After the close of GSC I finally stopped wearing black as I mourned S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2’s cancellation, I started looking for more information. Yes Survarium is the spiritual successor and will no doubt have me wearing my balaclava sipping some vodka.
But a small game slipped past. I never knew that a game was born from someone from the original team, and of all the games it could be, it was a shmup on Kickstarter. With few shmups being made these days, and CAVE closing down, it means that good shmups (such as Bullet Hell) are hard to come by. It’s an old genre that was designed to empty your pockets in arcades, so it’s nice to see a fresh take on the genre with some changes to the design.
In Humans Must Answer you pilot a scouting ship that have stumbled upon our own solar system, piloted by chickens… yes chickens. After trying to make contact with the humans, and being fired upon, in return your Golden Eagle scout ship goes through the defences in different levels whilst they are on the lookout for their mission. To go through the story you proceed through the multiple levels currently available, which is as expected. Each level of course will bring you closer to the chickens final mission.
For any old fans of R-Type or Gradius, the controls of the game will seem normal, a side scrolling shmup with enemies only closing in from the right hand side. You start off with a basic ship and collect points from finding money or completing certain tasks, and of course killing the humans and their robots. You can upgrade your ship as you go along through the levels, basic upgrades such as higher firepower, more spread, and how fast your shots recharge are pretty cheap, and useful for when you’re in a situation that needs prolonged fire. You can also buy new powers such as being able to leave a turret that will proceed to fire straight ahead of it for a certain amount of time, with higher upgrades allowing it to stay there for longer periods. The shop that is here in this beta is quite well stocked and will keep you collecting for quite a while, if there is more added in the final release it will become quite a challenge to collect enough to end up with a flying fortress of chickens, bringing humans to their… or our doom.
Graphically the game is pretty to look at, your ship and most of the enemies are all 2D sprites, all looking very clean and crisp even at higher resolutions but one part I enjoyed quite a bit was the effects that the game has. Explosions look lovely and very satisfying, with robots and humans exploding with large shock waves and fiery death. Never let it be said that any shmup would not benefit from more fires and explosions. There are some great effects with lighting as well, with some backgrounds having lovely God ray effects when the structures go past causing quite a nice soft effect. Though it is a little disappointing that this same effect doesn’t carry over to when either the player ship or enemies ships fly over the same space. Though even though its a small thing, it would be nice to see this added for the full release. Bosses are also large and quite a spectacle, with single moving turrets that need to be destroyed first to stop them gunning you down, and then slowly working on the rest of the ship. This part feels very old school and remind me of boss fights on many old games where you needed to focus on different parts to bring down the larger enemy boss. They help to break up the game and also give a big boost to the players fund.
Music and sound effects in the game are nice as well, though nothing amazing, though I feel it would be wasted mostly due to the fact that in later levels the amount of explosions would block out most of the music anyway, what is there is nice and fitting to the over all theme, space chickens flying to meet the humans, so there isn’t any complaints here.
Right now even though it is currently a demo the game is very playable, and is a good move as more people will get to experience the game. It is currently on Steam Green Light and if it goes through will hopefully be met with a warm reception. Other shmups on Steam such as James Town were received well, and it will be nice to see more retro based games that are not all just side scrolling platforms with massive pixels for an art style.
Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=102856657