Assault Android Cactus – Review
Follow Genre: Shoot 'm up, Arcade
Developer: Witch Beam
Publisher: Witch Beam
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: Xbox One

Assault Android Cactus – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Nice old school arcade action
Bad: Could have been variation in gameplay
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Most people giving their kids names nowadays don’t always have the best choices. Destiny and Venus are just the tip of the iceberg. Android parents, however, seem to be worse. Names like Aubergine, or indeed, Cactus, seem to be normal for guy and girl androids who are fighting an army of evil robots. Well, at least they are good at what they are made to do.

Assault Android Cactus logo

Story

Assault Android Cactus is the name of an android agent with green hair in space who is supposed to check out a civilian freighter. Shortly after arriving, the ship’s weapons start firing at Cactus, who decides to ram into the ship’s hull, saving some other people/androids by accidentally crashing into a couple of evil robots. The ones she saved explain to her that the ship is going crazy, assimilating anybody within. In an effort to stop this, Cactus and her newfound friends will try to reach the ship’s core, which is something like a main computer that should be able to regain control. From this point on you can start choosing a character and start blasting your way through levels of arcade action to fulfill this purpose.

Assault Android Cactus 3

Graphics

This game screams arcade with some serious retro vibes. From the moment you select a character and the ”press to join” for a second player is flashing next to your character selection screen, these vibes will be present. After that, in-game, a whole heap of different enemies will shoot lasers and other things at you. The enemies also possess some arcade-qualities. From ”easy mobs” to ”big guys”, they all come at you and you are supposed to clear them out.  Thanks to the game being filled with lasers, it’s quickly mesmerizing to look at. All the colored patterns and enemies swarming towards you while you try to point your own weapons at them, it looks nice. Also, a big high five for the level designer, since no level ever is standing still. There are always elements moving, which helps with the hypnotic graphics as well.

Assault Android Cactus 4

Sound

Fitting the arcade vibes, the sound-design has a lot of similar elements. Choosing a character and a level, there is an upbeat tempo soundtrack playing and the game has some tunes that typically tell you a level has been completed, you lost, a powerup has been picked up and more like that. Besides that, each character has an own voice which they use to tell you if something is going on when a certain drop has been made by an enemy or what you activated with which pickup. During the gameplay, the game decides that voices and sound effects are more important than background music. This means the background music will become more ambient of nature, but still very synthesized like basically every sound.

Gameplay

Assault Android Cactus is a shoot ’em up arcade game with, like has been said before, some very retro elements. The goal of the game is quite easy: Defeat all enemies and clear stages as you fight your way to the boss at the end of each zone. You can pick a different character before each stage you want to play, which sometimes can be in your advantage since certain androids will be better for certain areas, mainly when looking at the range each android has. Do you want a long sniper-like railgun or a shotgun to get close and personal? Overall, the picks don’t really feel like they matter much. This is due to the limited amount of skills each character has. Basically, you get a main weapon and a strong super-weapon which has a cooldown. But besides these things choosing a character does not affect the gameplay in any way. So whatever character you pick, you will just be switching when your superweapon has been cooled down or keep the main weapon going otherwise. This doesn’t mean the game is easy though! You might die a few times, especially during boss fights, before you are able to claim victory. Speaking of boss fights, they are the best part of the game. They are always big, long fights that force you to stay focused.

Assault Android Cactus 1

There are a few types of pickups in the game. You get a form of experience which allows your main weapon to become a bit stronger, but note that if you die you will lose the upgraded form. Being dead as an android is relative. Basically, each time your health drops to zero you can spam the shooting button to get up again. An android only dies if it runs out of batteries. Luckily, enemies drop a battery every now and then. You will need to recharge your battery about every 30 seconds or one minute to survive, like a phone you bought new three years ago but which now is almost scrap metal. Losing all your health, in this case, can be seen as a few seconds penalty on this gathering and pickup time. Besides this core gameplay to survive, there are a few pickups which grant you two shooting drones to help you, an accelerant that lets you run and attract experience orbs, and a shutdown option that freezes the enemies temporarily.

With these options, the game can sometimes seem rather limited. Playing with friends makes for more fun, but the lack of dashing and just being busy shooting all the time gets repetitive reasonably fast. Luckily, the level design gives us the most of the variation this game has to offer. One level you are running on treadmills that keep changing direction, creating complete chaos for you and your enemies. The other level is filled with traps you need to avoid while also still running and gunning. It’s this variation that makes the game actually enjoyable instead of mediocre. Last but not least, the game has a couple of extra modes. Daily Drive is a daily challenge to check your skills. Infinity Drive makes you try to get as far as possible. Playing any game mode also gives you credits. Credits you use to buy artwork or new additions that extend the game’s lifetime by, for example, letting you play with your character in first person view.

Assault Android Cactus 2

Conclusion 

Assault Android Cactus grabs some retro elements from games that are far behind us and puts them in a blender to coat them with a modern sauce. And it works. Even though the game might get repetitive, the cool challenging boss fights and overall slightly challenging gameplay makes the game worth at least a couple of hours of your time. The extra options and modes just give that die-hard base the opportunity to keep coming back or at least fire up the game when with friends on the couch. It’s an easy-going game to have a fun night and the graphics and sounds will give most players that retro-feeling you don’t see too often anymore nowadays.

 

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Assault Android Cactus - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.