After our launch preview of Assault Android Cactus, an arcade-style shooter set in a sci-fi universe by indie developer Witch Beam, I am excited to present an in-depth review of the game now that I’ve had my chance to get my hands on it and really dive in.
Assault Android Cactus Concept/Story:
As a battery-powered Assault Android, named Cactus (go figure), you may not look very prickly but you certainly can use your amazing firepower to pierce through those rogue robots all around you. Let’s back up a bit. Junior Constable Cactus ends up stranded on a space freighter under attack by its own robot workers, and she won’t rest until she reaches the brain of the ship to figure out what is causing these robots to go berserk! Despite Cactus’ fun and goofy nature, we can tell that she packs a punch with her assault rifle and her flamethrower. Aside from sheer weaponry, Cactus is also enlisting fellow androids she finds along the way – and I love the all-female cast of playable androids you can choose from; Girl Power! Each character has their own personality and quirks, along with designated weaponry and play-style. But hold your robotic horses! No matter who you choose to play as, remember to watch your battery gauge, which will constantly drain while you fight, and if fully depleted it will shut down your character and end the level. The only way to restore power is by picking up batteries from fallen enemies, so there is much reward embedded in your destruction.
- Fast paced twin stick shooting – play aggressively to stay alive
- Four modes of play including Campaign, Infinity Drive, Daily Drive and Boss Rush, all of which are playable cooperatively with up to 4 players
- Nine playable androids, each with their own distinct personality and style of play (and their own specific weapon, at that)
- Dynamic stages that introduce new challenges for players to overcome, in addition to the hordes of enemy robots
- Unlockable EX features including mega weapons, a first person perspective and AI teammates
The game has very fantastic controls and they really provide exactly what you would want out of an arcade-style twin-stick shooter. The game controls in a very fluid manner and you should not even have to really even think about which button you’re going to press next, it will all come naturally.
Overall Likes and Dislikes:
The Good –
Very fun characters, quick-to-action gameplay, fluid and easy controls, fun music and sounds. I also not only like that there are power-ups in the game, like a freezing blast that stops enemies in their tracks or temporary twin-robot blasters on either side of you adding extra firepower to your arsenal, but I also really like another simple touch in this regard: if there is a power-up on the level out of your visibility/off-screen, the game shows a blinking icon of the power-up with an arrow showing you where it is. The same goes for when a battery pickup is off-screen.
The Bad –
Some have complained about a short campaign mode that can be beaten in about 3 hours. A personal gripe is that I wish your battery could last just a little longer on boss fights, as I can almost feel the game mocking me as I do all this work lowering a boss’ health 3/4 of the way down, only to be thwarted by my battery running out of power because there was no battery pickup… it’s hard out here for an Android.
7 out of 10!
While Assault Android Cactus is not going to be heralded as the best shooter in the world, it’s an incredibly amazing game and even more impressive is the fact that it is the first title released by the Witch Beam team! There is fun to be had, and the couch or AI co-op options will also allow for some replayability to be a factor.
Find Assault Android Cactus on Steam now, for Mac, PC, and Linux platforms. And be looking out for the game coming to Wii U, Playstation 4, and Playstation Vita in 2016.