55 minutes playtime

    1 of 14 achievements

This is a platformer. A jumps and X does a kick that has way too short of a range given how quickly the first enemies beeline towards you and how delayed the kick is. After a few rooms, the game introduces guns, but doesn’t tell you how to use them; turns out it’s a twin-stick shooter now: right stick to aim, R2 to shoot (you can also jump with L2 instead of A). You have your choice between different guns, but they’re either too weak (taking 3-4 hits to kill even the weakest enemies), too slow (making you wait a solid second or two before you can fire another shot), or have a random chance to veer just enough from where you’re aiming to miss the enemy.

Half of the enemies blend into the scenery. Tiny snails can hide behind rocks or dark-grey metal birds can be placed next to dark-purple weeds on the ceiling in front of a dark background. Sometimes, killing one of those snails will cause tiny green mushrooms-or-something to spawn where it died, and these also kill you on contact. The way the game introduces explosive barrels (at the beginning of the second level, or as the game calls it, “level 1” because the first stage is “level 0”) is to put one at the bottom of a jump with enemies on each side, so when you go to shoot the enemies, you shoot the barrel and blow yourself up. It seems like whenever I stopped being overly paranoid and shooting all the background objects, I’d get killed with no way to figure out how it happened.

There’s also rocket launchers and enemy spawners. The rockets fire much faster than you can move and the launcher always points at you, so it’s less about reacting to it and more about anticipating when it will fire (there’s no telegraphing for it, either). The spawners generate three tiny enemies that beeline your last known position (updated every second or two), which wouldn’t be that big of a deal if any of the guns were decent. Plus, these enemies activate several units off-screen, so you could drop down an empty vertical shaft that turns into a seemingly empty hall, then suddenly a rocket flies in from off-screen and kills you. The final level puts them in especially devious places: rockets are placed in little nooks beside the top of vertical shafts where you can’t hit them with a straight-shooting weapon from below and you can’t jump in/out of their sight because their rockets are too fast, so you need to just rush through and anticipate when it’ll fire its rockets, jumping accordingly. It’s even worse with the enemy spawners: it starts as just a room with lasers, so you need to wait for them to turn off, but they’re so low that you need to be in morph ball (defenseless) mode to avoid them. Problem is, the last laser ends at a point where the hall opens up above you, and there are two enemy spawners off-screen, so if the laser catches you right at the end, you’ll suddenly get attacked by the spawned enemies with no way to defend yourself. Oh, and even if you make it through, it’ll still be enough time for one of them to start spawning the enemies, and you’ll be close enough that you’ll need to get rid of them quickly before they kill you (you can’t just run away because this room ends with another laser that requires you to wait in morph ball mode, giving the spawned enemies plenty of time to catch up to you).

In contrast, the bosses are super easy. The first one is just a mouth that doesn’t move and only spawns human enemies directly below it (not only are humans visually-distinct from the background, but they don’t beeline towards you until you’re in their line of sight, or in this case, about a second after they spawn). The second and final boss swaps the genre for a bland horizontal shmup: tiny bullets infrequently spawn and slowly move to the left while the boss moves up and down. Ah, but it wouldn’t be complete without one more unfair cheap shot, so if you get too close to a bullet vertically, it’ll suddenly bolt vertically towards you and kill you.

Not recommended.