When I was given the assignment of Explosionade (review here), I got it bundled with three other games in Mommy’s Best Action Pack. It seems like a waste to get four games that are enjoyable and only focus on one of them, but I have too many other assignments to take on three additional reviews, so I did the next best thing and decided to review the package. Now that’s a phrase I never thought I would use. The three games are Shoot 1UP, Game Type, and Weapon of Choice.
Shoot 1UP is an overhead ship shooter, not unlike games such as Ikaruga or Raiden. It is pretty standard fair for that sort of game, with one unique aspect. All of your lives can be treated as separate ships. This works by using the shoulder buttons to expand or contract your ships. If you have five lives, you can expand all five ships to give you more firepower. The downside is that you can lose three of the five ships in a fraction of a second, so depending on how far you want to spread yourself you are putting yourself more in harm’s way. I thought it was a cool mechanic where you can change up your focus on offense or defense in real time. Playing it very safe is having all your ships contracted so you are only flying one of them, but I thought it was more fun to have them spread out. This does give the game a certain element of strategy where you can decide when you want to be heavily on the offense and risk losing multiple lives at once or deciding when you should play it safe. 3.5/5
If I were to describe Game Type in one word that word would be strange. When you start this game you are in a menu screen that looks suspiciously similar to the user interface on a Microsoft console that came out in 2005. You need to navigate through the menus to actually find the game in order to play. I found this feature both amusing and annoying. When you eventually find the game and start playing it, you are constantly moving right, though you have complete freedom to move in all directions. This is a side scrolling shooter that plays like R-Type or Darius, except instead of a ship you are a person called Hoodie Girl who floats through the air shooting at everything she comes across, such as cats, crabs, doughnuts, and green cars that release giant disembodied heads. It’s not the prettiest art direction I’ve ever seen in a game, but it is definitely unique. The art director gets bonus points for hiding a Sega Dreamcast in the background. It seems there is one level that you play on an infinite loop like very old arcade games. Each loop gets faster, has more enemies, and introduces new enemy types. I may be wrong since I never beat the game, but it looks like an endless game that you eventually end when the ever increasing difficulty finally kills you. 3/5
Weapon Of Choice is an action platformer where you control one of three characters. The controls take a little getting used to: left trigger jumps, left thumbstick moves, right thumstick aims and shoots. Once you get the hang of it the controls aren’t bad, just slightly different from what I am used to in this type of game. The graphics are extremely colorful and vibrant, and the creature design is very unusual. It does rely on using bugs as templates for some of the enemies, but other creatures you fight are just the result of creativity sent in an odd direction. The music is fast and guitar driven which is perfect for a fast paced action game, and when all my characters met their untimely demise a sad piece of guitar music was played. Out of the three games I talked about in this article, this is the one I enjoyed the most. A feature this game has that I used quite frequently is a death indicator. This comes on when you are hurtling toward your doom because of a poorly planned jumped straight into some creature that is going to kill you, and this slows down time enough to use the kickback from your weapon to propel back away from certain death. 4/5
Overall, if you like these types of games this collection is a very good value. It’s currently on sale over at Steam for $7.99, which is roughly half of what these games cost on their own. None of these games revolutionize their genre, but I did enjoy all of them to varying degrees. If two of these games look like something you would enjoy this collection is worth picking up. Follow me on Twitter