Game Review: Assault Android Cactus (PC)

Assault Android Cactus is a PC based indie manic twin stick shooter game developed by Witch Beam done in the classic arcade tradition. Assault Android Cactus is currently available on PC and will be available on other platforms in early 2016.

The game starts off with a cut scene of Cactus in a little ship, that she crashes through the side of a bigger ship where she accidentally kills a big robot and saves other androids like herself. You then go through a mini tutorial on the controls. This took me a little bit to master as I am still relatively new to PC gaming. Once you are done, you get to choose any of the other 4 Androids that you saved. The dev we met at PaxPrime suggested I use Lemon as she is the easiest to use when you are first starting out.

Since you are an android, you need battery power to stay operational. I have found that there is no real rhyme or reason as to when you get battery packs, so you have to be very strategic in how you are shooting (you can’t just go all crazy with yourself) –  I have died MANY times due to not getting a battery pack at all or running out of power before getting to the battery pack. You get the battery packs from killing the robots in the game, these robots also give special power-ups that last until you run out of health – something you are able to do with no end in sight. The only way to die is to run out of battery.

The special power-ups include:

  • Accelerate (yellow): Main element is increased movement speed, also adds magnetism for moving collectibles, and adds damage reduction.
  • Firepower (red): You get twin drones on either side of you that shoot when you shoot.
  • Shutdown (blue) Sends a pulse that disables all enemies within a range of its collection and they receive 50% additional damage when attacked.

There are 9 characters to play with:

  • Cactus sports the classic Vulcan-style machine gun that is fast and precise.
  • Holly has homing bullets, which are not all that powerful but help her maintain kill combos more easily. Her secondary weapon is an energy cannonball that slowly travels across the screen but does a lot of damage.
  • Lemon has the classic spread shot and a mini rocket launcher as her secondary weapon.
  • Coral uses a slow reload, short range shot gun that clears groups at a time. Her secondary weapon is a plasma field capable of repelling enemy bullets and dealing damage to everything nearby.
  • Starch has a laser beam that does more damage the closer you are to an enemy. Her secondary weapon is a micro missile.
  • Aubergine does not have gun, instead she controls a spinning robot called Helo. She drives him into enemies remotely. Her Singularity Generator creates mini black holes to suck enemies together.
  • Shiitake uses a Railgun that is a bit slow does some decent damage.  Her secondary weapon allows her to set traps by activating her Propeller Mines. This comes in handy when she is backpedaling.
  • Peanut uses a Magma Welder that sprays molten metal leaving hazardous puddles. Her secondary weapon is a rocket propelled Giga Drill capable of sending her screaming across the stage impale large enemies and screw them to the wall.

There is a map that shows all the levels and if you are stuck on one you don’t have to worry, you are able to skip levels and go back when you want. I am currently done the first platform and have moved onto the next. I died many many many times and will continue to do so as I go. I thought that each level would just get boring as you are essentially doing the same thing each level – kill all the robots. However, that is not the case, with new robots coming in and the waves coming faster and faster and battery packs coming less often it is quite challenging and I look forward to continue to play it.

I can not do this review without touching on its AMAZING soundtrack, which unlocks in the Jukebox as you go, making it possible to listen to it without having to play the game. I wish more games had the ability to do this.

The graphics are simple yet detailed. I find them very cute and I do not mean that in a bad way almost a cross between old school graphics and Chibi’s.

The only thing I would change is being able to skip the cut scenes. I should mention that you are able to play Assault Android Cactus as a multiplayer game, I however have only played it single player (except at Pax when David and I were first introduced to the game). Overall I quite enjoy playing Assault Android Cactus and would recommend it to anyone that enjoys the frantic, shoot anything that comes your way, yet strategic kind of game. I know David and I will continue to play this game until we beat it – just to find the time to do so….

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