If you’re a fan of intense twin stick shooters like Robotron or Smash TV, then you’re in luck! My good friend Leroy has a preview of an upcoming PC title called Assault Android Cactus! I played it over at his house and it’s shaping up to be quite an awesome game. Check out his preview here!
Assault Android Cactus is an upcoming twin-stick arena shooter from Australian developer Witch Beam, currently available for PC on Steam through their Early Access program or directly through the developer at http://www.assaultandroidcactus.com/p/buy-cactus.html for $14.99. I always recommend buying directly from independent developers when given the option, as it gives them more money and you will still get a key to register your game on Steam.
The game is currently in development and slated for full release in November on PC (with ports for Wii U, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita to follow). Buying now allows you to get an early preview of the game and the chance to offer suggestions to the developers so that they can make the final version as good as it can be.
In the current build, there are four characters to choose from (with one more unlockable and a few more planned), each with distinct weapons. There are ten stages of the game’s campaign mode available (two of which are boss levels) and a few extra preview stages with unfinished graphics. The finished campaign will have twenty-five stages and there are two additional modes planned: Endless (this is what I’m looking forward to) and Boss Rush.
Assault Android Cactus is a fairly typical arena shooter for the most part, you are dropped into a stage and you shoot at hundreds of enemies. But there are a couple of things that this game brings to the table to add its own flavor to the genre. The first is the cast of characters, an assortment of cute female androids each with unique weaponry. Each character has a different primary weapon (such as a standard machine gun or a shotgun) and a different secondary weapon (such as a cannonball or a plasma field). Depending on which character you pick, your play style will need to vary slightly. And instead of bombs, each character has a powerful secondary weapon that you can switch to and use once it has charged up. Lastly, you are racing against a battery timer in each stage that needs to be periodically filled up by collecting dropped battery power-ups. This last bit adds an interesting twist as you will need to maneuver into potentially dangerous situations when that battery drops.
The boss battles are really good too, each battle taking you through a large variety of different phases and crazy bullet patterns. What’s interesting here is that you need to focus on playing a good balance of offense and defense, as if you spend too much time dodging and waiting for the perfect chance to fight back, you’re not going to do enough damage to have a battery refill drop.
When playing in co-op, the action ramps up considerably. While I felt the first few stages were a little easy by myself, once I had the opportunity to play in multiplayer, even these early stages raised the sweat factor up A LOT. Unfortunately, with so much going on, it’s easy to lose track of your characters in multiplayer. The characters are purposely designed with bright, unique colors to give your eyes something to catch and focus on, but when the screen zooms out you can occasionally lose track without any additional visual aid (like a glowing outline maybe?).
Assault Android Cactus has a ways to go before it’s finished, but it’s shaping up to be an excellent addition to your twin-stick library and it’s looking like there’s much more to come. Browsing through the Steam Community Forums for the game you can get a sneak peek at ideas being juggled around, my person favorite being that each stage will have its own “dark world” variant with more enemies and more chances to score higher.
All of the main characters are androids and the enemies are robots, defeated enemies explode and there is no blood or gore. None of the text I viewed in the current build had strong language. –Leroy Capasso