Risk System from Publisher and Developer Newt Industries
Photosensitivity warning. Challenging but enjoyable retro style shmup with a couple of interesting mechanics.
In the distant future of A.D. 2149, a race of energy parasites have taken over mankind’s technology and are using it against them. The main character is Alys. She is piloting an experimental ship, the RSK9, and is on her way to prevent the extinction of mankind.
This is a challenging, side scrolling, shoot ’em up (shmup) with a twist. Like most shmups you need to kill the enemies, build up your meter for a special attack, and avoid enemy fire. The twist is the risk reward system they’ve introduced. Narrowly avoiding enemy fire allows you to absorb energy from their attacks. This supercharges your normal weapon and will fill your special attack meter much faster. There is an autofire option that is turned on by default. It will only fire when an enemy is in front of you which lets you focus on controlling the ship and avoiding attacks. We recommend leaving this turned on though there is an option to turn it off if you really want to.
Your special attack, “Barrier Breaker,” does a lot of damage to all of the enemies on screen and gives you temporary invulnerability. Powering it up as fast as you can will help a lot, especially on the more challenging levels.
The ship’s movement feels sluggish compared to some other shmup’s. Fortunately, they have a Barrel Roll maneuver for quick vertical movements. This helps to compensate for the otherwise reduced mobility. One button will have you barrel roll up and another to barrel roll down. It takes a little bit of time to get used to it, but once you do you’ll use it all the time.
Each of the levels ends with a boss fight that is very challenging as each attack from the boss does a lot of damage. These attacks are difficult to avoid but not impossible. You can also time your special just right to be invulnerable and avoid damage that way. Each boss has a different pattern that you will need to learn if you want to defeat them. Luckily, there is a good checkpoint system. When you die you are seamlessly respawned at the boss so you don’t have to replay any of the level. This rapid restart helps you learn their patterns.
After completing a level you are given a letter rank and the choice to retry for a higher rank or to continue to the next mission. To get maximum rank you essentially need to complete the level without taking any damage. It looks like there is an alternate ending if you achieve S rank on every level but we were unable to achieve this during our time playing the game.
The game has a retro pixel art style. The sound effects and music help capture that old school feel of playing hard shoot-em ups in the arcade or on the original consoles. We also really enjoyed the nod to the Metal Gear series that happens pre and post boss fight.
The game has a photosensitivity and seizure warning that is well deserved. It does have an option to turn off screen shake which helps a little. While our reviewer doesn’t have issues with photosensitivity they did find that there were a few times that it was hard to stare at the screen.
Overall it’s an enjoyable but challenging shoot em up.
Risk System is available on Xbox and Steam. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
Duck Souls+ from Publisher Ratalaika Games and Developer Green Dinosaur Games
Enjoyable platformer. Hard mode is not for the faint of heart or impatient. Novices should definitely stick to casual.
A fast-paced platformer
You play as a yellow duck who has been sent by a group of ghost ducks (the Duck Souls) to find the duck eggs and keep them safe. Each level has one egg and is contained on a single screen. You’ll need to navigate from one side of the screen to the other to collect the duck egg. That’s all the narrative or story that’s present in the game.
You can jump off of the walls and dash to get to the higher areas on the levels. You can also use dash to jump over spikes, avoid other hazards, and break through walls.
There are 100 levels in the game. Some of the levels are very simple and can be completed in 1 life while others are more challenging and are likely to require multiple attempts. The game has a great respawn system which puts you back in control the second after you die. It also has a death counter that you can see both when you die and once you complete the level.
While playing through the 100 levels you will come across new challenges, themes, and mechanics. We enjoyed the variety provided by these. They kept the game fresh and enjoyable so it didn’t feel overly repetitive.
You are able to customize the look of your duck by changing the hat your character is wearing. You will unlock and collect hats while completing the levels. The hats are only cosmetic and provide no alteration to your character’s abilities. It would have been nice if the hats actually did something other than just change the look of the character. Some players will really enjoy the customization options these provide while others will find them pointless.
You are able to pick between 2 different modes. Casual mode has checkpoints placed throughout the levels while Hard has no checkpoints so if you die you have to start that level over from the beginning.
