Everyday Shooter

As modern computer games swiftly grow more complex, adding new, wonderful and amazing features to every aspect of the experience, it's easy to lose sight of the core mechanics that make a game enjoyable. The likes of Heavenly Sword might push graphical capability to new frontiers, but it's arguable that big-budget titles like that actually miss the key points that make a game fun. This isn't the case for every game released on the PS3, but it is a flaw that has been allowed to surface, thanks to the distraction of gimmicks, licenses, and a variety of pretty effects. The Playstation Store has been quite effective at allowing titles to surface which ignore much of the modern wizardry and focus instead on making a simple concept an enjoyable one. Several games already have returned to the roots of gaming with Asteroids-style shooters, featuring ships confronted by wave after wave of enemy and obstacle. Everyday Shooter is the next to appear in this line of games, with the main hero being a tiny white wedge on the screen, confronted by wave after wave of, erm, strange coloured shapes. It's not like fighting at the cellular level in Blast Factor, and it's not planetary defence like Super Stardust, Everyday Shooter is all about fighting funny shapes and, er, stuff.

Everyday Shooter

Despite the game's attempt at returning to root gameplay, emphasized by the developer's description in the game, it's not entirely free of gimmicks, since the real draw of Everyday Shooter, and the feature that sets it apart from the likes of Super Stardust, is the fact that the music is reactive. Each level lasts only as long as the soundtrack item associated with the level, and new enemies arrive and disappear at set intervals on a timeline displayed at the bottom of the screen, appearing much like the progress bar on a standard media player. As enemies are destroyed, extra layers appear in the music, and more riffs are added in response to your progress. In particular, if you destroy something on screen that triggers a chain reaction, you can expect a cacophony of effects to follow, making every level's soundtrack unique to each play. It might seem like a slight contradiction that a game trying so hard to be clear of modern clutter is actually reliant on a gimmick, but the implementation is pretty good, and an integral part of the gameplay. As a result, the musical and gameplay is intertwined in such a way that nothing feels like a last-minute thought, and neither component would be truly the same without the other.

It's not just the music that responds to your actions either. The colours employed in the game are far from subtle and free from the restraints imposed by modern textures and shading. The screen is always populated by bright bold colours, sharp edges and vibrant clutter, all of which are happy to react along with the music, flashing brightly in response to effective moves, and mirroring the story told by the soundtrack. In all honesty, it's perhaps a little too loud on occasion, but it does at least convey its meaning effectively. There's almost no need, as a result, for any boss encounters or motivating storyline, simply because the point of the game isn't to defend planets from aliens intent on causing misdemeanours; instead you simply shoot random strangeness, make a whole load of noise and gradually work your way through a series of varied levels.

Everyday Shooter

Each level might share a common theme, since each essentially involves shooting the puffcake out of everything in sight, but they're surprisingly individual. Where one level might look asteroids-like, with a space-style theme, another has a far more biological feel to it. Others are completely out of this world, and each has its own personality, not just visually but musically too. It's all simple stuff, with nothing like the level of detail seen in big disc-based releases, but it doesn't seem to have ever had that sort of flourish in mind. Just like the other shooters on the store already, it knows what the game's strengths are, and should be, and doesn't attempt to set new standards visually or even with the audio, despite the focus on music. It really is all about playing the game and returning to garage-based videogame development.

The only problem is, the game must follow in the footsteps of Super Stardust and Blast Factor. Were those titles not already in existence, Everyday Shooter might seem quite special on the store. Instead, the game arrives long after the competition and is unable to match the shooting prowess of things like Stardust. The variety of perfectly-tuned weapons in Super Stardust, and accompanying HD, snazzy sharpness make it look considerably better than Everyday Shooter, and even the music of the latter title can't save it. While reactive music is great, many would probably prefer the superb score of Stardust to the random riffs of Everyday Shooter. It's a shame, really, that a game that is doing a great job of highlighting what is important about games isn't really managing to capture the thing it feels is so important. It comes close, but this is an average game that is all about games, without the strength to really back it up. The effort is well-placed, but it just falls short of greatness in a Playstation Store already filled with excellent titles.

Game details

Game logo

Publisher:

Sony

Developer:

Queasy Games

Players:

1

Online:

None

Release:

2008-02-14

Trophies:

0

Review summary

Gameplay:

Nice balanced, fun to play

Graphics:

Pretty and bright, clever reaction to music

Sound:

Good use of sound: reacting to gameplay

Lastability:

A decent challenge, with replayability

6.5

Aurora

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