Assault android cactus is an addicting twin stick shooter that nails a lot of things. Witch beam has done an amazing job with this title whilst adding the right amount of charm to keep players hooked.
Gameplay - In this chaotic twin stick shooter you play as one of many eclectic androids - each with their own abilities and personality. You have a primary and secondary fire mode along with a quick dodge mechanic that happens when switching between the two. The game encourages players to try different androids and see which one works for them and each levels situation. The overworld is split into 5 zones each with unique and interesting levels that evolve as the battle unfolds. A boss fight is placed at the end of each zone and challenges the player in new and different ways every time round. The player is tasked with defeating each levels waves of enemies and dodging barrages of gunfire. AAC forgoes the lives scheme and instead replaces it with a battery system, in which the player collects batteries as they spawn to keep themselves charged up and thus continuing the level - run out of power and it’s game over. This system is genius in a sense that it makes navigating your way thru hordes of enemies and obstacles frantic during low battery moments. Chaining combos of kills together is very beneficial as enemies drop orbs that can be collected to boost your overall firepower and is essential for gaining momentum amongst the destruction. There are also 3 power ups that spawn. 1 is an EMP that disables all enemies temporarily, another is extra firepower and the last is a speed boost. Collecting the right one at the right time is a skill learned throughout playing and combining them is the ultimate way players can do the most damage and help them progress thru more challenging areas. At the end of the level you are ranked from D to S+. High combos of kills will reward the player with a high score. Mastering your androids skills and abilities adds a ton of replay value to the game. Overall the controls feel fluid and responsive the whole time and weaving in and out of danger feels satisfying. There's even local multiplayer for 4x the onscreen carnage.
Music - The soundtrack for this game is just plain awesome. The electronic and griddy beats you hear or the ominous low tracks really set the tone during intense fights. The entire album is composed by Jeff van Dyck and is available on Spotify.
Achievements - There's no getting around it, some of the achievements in this game are very tough and will take mastering more than one android to grab them all. There are the standard ones you’d expect to see like completing a level without getting hit and attaining a certain combo. There's also the more challenging ones like earning S+ ranks on all levels and reaching a high wave in boss rush mode. These higher tier achievements will take time but the game is so fun and addicting that it will push you to unlock them. In general, the achievements are reasonable and fun to hunt for.
This game is an absolute blast and is definitely one you can just pick up and play at anytime. With its regular campaign stages, boss rush mode and infinity mode, there's a lot of content and enjoyment here. Pushing the player to expand their play-style and choosing the right android to overcome difficult obstacles is what makes this game stand out the most. The amount of variety and creativity packed into this game is exceptional. Whilst difficult, the game is similar to Cuphead in a sense that it feels balanced and fair most of the time. A must have for any run & gun fan.