Friday, July 20, 2012

Super Killer Hornet XBLA Indie Game Review

Are you ready for a fast pace shooter?
Hey there.  Do you remember the days of when space shooters where the games to play?  Awesome games such as Space Invaders, Galaga, and Gradius?  Space Invaders pretty much started the whole spaceship destroying alien type enemies, Galaga made it fun, and Gradius made it challenging.  Of those three, I would say that Gradius is my favorite.  Why?  Because hordes of enemies would attack you with a barrage of bullets.  You needed to be quick on your reflexes or be extremely powered up to stand a chance.  It's one of those games that you can feel proud of beating it.  Super Killer Hornet brings a part of that nostalgia back.

Our good friends at Flump Studios provided a copy of their first ever game released in the Xbox Marketplace for me to try out and review.  After only an hour or so of playing the game, I feel better than prepared to give you guys an honest review of this game.  So let's get to it.  Here's all that you need to know about Super Killer Hornet for the Xbox 360 and Windows 7 phone.

First off, the premise of the game is simple.  Destroy stuff while avoid being destroyed yourself and get the highest score possible.  No power ups, no shields, no nothing.  Just you, your ship, and your reflexes.  There really isn't any more to it.

The controls of the game are extremely simple.  Left joystick moves your ship and one button shoots your lasers.  That's pretty much it.  You also have a charged up laser beam that will destroy everything in it's path but will slow your ship down considerably.  It's both a blessing and a curse.  With a game where hoards of enemies cover the screen, a killer beam is just what you need, but with bullets flying everywhere, you need the maneuverability to avoid them.  It's a skill to learn exactly when to use it and use it you will.
This screen shot doesn't do the action in this game any justice.
The graphics are nothing to write home about.  Considering that the game is pretty simple and it has a nostalgic feel, I don't mind that the graphics are not all that great.  It gives it that "old school" feel that I can honestly say that I enjoyed that aspect of it.  The music plays second fiddle to the game.  There are a few options that you can choose to play in the background while you're shooting at your foes, but the music is quickly ignored.  As you're concentrating on avoiding being killed, you pay little to no attention to the music.
Now... the score multiplier is what really makes this game unique.  The object of the game is get the highest score possible so you definitely want to get the highest multiplier possible, right?  Well, unless you know basic math, it's not going to happen.  Wait.. what?!?!  lol  That's right.  In order to gain score multipliers in this game is to collect 2 pieces of an equation as they scroll down the screen and then collect the correct answer when it presents itself.  Keep in mind... the pieces of the equation will fall while all the chaos is going on so if you want to increase your score, you need also keep an eye out for them.  This added a new dimension to the simplistic nature of the game.  And if you answer the equation wrong, your score multiplier will drop back to 1x.  It can lead to some pretty frantic and frustration moments but it's the perfect amount of frustration for the gameplay.

Let's blow some stuff up!
Each game will only last about 2 minutes so it's the perfect game to pick up, blast away at enemies, and then stop.  The difficulty is pretty high and the objective is to obtain a high score so you can sit there and aim for a score of 100,000 and play until you reach it.  That's was my plan.  After my first game only produced a score of 12,000, I was determined to get something more respectable.  20 games or so later, I managed to increase my high score to 94,000.  I really wanted that 100,000 score to get the "Score King" trophy in the game.  The game does not offer any Xbox 360 achievements but it does set a few goals for you to reach for.  Seeing that the highest score is what you're aiming for, I don't see much in replay value in this game.  Once you've managed to reach some of the goals set out for you (obtain a 5x multiplier, 100,000 score, etc.) I don't see myself replaying this game.  But at 80 MS points, it's a great price for a short burst of frantic game play.

For a buck, I say you should go out there and try the game.  It's fun but it's definitely one of those, "fun for awhile" type games.  The game definitely has the feel of a difficult Japanese shooter.  You know... like the ones that have a screen full of bullets and is near impossible to beat.  Yeah, like that.  Super Killer Hornet is a shorter game than any of those but if you're into those kind of shooters, don't over look this game.  It's fun, it's solid, it's challenging and if you're like me and refuse to let a video game beat you, you will find yourself playing game after game attempting to beat your prior score.  If you want to give the game a try, download the Super Killer Hornet demo and once you're ready to cough up 80 MS points, do it and get ready for the challenge.  Later.

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