I recently have had the pleasure of e-meeting the developers behind an incredible new twin-stick shooter called Assault Android Cactus which is currently available on Steam Early Access (and as a playable demo) and will arrive on the PS Vita, PlayStation 4, and Wii U as well as provide support for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows PC Gaming platforms. After getting my own two hands on the title and speaking in-depth with Witch Beam about AAC I can definitely say that what makes this game stand out from others gunning for attention right now is the love and care the devs have put into it. With a real focus on platform specificity too, this is not just a game getting ported around but rather having tailor fit versions for each machine it ends up landing on. In the following article I will describe some of the discussions I had with Witch Beam in regards to Assault Android Cactus and also what each platform of gamer can expect out there. Later this week keep your eyes out for my hands-on Preview as well.
Characters / Gameplay: For starters, players are getting something special each time they decide to switch up characters in the game. With each character representing a different play-style, the primary and secondary weapons players will use are unique to each character. Each character also has a different dialogue with the bosses fought in the game in addition to having their own personalities and animations.
Cactus uses a Machine Gun as a primary which provides players with a stable base gun shooting in straight lines with a Flamethrower for a secondary. Coral is more advanced with a Shotgun for a main and Plasma Field for a secondary which is short range and pushes enemies away damaging the ones who are unlucky enough to make their way inside of the field. Aubergine showcases something even more unexpected than the Plasma Field Coral sports by introducing a Helo companion which is used by players holding the fire button and releasing it to direct the chopper-style destroyer out to targets in the distance challenging the user to gauge their distancing from enemies. There’s also a Singularity Generator which creates black holes that suck enemies in.
Holly holds a Seeker Gun with slower bullets that home in on their target with a Cannon Ball for a secondary that causes huge damage and goes through many enemies but must be timed and aimed perfectly. Lemon uses the classic spread-shot with 3 prong bullet pattern leveling up as it goes. Something to note here, all primary weapons level up for each character as the player progresses. Coral for example gets a bigger area effect on her Shotgun. It’s really great to see the back-story given to each character while playing the title as well and gives you a feel for who they are as a person (androids are persons too right?) but anyways, back to the weapons breakdown! Lemon’s side-arm is a Rocket Launcher which is good against large enemies and tight packs of smaller ones. Perhaps one of the most interesting characters, Starch uses a Laser with a full range beam that’s thicker / thinner based on how far away the target is to Starch. The secondary weapon Starch uses is a Micro Missile Launcher.
Characters are unlocked throughout gameplay with Catcus, Coral, Holly, and Lemon being available from the start as to allow 4 player local co-op through a various form of solutions depending on which platform you’re using, and characters like Starch, Aubergine, and two yet to be revealed characters being unlocked later on. Speaking of the various ways players can do 4 player co-op locally, let’s jump into that for a minute.
Multiplayer / Exclusive Platform Features: On the Windows / Linux / Mac OS X versions of the game players get keyboard and mouse support for those who want it but can also mix and match controllers with multiplayer and remap controllers or use the many supported such as the Xbox 360 controller, Native DualShock 4 controls, many Logitech and other gamer controllers, and any X-Input wrapper controller such as DualShock 3 by the use of programs or custom drivers (or native on Linux). Pulling together the controllers in the house, or having friends bring their favorite controller over, means that it won’t be too hard to get 4 people playing together – even on a PC!
For the Sony PlayStation 4 version of the game of course DualShock 4 is supported and the light bar denotes which character you are playing as with the controller’s speaker calling things out during multiplayer sessions specific to your character. The PlayStation Vita can also be used as a controller for PS4 multiplayer sessions and the PlayStation version of the game will be cross-buy with cross-save capabilities featured.
Nintendo Wii U also features a unique way to play with 4 players including support for the Pro Controller, Wii U GamePad, WiiMote + Nunchuk combination as a virtual mouse and keyboard replacement, and possibly more (the game still isn’t finished yet after all). The Nintendo Wii U version of Assault Android Cactus will also feature a unique GamePad UI with the potential for even more Wii U exclusive features being planned as we speak which have yet to be revealed.
Story: For those wondering what’s going on with all of these characters and features and why there are androids attacking robots, Assault Android Cactus is actually pretty thoughtful in delivering and presenting a great story with cut-scenes still in development currently not available in the Early Access Build (but coming to the final product on all platforms). Cactus is a police android responding to a distress call. She catches up to the source of this call and ends up coming across what is essentially a rogue ship that starts shooting anti-asteroid weapons. She busts in landing on the ship and discovers 3 others. The 4 decide that together they’ll reboot the ship’s brain core. Over the course of the game each section of the ship has a lord who must be conquered. More information about the past of each playable character as well as the situation they are dealing with on-hand is revealed by the section lords as the game moves forward.
Enemies: Every new enemy forces players to react and move in different ways. The keg for example is a splatter bot. Green kegs do melee damage whereas white kegs stop and fire three projectiles at times in your direction. This precise pattern occurs as they all spawn around you. Red kegs fire in 3 directions simultaneously. Bombers will shoot spike bombs tracking slowly and they’ll explode if they get near you taking you down. Combinations of enemies change how players have to act. Each zone has 4 levels and then a boss. There are new enemy types in nearly every single level and with the break-neck speeds at which Assault Android Cactus takes place these enemies will keep you on your toes to say the least. Examples of later enemies include the Rocket Dog which fires tracking missiles and a giant version of it firing eight of these.
Level Design: At its heart Assault Android Cactus is a twin-stick (dual-stick) shooter taking place in arenas going from one point to another. The gameplay maintains a variety and fresh dynamic partly to the credit of levels changing as the game goes on. In the start of the title an elevator the player is riding is moving down as enemies climb up onto it and drop down onto it, fly in, then the elevator opens and players are in a bigger playing field when the box that was with them on the elevator explodes revealing a new enemy type. Much more dynamic levels will come later down the line as well and this gives a brief taste of how fluid the final build of the game will feel with all levels and cut-scenes completed and in place.
Graphics: The PC version of Assault Android Cactus supports 120hz gaming and 120 frames per second at max resolution. There’s also triple monitor support added for those who want it though the game is optimally viewed on a single screen. All consoles including the handheld Vita will have a goal of a smooth 60 frames per second with resolution expected to be high but taking a backseat to the solid 60 fps. As for me myself, I am currently previewing the title on a fairly dated machine with little to no resources to spare and still achieving a solid, locked 60 frames per second without downgrading the settings or resolution in settings – it literally runs like butter and feels great on the DualShock 4 without any custom drivers or wrappers required (more on my experience coming soon in the full RealGamerNewz Preview of the game).
Wii U / Vita / PS4 Release Date: Though you can get the game now on Steam Early Access, players will be getting a sneak peak and helping influence development. The final build will release on PC in Early 2014 with support for Linux, Mac OS X, as well as Windows PC. Console versions should come Early 2014 after the PC version has been nailed down, finalized, and updated on Steam’s offerings. Check back with RealGamerNewz.com for the latest news about the game as well as Preview and Review articles as we get more time playing the game.
***Editor’s Note: If you have any questions for the team at Witch Beam be sure to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to get them answered! RGN over and out!!!