Shoot ’em ups have been quiet. That’s OK though, because this one revives the genre and hands you a sword.
I don’t think anyone should jump into this genre of game and expect a fantastic story that will blow everything before it out of the water. What you should come to expect from a shoot ’em up is flashy visuals, plenty of explosion noises and some pretty big numbers. Thankfully, Astebreed delivers on all of these fronts while making some unique changes to the usual formula.
The team over at Edelweiss is no stranger to such things.
As I stated before, the story that you have here is nothing spectacular. The Filune (a bunch of strange, mechanical aliens) begin to reign destruction across many planets. Grato Nono decides that he is the hero the galaxy needs and ends up failing miserably, losing not only his squad, but his mecha as well. Thankfully, Fiona Nono, one of Grato’s daughters, manages to save him in an abnormal mecha. The two are picked up by a fleet that was sent out against the Filune. Fiona is later paired with the young Roy Beckett. Together, the two fight against the Filune in the mysterious mecha only to find out Estina Nono, Fiona’s sister, has teamed up with the Filune. Following the story, however, is a difficult thing to do as most of the time it’s presented while you’re playing the game. For anyone who doesn’t speak Japanese, you’ll have to read the small text boxes that are provided while at the same time trying to keep yourself alive.
As mentioned before, the shortcoming of the story is picked up by the tight controls and melee mechanic that is brought in for the gameplay. To start, you mecha is equipped with two kinds of firing modes. One mode shoots bullets in a spread out pattern, while the other is a more direct, streamlined method of fire. Both of these types of fire can be charged and locked onto enemies. Upon release of the charge, a barrage of bullets will seek the enemy and deal damage based on how long the charge was done for. Charging your shots is not only important for dealing with multiple enemies on the screen or dealing with the boss fights. They’re the only way of shooting behind you. The other way of attacking enemies from behind is by using your sword that swings all around your mecha. While not only is it cool for the fact that you have a giant sweeping sword to begin with, the game encourages the use of it as you gain more points and multiplier when taking on enemies with it.
On the sound front, it’s your usual standard fare of explosion and future-tech gun noises you’ve heard from everything else. What does stand out from this is the over the top Japanese voice acting. This, I believe, adds to the overall experience of the game making you feel like you’re in something bigger than you really are. It also adds to the niche appeal that the games Anime inspired art style already started out with.
Overall, that’s what you get with the $15 dollar Astebreed. What’s provided is the short story that can be done within an hour and the only reason to have you come back after is the varying difficulty and the leaderboard. Honestly, for how well everything is executed here, that’s plenty enough to keep anyone who is a fan of the genre coming back to it. A couple of playthroughs and I still don’t feel like I’m done with it.
If you’re waiting for a number: 8.5/10
Ethics Disclosure: The reviewer was provided a review build of the game, and later the final Steam release by the games publisher, Playism.