Mixing the smooth gameplay of modern twinstick shooters and graphics similar to the beautiful SNES masterpiece Link to the Past has resulted in a game I enjoyed far more than I expected, at times sitting down to play a short period for information to review and ending up spending an hour or two going through a dungeon and losing track of time.
With retro simplicity, this game is very easy to get into and understand, there’s plenty to explore and find and spend your gems on to enhance your guns, life or potion capacity. Each dungeon has a new gun, and by the end you’ll have basically every type to upgrade their power, rate of fire, ammo capacity and reload. Late in the game if you’re a completionist, there are two arena modes to farm gems easily in or test your skill against increasing monster hordes, and you can purchase maps that highlight all the treasure chests you’ve missed.
The combat is enjoyable and quick paced, with some varied enemy and boss types, and foes that will work with each other such as shield type enemies with high health that move to protect gunners from you. Puzzles are well designed, always giving you all the information you need to figure them out, and requiring some thinking for which order to do things, reflecting shots or using environmental hazards to solve things.
Cycling through your guns as ammo runs out to reload, killing enemies to restore your potions, using your stamina to dash out of attacks or to reposition and get all your enemies in a good spot for an area attacks is how most battles play out, and the game manages to be frantic but not overwhelming, with enemies that at normal difficulty are neither glass nor bullet sponge. If there is one issue with scaling, it is that you can focus on a few guns and have them fully upgraded very early in the game, which can make the middle dungeons the easiest ones.
Story and characters are rudimentary and are more parody than anything serious, bordering on nonsense at times, but that is definitely not the focus of the game, and doesn’t take away from what it does well and what the developers wanted to make.
This is a fairly standard length indie game, it’s perhaps half the length of the mentioned Zelda game but it has a price point where that is extremely reasonable, and it does not have much replay value. Overall, I enjoyed this and think anyone looking for a bit of a retro, easy to pick up adventure will have a good time with it. The controls are solid, there’s good environment, puzzle and enemy variety for an indie game, I like that there’s couch co-op but sadly nothing online. There are simple ways you can customize game difficulty which is a nice touch, having separate options to increase damage taken by yourself or enemies. For what they were going for, this is a top notch game and unless you just hate twin stick shooters, even those who are fairly lukewarm to the genre will likely enjoy this one.