The controls are easy to pick up and play as you can use the thumbstick or D-pad to navigate with depending on what is most comfortable for you or provides you with the best control. You can also aim your dash by using the same thumbstick or d-pad you use to move. Being able to aim dash is a requirement for successfully completing some of the more difficult levels. This was an interesting variation to the dash feature typically seen in platformers.
The pixel artstyle is colorful in the early stages. The themes in the game become darker in the later levels as you go deeper into the ground to recover the eggs. These changes in the theme from level to level correlated directly with the increasing difficulty. The early easy ones were bright and colorful and as the levels became more and more challenging the colors became darker and darker. It was fitting of both the narrative of being further underground and the intensity felt by the concentration required to complete the harder levels.
The audio is enjoyable. They have a relaxing soundtrack that helps keep you calm with simple sound effects for your movements.
Each of the levels have their own interesting names based on video games and movies. Some are easy to get the reference while others are a little more obscure. A little Googling will help if you don’t quite get the reference. You might find something really cool.
The game is single player only with no leaderboards. Once you complete all 100 levels and unlock all of the hats there isn’t a reason to go back and replay the levels unless you want the challenge of Hard mode.
Duck Souls + is available on Xbox One, PS4, PSVita and Nintendo Switch. A digital copy of this game was provided to SimpleGameReviews for the purposes of reviewing the game.
A 2D platformer, controlled by a single button. You are able to play as Jack or Jill and need to get through the level to the other character all while navigating the environmental obstacles, avoiding hazards, collecting coins and temporary power ups, bouncing off walls, and squishing enemies by jumping on them.
It has simple grey-scale monochrome color, pixel artstyle, and a chiptune soundtrack that reminds me of the old NES Games.
It has simple yet fun mini-games that you unlock by completing Worlds but that cost coins to access. You can purchase Hats and different color schemes for your screen using tickets that can only be earned in the mini-games. The game has no narrative at all.
Overall the game is fun. The levels are short and can be completed in about a minute or less. I also enjoyed the variety added by the mini-games and the way that the later worlds become more challenging.
A Pixel art, side-scrolling, platformer. During the level you will be collecting treasures and fairies before they disappear, killing enemies and trying to complete the level under the levels par time. The faster you complete the level the higher chance you have to earn a 3 star rating.
You traverse the levels by jumping, double jumping, wall jumping, and by throwing a magic dagger to teleport to the location the dagger was thrown. During the later stages temporary power ups are required to complete the levels; from a hammer to break blocks to a feather that gives you a floating ability for a few seconds, shields to keep you from taking damage, and gravity reversing magic bean.
The game has little to no story outside of the intro cinematic.
The audio is simple and fits the art style but has issues where is cuts outs at times.
Daggerhood is fun to play and becomes challenging during the later stages due to adding more difficult traps, more enemies, and narrower areas to platform and maneuver between.
Each of the 5 worlds has a unique boss challenge. Replaying the levels trying to get all 5 treasures, the fairy, and earn 3 stars can become addicting.
An interesting looking game with very simple and clean controls. Most of the game is played with just 2-3 buttons. Bumpers control left and right shiny shooty shuttle positions and another button fires both simultaneously. There is also and auto-fire option that I highly recommend.
Your goal is to destroy the boss before you get killed. You destroy the boss by shooting it with one of your two shiny shooty shuttles. While trying to shoot the boss you also need to dodge insta-death falling skulls, bump off the dust bunnies, and catch all the hearts. Missing a bunny or heart will shrink the field of battle and bring you closer to being crushed. Catching a bunny will cause insta-death like a skull.
The game nails the retro feel with the colorful pixel artstyle. The 8-bit soundtrack and effects all capture that old school feeling.
You can select which outfit your princess will wear. The outfit you pick determines which bonus you’re awarded after beating a boss. The bonuses could be more lives, more speed, or a barrier for your shiny shooty shuttles that lets you take one hit before insta-death. You can’t change your outfit mid game so choose wisely.
The game is fast paced, simple, fun, and easy to pick up and play.