that, just hours of bullet hell arcade action.
Gameplay – True Arcade Simplicity. As I mentioned before, the gameplay is very simple, even minimalist. This seems to be an intentional return to true arcade roots; the player uses two directional steering, one fire button, and one thrust button. Some more modern game elements are present though as well such as achievements that you must complete to unlock new ship components, which you can mix and match to fit your particular fighting style. Though the gameplay is simple, it’s compelling. You mostly are trying to out shoot larger enemies while tearing through swarms of small planes to keep your multiplier up to score those big points!
As I mentioned before there are many different weapon and body types to choose from. This is great because it makes gameplay custom to each player and also gives you goals to work towards as you work to unlock each one. The different combinations make for exciting and sometimes bizarre combat situations, making gameplay different with each new combo.
Difficulty – Easy to Learn, Difficult to Master. The difficulty of this game starts relatively easy, and grows steadily harder the longer your plane stays alive. On each run until other experimental planes show up followed by massive blimps filling the skies with bullets. This will eventually be extremely hard to survive though the opportunity for a higher score accompanies this new level of danger. If you do not feel challenged enough, you can also activate SFMT mode, and really punish yourself for playing with brutal and near impossible odds.
To sum it up, Luftrausers is a great game that deserves attention from arcade shooter fans of all kinds. It makes for a great game to compete with friends for high scores. My brother and I went back and forth for a long time competing for that top spot after the other would beat the old best score. With a current play time of 23 hours, my highest score is currently 34,875 points. If anyone has a better one let me know on the blog or through our Facebook and Twitter accounts! The game can be purchased on Steam or directly from the website for $10.
Happy Rausing friends!
– Jacob Tillson
– A NEW ODYSSEY FOR CLASSIC SHMUPS PLAYERS –
Hydora is a game that I stumbled across in the archives of my favorite game blog, Indiegames.com. Hydora was made by Locomalito, a game company that has made several other interesting and creative games of varying genre and styles. The group produces a lot of cool merchandise in addition to bringing interesting and innovative retro-style games into today’s modern world. Although you can purchase the merch and disks of the games with covers, you can also download this specific game directly from their website, completely free.
Hydora is a side-scrolling shooter game that is sort of a mix between an 80’s style arcade game and a modern art project. The game holds more complexity and individuality than that of a true arcade game, yet still holds to simple game play and basic upgrades such as a simple primary and secondary weapon. (you pick your first and second weapon before each level), all with in game-play power-ups. I got the game because I was looking for a good game to play when I needed a break from stress, and I love old scrolling shooter games. The thing that really got my attention about this one was the excellence in pixel art. I love the practical and aesthetic value of the level design and am surprised this game is not more well known, as it is truly excellent.
Story/Setting – An old favorite with a new style. The setting of the game starts in a very simple and traditional space-shooter setting that feels natural and fitting. But as you continue playing the setting quickly becomes more interesting and rapidly deviates from player expectations. There are no “worlds” or chunks of levels with single themes, but rather every level spills into the next and features a very unique and strong theme, often with completely original enemies and environmental hazards. The setting is as skillful re-imagining of a familiar style and genre.
Gameplay – If it ain’t broke… The gamplay it’s-self could be described as simple and solid. Though much of the game is very original, the game play is actually completely traditional for a scrolling shooter; movement, guns, and a super bomb type weapon you collect in the level. One innovation to this traditional method was that you collect a new weapon (either primary, secondary, or super bomb) after every level, and select your choice a the beginning of each stage. This was clever and interesting, and though not hugely necessary, it was fun. The weapon selection and gameplay works well as a solid foundation for the rest of the game to be built on.
Difficulty – 80’s style arcade brutality. As a part of the game’s self-described 80’s arcade roots, it can be sincerely difficult. unless you have a shield, which is very hard to obtain, a single hit from anything will kill you, (and even then, 2 hits kills you). Every death will also rob you of some gun power and movement speed you will have to struggle to earn back. This is fun, but at times can also be frustrating.
Overall, Hydora is one of my favorites. For a retro style shooter I would give it a 9/10. It’s not super long, but it’s high difficulty will keep you battling to finish this beautifully created modern space adventure. Everyone interested in indie games should give this one a try, and being that it is free to download, there is nothing stopping you from engaging in this bizarre galactic struggle. Suit up and join the fight to save the human race, you’ll be glad you did!