For the longest time, I have a GBA emulator on my phone. In fact, I still do. I do that and went through all the trouble to get GBA roms that Nintendo haven’t cease-and-desist’d to death yet because the mobile games on the Google Play Store are simply horrid. Well, a few months ago, I found this game.
This is the first screen you see when you enter the game. The random items in the room, like the potted plant, gives you buffs when you spend gems to upgrade it. The slot machine, should you win, gives you a nice weapon to start a session with, but each roll costs 50 gems. The chest will give you a random basic weapon, but they aren’t exactly good, although it does give you a leg up sometimes. The characters you see are all unlockable playable characters, except for this fella below who kinda looks like a bullet. And also the guy with a box on the right , he’s just there to deliver you your daily bonus of 500 gems.
Being a F2P mobile game, there are, of course, microtransactions. Some characters can be unlocked with gems, others with real-life dosh. Each character that needs to be unlocked with money costs SGD1.48 over here. Can’t really grudge them for it, since you don’t need them to play the game properly, they need the money to survive as a studio, and this is a really nice game.
Aside from that, do you see the staircase on the bottom left of the screen?
That leads to your armory and bestiary. It keeps a record of all the weapons you find, and all the monsters you face when you brave the dungeons. Every session has 3 playable levels, and each level has 5 stages. Each level will have a unique theme and a unique set of enemies.
But I suppose I need to start talking about the game itself, no?
The game can best be described as a top-down bullet hell rogue-lite dungeon crawler. You have procedurally-generated dungeons inhabited by enemies. But rather than talking about it, I suppose it’s easier to show you a video of this.
The game uses a Halo-esque life system. You have armour, which is represented by the grey bar, that’ll deplete upon getting hit but will eventually replenish itself out of combat. But once the armour is depleted, any damage you take will deplete your actual health bar (the red bar), and that’ll only refill with health potions or with a particular power-up that has a chance to replenish one unit of health on a kill. Also, if the damage you take is larger than the amount of shields you have, the leftover damage will be deducted from your health. Of course, unless you have the power-up that’ll negate that extra damage once your last shield unit is gone.
The weapons are one of the main starts of this game. The slot machine has a chance of giving you something really cool, like a fish that shoots a laser beam out of its mouth. The chest in the living room, as mentioned, gives you a random basic weapon. And then there are brown chests in the dungeons, which can either give you a health potion, a mana potion, or a spiffing new gun. The white chest you get after clearing each room has a rare chance of giving you one of those three things mentioned above. A blue chest, as far as I recall, guarantees a weapon drop that’s generally better than what a brown chest can give you.
But the brown chest holds a dark secret…
And I suppose this is time I talk about the enemies and the combat proper.
The reason I called this a bullet hell game is because there really isn’t any aiming involved in your part. The game auto-targets the closest enemy (marked by a red circle beneath them) and all you need to do is to fire away while keeping an eye out for incoming melee foes and enemy gunfire. The bullet hell aspect becomes the most apparent during a boss fight.
And you may notice that some enemies are larger and are surrounded by purple particles. The game may randomly decide to spawn in an enhanced version of a common enemy, granting them more health and a higher firing rate. And woe unto you if the game decides to enhance a miniboss-type mook.
The weapons can deal random crits. For most weapons, that just means extra damage. But some weapons have extra attributes on them. Fire-based and poison-based weapons deals damage over time if the shot is a crit, while ice-based weapons freezes the enemy in place. And yes, there are upgrades that can let these element-based weapons deal extra damage. And there is also an upgrade that increases crit chance.
And as stated earlier, every stage has its own theme, its own background music, and its own set of enemies. And thus, in total, there are 4 different stages. No, I didn’t say that wrong, there are four different stages, although you’ll only play three in each session.
When you beat Stage 1, you get to choose between two different stages for your Stage 2. Stage 3 is the same regardless of your choice.
You can sometimes find statues in the levels. By worshiping the statues (give it coins), you can get a new effect whenever you use your skill (that lightning symbol thingamajigger). The Knight statue spawns a temporary melee follower that attacks enemies which I always find quite handy.
And speaking of followers, you can recruit people you find for coins. They can die, but they generally can take quite a bit of abuse and they’re somewhat handy to have around. They have their own attacks and random lines (text lines in this case), which is a neat little bit of detail.
And sometimes, you can find a crystal room. Blue ones drop mana when you break it, while orange ones drop coins.
And once you beat all three stages, you unlock Badass mode, which is essentially New Game+. So for those people who can’t pass a day without self-flagellating chanting “Praise the Sun” every day, here’s an option for you.
Oh, I almost forgot:
The newest update added vending machines and having playable characters appear as NPC followers. They have a random chance to appear in your spawn room, and for this picture I was lucky enough for both of them to appear in my spawn room. You can spend coins at vending machine to either get potions or a random weapon. The new NPC followers does not need coins for you to hire them, but you do need to unlock them first, thus giving you an incentive to unlock as many characters as possible.
And they also added a multiplayer mode!
The developer, Chilly Games, put in a really large amount of care and effort into this game, constantly polishing it and adding new elements to the gameplay. They have a nice game which doesn’t ape other popular mobile games (as far as I know…) and they spend a lot of time improving said game. For that they deserve a lot of praise and half an hour of my time every day. And money.
So yes, do give this game a shot, it’s really good.