All the stuff I’ve seen and experienced at PAX Prime this year was all fine and dandy, but one of the highlights for me was definitely chilling with the fine folks at Witch Beam showcasing their game Alien Assault Cactus. I’m a huge fan of the shoot-em-up genre of video games, and this twin-stick shooter delivers. I grew up with arcade games and Alien Assault Cactus continues the arcade spirit with this fun and hectic entry into Steam’s robust library of fine indie games. This top-down shooter really gets chaotic and fast-paced real fast!
The game’s setting takes place in a frigate as a space android-cop named “Cactus” who investigates an incident aboard the spacecraft. There she saves the frigate’s crew from a robot rebellion and that’s where it all begins. They have to blast through waves and waves of crazed worker robots hellbent on destruction to get the ship’s core to stop the madness. Each android has a different weapon loadout, feel, and, of course, colorful personalities. Playing the game as each of them just adds to the replay value. The game features both single player and multiplayer modes so feel free to have your friends tag along. As you progress, you free more androids that will join you on your journey to the core!
The controls seem real simple to learn, but you will have to master the techniques so you can get through the later stages and of course, the big bad bosses. Alien Assault Cactus can be played with a game pad or keyboard and mouse. Each android has two weapons and different ranges and speeds. An essential mechanic is switching between each one because you are able to dodge any incoming attacks as you switch. The levels increase in difficulty, so the game really starts to test your reaction time and efficiency! As you progress through the game, don’t forget to tryout out all the different characters, you might find one that fits your personal play style.
I really praise the dynamic soundtrack that follows along your performance. As you are continuing your combo, the music gets amped to 11, but if you are in danger of being defeated it definitely changes its pitch to let you know. The colorful graphics really jump out and make such a crisp atmosphere to play in. One thing that does irk me is that I sometimes confuse the energy shards(they add to your final score) that drop from defeated robots as bullets so I just dodge everything amidst the mayhem. I find the boss fights really thrilling with the bullet-hell that will keep you on your toes.
Alien Assault Cactus is a real fine gem that excites many who have tried it out! It lives up to the shoot-em-up excitement that many games captured in the hearts of gamers in the past. It’s currently available on Steam, and will be landing on PS4 and Wii U in the near future. Hop on and blast some killer robots now!