Assault Android Cactus Review: Fast Paced Frantic Shoot ‘Em Up Action

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If you’re looking for a new fast paced shoot ’em up adventure, Assault Android Cactus from Witch Beam just might be up your alley. We took a look at this intense skill based arcade style shooter in our Assault Android Cactus review.

Story

The story to the game is pretty simple, but it works. It is a twin-stick arcade shooter after all…

Junior Constable Cactus is outside her pay grade when she responds to a distress call only to be left stranded on a crippled space freighter under attack by its own robot workers. But using her wits, unlimited ammunition and all the androids she can conscript along the way, she will save the ship or run down her battery trying!

And that about covers the story… now on to the meat of the game – the gameplay!

Gameplay

Right from the start this game sucks you in with it’s fast and extremely frantic game play. Unlimited ammunition for your main weapon, an endless mob of relentless enemies to fight, and collectible power ups all combine nicely to keep the action fast paced with barely time to breathe. Each android heroine – there are currently 8 to choose from as you progress with one more on the way – has a different main and secondary attack, and the power ups range from boosting your main firepower for a short period of time to temporarily shutting down your enemies so they can’t attack while you mow them down.

Assault-Android-Cactus-Holly

Holly is one of the many Android heroines you can play as.

While you aren’t limited by ammunition, your character does indeed have a limited battery supply. Kills will give a chance of a battery charge drop which you can collect to restore your energy level. If you do run out of energy, the level is over.

Throughout the campaign mode, you face different enemies over 20 different stages and at the end of each level you’ll face one of five bosses (for a total of 25 levels) – and the bosses aren’t easy to defeat. Each stage has a unique modifier from shifting walls to total darkness which really keeps you on your toes. The other modes included are the Daily Drive challenge where you try to rack up the highest score you can, Infinity Drive challenge where you see how long you can last against increasingly harder enemies, and Boss Rush mode. Each mode has leaderboards, so even once you finish the campaign mode, you’ll be tempted to go back and play again and again in order to try and climb those leaderboards.

Assault-Android-Cactus-Leaderboards

Each stage completed earns you a letter grade and spot on the leaderboard.

The developers have also added a codex, art gallery, sound test lab, and jukebox area where you can unlock and view art, as well as new music which you can apply as the background music during gameplay.

While the game can be played with a keyboard and mouse, it is a twin-stick shooter and is a lot more fun to play with the included game controller support. Either control scheme worked flawlessly, although using a game controller felt much smoother and made the game easier to play.

Graphics

The graphics in Assault Android Cactus are very colourful and well done. The art style fits the game well, from the variation in enemies to the Chibi-style main characters. The amount of detail, and shading as well as the various level design is extremely well done and the gameplay benefits from it immensely.

Assault-Android-Cactus-Graphics

The graphics in Assault Android Cactus are fantastic and enhance the gameplay.

Sound

The sound effects and music in the game are fantastic, the variation in sound between the different attacks to the background music shows that Witch Beam paid just as much attention to detail here. The various background music choices fit nicely and add to the frantic pace of the game.

The one complaint about the sound design is the lack of character voices. The dialogue is relegated to text on screen with blips and bleeps filling in for the actual character and boss voices.

Multiplayer

Assault Android Cactus supports local co-op for up to 4 players, but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to try it out.

Wrap-Up

I’ve never been a huge fan of twin-stick arcade shooters, I tend to get frustrated and/or bored of them quickly. Assault Android Cactus is an exception to this and the gameplay, different modes, and fantastic graphics will be sure to keep me coming back and picking it up to play here and there for some time to come.

Purchase on Steam
***We were sent a review copy of Assault Android Cactus for the purposes of this review.
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