Title: Assault Android Cactus
Platform: Steam, Windows, Linux, OSX, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U
Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Arcade Shooter
Players: Single player, Local 1-
Written by Bad Demoman 1st November 2015
AI don't see a great deal of Arcade-
The presence of a story is perhaps an early departure from the norm of a top down shooter, but its present nonetheless and it's fairly barebones anyway. Cactus is an Android sent to relieve a spaceship of a mutiny staged by its robotic employees, particularly the four Overlords of the ship who control various aspects of the ship's operation. Rescuing various androids along the way (who then become playable!), the story that sets Assault Android Cactus apart from the conventions of a shooter allows for some interesting things. The result is a cohesive level structure with different zones and even a couple of levels that follow a path rather than being a mere arena for the destruction of your foes.
Each of the aforementioned androids has their own style of play through different weapons, subweapons and dialogue with bosses, giving them a personality of sorts, even if it is a fairly small one. My favourite of the androids, Starch, exhibits this particularly well – whenever she speaks to the overlords, they ask how she escaped her containment after “the incident”. Clearly, Starch has more than a few screws loose. The different weapons available are similar to the standard you'd expect in a shooter at first – spread shot, seekers, you get the drill. Later characters make things a little more interesting though, such as Aubergines controllable blade that adds another element to concentration on both dodging and making your shots connect. This variety adds a considerable amount of replayability to AAC, something it's not lacking in the first place due to it's main appeal, at least in my opinion – Scores.
In favour of a standard life system, AAC uses a Battery system. Your battery life slowly ticks down as you progress through a stage, and once it reaches zero, you’re done. You can refill it by collecting battery pickups from enemies, and the only punishment for death is a reduction in score and loss of weapon energy, which upgrades your weapon. If you’ve died to much, you simply won’t have the battery life you need to complete the level! At one point an AI Android fights you and tries to get the battery upgrades before you can, and it’s one of the more interesting fights in the game. I’d love to see it implemented as a Vs. Mode!
Scores may seem a bit old hat now, but back in the Arcades it was something to strive for. Having your name on that board (or at least a 3-
Even if you're not an Arcade Kid I can't recommend Assault Android Cactus enough. Sure, I'm glad that nowadays we have the technology to expand beyond the arena, but the score-
Relive the Arcade Competition,
Story and likeable characters – in a shooter!,
A feeling of satisfaction like no other.
You'll waste hours upon hours trying to best the score of someone half the world away.
Assault Android Cactus gets a 8/10.