Developer: Ennoble Studios
Publisher: KISS ltd
Platform: PC, Mac, Linux
Psichodelya – Review
It’s time to take a break from all the next-gen games and consoles and look at a more classic game! Psichodelya is a game that takes an old-school style top-down shmup (shoot-em-up) approach, in the likes of Aero Fighters, Giga Wing but mostly DoDonPachi.
Little story or plot is provided with this game, the only information they give you is that two races of mechanized alien species wage an all out air-warfare over pieces of land. But hey, who cares about a story in a shmup anyway?!
Psichodelya’s graphics aren’t amazing, but they do the job. The scenery behind the levels has been designed by a 1 man team, and it looks pretty nice. And still following in the footsteps of old-school shmups, the graphics do this game justice. The background is linear, so you won’t be distracted by sudden movements and the sprites of the ships look pretty nice as well. The only remark graphic wise is that the enemy projectiles have a very high contrast, they almost look too bright to fit with the rest of the game.
The in-game sounds are ok, but not great. The music in the background is fun, but it doesn’t really contribute to the game. It doesn’t really stand out or give you that “rush” you sometimes get with hard shmups. Sound effects from the guns and lasers are also very generic, nothing new or exciting to be found here.
Mainly, the game hasn’t really impressed so far, so the last category to make or break it is of course the most important one: the gameplay!
The controls are really simple, fire to shoot, hold fire to activate a laser stream. There’s also a bomb and an extremely important color switch. The laser stream does more damage than the bullets but it slows you down greatly, requiring you to find the sweet spot between mobility and damage. The bombs damage everything on screen and clear all bullets, but they’re in limited supply so use them wisely!
The big thing that stands out in Psichodelya is the color switch. The main ship can switch between red and blue, enemy ships also have these colors and all projectiles have these colors as well. When switching colors with your ship, your shield changes colors as well, giving it some unique properties. Your shield can protect you from a certain number of bullets from the same color. However, getting hit by the opposite color kills you instantly. The enemy ships also take more damage if you shoot them with their opposite color, requiring you to take close consideration to enemies’ color and the bullet density coming at you. At the end of each level there’s also a huge boss which has multiple stages and attack patterns.
Psichodelya has 3 playable ships, each with different shot types (but same laser types). Each ship has 5 fire sources, 3 of them always point forward but the other 2 are specific to the ship. The Devastator’s 2 remaining lasers simply shoot forward as well, giving you maximum power to the front of your ship. The Scourger turns 1 of 2 lasers on his sides to the side you are moving to. For example: if you’re moving to the right, your left laser will shoot up and the right one will shoot diagonally to the right. The last ship, the Ravager, has its 2 side lasers pointing diagonally to each side. Giving it maximum flexibility but also some damage to the sides when dodging bullets. When choosing your ship, you can also choose whether to make your bullets or laser more powerful, giving you the chance to optimize your play style.
Pickups are also available but they don’t power up your ship or make you stronger. They’re very rare to find and they simply recharge shields, bombs and lives, rather than showering you with them. These pickups are supposed to help you from time to time, instead of making you dependent on them.
The game can be played in both single and multiplayer, but only has local coop. The game features support for keyboard and controllers, so you can play with 2 controllers, 2 on the same keyboard or mix them up. It also features 5 different difficulty levels but they simply give you more lives and shields, so a new player can still find it very difficult even when playing on very easy.
Psichodelya is a welcome addition to the genre. It will keep you playing for a while with its 5 different zones and no continues. It’s very basic and easy to play, but very hard to master with the constant polarity switches. The only downside that comes with the game is the absent story and carpal tunnel syndrome by constantly clicking to get your bullets going rather than holding it for a laser stream.