Game: Assault Android Cactus
Platform: PS4, PC, Wii U
Developer: Witch Beam
Initial Release: September 23, 2015
Assault Android Cactus is exactly what an arcade style shooter is supposed to be – Relentless Chaos at its finest. This twin stick shooter was originally released on PC in 2015 and finally makes its way to consoles by way of PS4 and Wii U. For the purpose of this review we will place the PS4 edition under our special brand of judgement. Android Cactus does have its ups and downs, but the good outweighs the bad by a few pounds. Let’s talk.
Relentless Chaos at its Finest!
You start off playing as an Android space cop by the name of Cactus who responds to a distress call from an abandoned ship. Cactus quickly finds out that the ship’s robot workforce has turned against the Androids aboard the ship so she and the rag tag band of Androids must put things back in order. There are four Androids that are playable from the start with more that can be unlocked as you play. Each have different special abilities along with unique personalities that range from very humorous in nature to flat out deranged. Now that the characters and plot have been introduced let’s dive into Android Cactus’ special brand of mayhem.
What the developers of Android Cactus have done really well is take a twin stick shooter that does not take itself too seriously and make it so fun and competitive that you have no choice but to take it seriously. The action is non stop and absolutely chaotic but is well balanced, so much so that there is a bit of finesse on display among all of the chaos. Each character has a primary weapon and a unique special weapon that you must strategically alternate between to gain the advantage in many combat situations. I found myself facing hordes of enemies that in many cases filled the whole screen with a parade of bullets that I had to dodge while taking out multiple targets and dodging explosives all at the same time. Skill is needed as the more damage you do and less you get hit the more combo chains you will connect. Score chasers will love this aspect as there is a leader board that allows you to compete with friends and the rest of the world and at the end of each level you are graded. Yes, graded like you’re in high school or something.
The most unique element in Android Cactus is that your character is powered by a battery that slowly depletes over time and will accelerate in depletion every time you get hit by an enemy. The only way to get a recharge to your battery is by taking out several targets in which case the game throws you a bone by dropping a battery on the map that you must retrieve. I liked this element of the game because, it keeps you on your toes and forces you to constantly move and be aggressive. Being aggressive not only keeps you alive but killing enemies also grants you various power ups that help turn the tide of the battle in your favor.
Boss fights play a major role as each zone has a boss that you must defeat in order to proceed. Each boss fight is well thought out and almost perfectly executed presenting an unexpected challenge while maintaining the fun spirited nature of the game. Each one is reminiscent of the fast paced chaos in the rest of the game that has you dodging an unreasonable array of fire power along with trying to figure out how to take down the towering robotic beast that is trying to kill you. I rage quit so many times during boss battles it’s not even funny!
WHAT DON’T KNOCK
Android Cactus offers 4 player local co op which is extremely fun if you can get friends over to your house to play, but there is no online co op which is a major flaw in my opinion. The game is so much more fun with friends and is set up to the point where it thrives off of teamwork. The difficulty increases with the more players that join up which forces you and your team to come up with different strategic ways to complete each level and manage the power ups and batteries that are dropped. Sadly you probably won’t experience this and is a missed opportunity. The lack of online co op also takes away from the replay value. Sure there are additional game types that you can play after you beat the main game, but those did not hold my attention for too long as playing by myself began to get a bit dull.
Embrace the Chaos!
Assault Android Cactus does so much right and takes me back to the days where arcade style shooters reigned supreme. Lighthearted funny characters, seizure inducing action, challenging boss battles, – What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, that’s right, this game definitely stands in need of online co op to increase its longevity. Overall I recommend Assault Android Cactus as the positives definitely outweigh the negatives by a few pounds. This is a game that will appeal to fans of this genre and new comers alike.