Even on a genre as niche as the shoot ’em up, there’s subgenres within. There are space shooters, some are side scrollers, others use a top down perspective, there’s the bullet hell kind too… I consider myself a pretty open-minded person so, even though I have my preferences, I can enjoy most of them.
But what about games that are a mishmash? Some developers just don’t want to commit to one style, they’d rather collect different mechanics from different genres for their work to produce results as varied as their games. Astebreed could be included in that category so let’s see how it turned out for them.
Astebreed is a 3D shoot ’em up game for the ps4. It’s most distinctive trait it’s its cinematic approach to the genre, opting to showcase the action in the flashiest way with perspectives changing dynamically in the middle of the levels some short but awesome cutscenes that give the game some added value.
During the game you’ll be taking control over some sort of top notch mech. There’s no weapon pick-ups nor selection, instead, all of the methods of attack of your machine are always available for you to use. The game’s combat then relies more on skill than on strategy even though you still should use your weapons wisely depending on the threat before you.
Those different attack methods would be a regular spread shot attack, a homing one that requires you some previous lock on, laser-katana strokes that can destroy some enemy bullets, a dash useful for evading as much as attack (think of resogun) and also special attacks that need to be charged up. Every kind of attack is mapped to different buttons on the controler so going from one method to another feels agile and useful.
The game’s graphics are overall pretty good. Like in most shoot em’ ups, the objects don’t usually have high polygon counts but instead prefering to showcase a bigger number of objects themselves. There will be times in the game when the screen will be completely loaded with enemies shooting any type of projectiles at you and luckily, the framerate will keep up with those frantic moments.
On the audio department the game performs pretty well. The music is appropiate for the genre and the theme and so are the different effects. Also, it should be mention that the game has full voiceover work but, unfortunately for me, it’s all in japanese. So whichever snippets of story were delivered during the most intense fights, got completely lost in translation as I was unable to read the subtitles when having to dodge a thousand lasers.
Things I liked
- Flashy: The game has some impressive camera work changing perspectives and interlacing cool cutscenes with the action. It makes an already intense game appear to be even more frantic.
- Agile: The robot you’ll be commanding has several methods for defending himself and they’re all well implemented. You’ll be locking on a flock of small enemy fighters behind you then boost through the ones coming from your right and then as you appear right before the battleship you’ll be using your katana to tear it down in a couple strokes. Sounds awesome to you? It sure was to play.
- Story: It’s not like the game has the deepest story ever but, like in fighting games, usually shoot ’em ups have the worst stories if they have one at all. Astebreed has a decent one and it’s complemented by a quite interesting lore as well.
Things I didn’t
- Short: Depending on the difficulty level you’ll be playing on and your own skill, you might need more or less time to complete the game but, in any case, it can be less than an hour. That’s a common thing on arcade type games like this that are all about score attack but it still should be noted.
Who’d like this?
Fan of shoot ’em ups? Get it now. Shoot ’em ups don’t get much better than this so you definitely shouldn’t miss it.