Assault Android Cactus Review
Release Date: March 8th, 2019
Publisher/Developer: Witch Beam Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Price: $19.99 (on sale at $14.99)
Space police android Cactus finds more than she was expecting when she boards a derelict freighter and finds the ships robotic crew has mutinied. She recruits other androids who unlike mere robots remain unaffected by the malfunction must sweep the vessel and stop four massive boss robots from having any hope of survival.
If I had to pick one word to describe Assault Android Cactus (AAC), it would be frantic. Memories of the arcade games of my misspent youth from Time Pilot to Gauntlet surface as I play this beautiful old-school shooter that knows how satisfying it is to wield ridiculous firepower. AAC is immediately accessible yet endlessly challenging. The action is intense, the art engaging and the soundtrack perfect for this blast from the future.
Let's dive right in:
The story opens with Cactus who is apparently some kind of android space police (good band name) who is searching for a missing space freighter. She finds the ship derelict and boards it (collides with it) and discovers other androids who have survived an uprising of the ships robot crew. It's up to the player who may take the form of different androids to fight their way through HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ROBOTS to reach the standard science fiction ships core to disable the robots.
Each of nine characters has a unique load-out, Holly, for example, has guided bullets, which while accurate aren’t that powerful, while her secondary weapon is a slow but heavy hitting energy ball. Starch has a beam weapon that does more damage the closer you are to an enemy but requires more precision. She fires a volley of rockets as her secondary weapon.
Essentially you proceed from room to room clearing each. Just to make things interesting the floor might reconfigure under your feet,, or conveyor belts carry you toward enemy strong-points. The enemy gets more complicated as well steadily introducing new units – Some leap at you, some hold you in place, others just beam in and mob you with lasers. Larger enemies tend to soak up your fire leaving you vulnerable. Oh and I forgot to mention you do this on limited battery power, recharging from dropped enemy batteries. If you run out of juice, you have to switch to your secondary weapon which usually operates on a cool-down system. How and when you use each character’s secondary attack is the key to success, you just can’t blast your way through HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ROBOTS.
Developer Witch Beam has done an excellent job play balance is nearly perfect. Get hit too much, and you’ll be knocked down, but can quickly recharge and away you go with only some time lost. You’ll only lose a level if you run out of battery power.
Once you play through there are additional modes and challenges as well, I’d like to tell you all about them, but HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ROBOTS won’t let me.
Assault Android Cactus is what tweens used to dump endless amounts of quarters into in a never-ending quest to beat levels, bosses and of course get the high score. Each level, character, and enemy brings something new, and the end result is a beautifully polished cauldron of chaos packed with variety.
Easy to get started.
difficult to master