Legacy Review, Critic Review (2),
The world has been taken over by an alien invasion. On the eve of destruction, humanity calls out for help! Octonaut is a retro shoot’em up inspired by 16-bit classics. Save the world from alien invasion by shooting and dodging your way through 8 action-packed levels with sinister bosses! Collect a variety of power-ups including lasers, bowling balls and ninja stars to take down enemies and defend the planet.
At the very end of the 1989 or very early 1990 I was invited around to a friends house before school to check out his new game.
He told me it was the best game he ever played and I should get it too for that Sega master System I still resented owning because I still wanted a Nes (we'll leave that story for another time)
I went around and had a solid hour of play time with R-Type.
I'd played the odd shoot em up before then but not to any significant play time.
It was that day and a few subsequent weeks after that of playing little else at his house other than R-Type my dislike occasionally boarding on hatred for Shoot em up's was born.
Over the years I've tried dozens more and none have managed to hold my attention more than a few days at best it's just not a genre I have much time for, some people hate 100 hour RPG'S I love them we're all different and that's okay with me.
Despite all of that I thought if ever a game was going to win me over as a shoot em up a little orange octopus had as good a chance as any other so I accepted the review copy and here we go.
Playing as Octonaut the little orange octopus and only hope of mankind you're thrust straight into the action in the first of 8 total levels.
The majority of enemies die with one hit throughout the game and everything starts off at a steady pace to ease in new players to the genre while shoot em up veterans will more than likely breeze through the first half of the game with few issues.
Killing enemies sometimes results in them dropping green gems, shooting these gems changes their colour (green, yellow, red, purple, violet) and therefore their points value.
Shooting the gem again once it's turned violet will revert the gem back to green and of course give you less points assuming you have the time between bullet dodging and shooting to collect them in the first place.
I'm not convinced that high score chasing will be a feature all that many players care about with this particular game but I've always been of the opinion having more options for fans of a game is better than not having something that most people will probably ignore.
The coloured gems do have more significance if your a fan of achievements as your tasked with collecting a set number of each coloured gem to earn achievements for the platforms that support them.
In addition to dropping gems, health boost and weapons drop with reasonable frequency.
Picking up a new weapon thankfully doesn't change what you already have instead it will place it as an option at the bottom of your screen ready for you to switch out what you have.
You should beware though that if you switch you can no longer switch back to what you already had so if you switch out to a bad weapon choice you'll be stuck with it until you can grab something better.
And there are a few bad weapon choices you might want to avoid.
The cannonball was probably the worst for me personally but the yo yo wasn't a whole lot better.
My personal favourite is the flamethrower while it involved closer combat it's a very effective weapon against most of the enemies you'll face including the boss fights.
The shotgun would be my second choice as the bullet spread helps with the pesky misses you occasionally get with the standard weapon.
The boss fights themselves aren't the most difficult parts of the game, once you've learned each of their patterns it quickly becomes apparent getting there is the bigger challenge, in particular in when it comes to the latter levels of the game.
Dying before you get to the boss will result in you starting the level right from the start but if you die during the boss fight then you'll restart with the boss.
Something that helps a lot throughout all the levels and the boss fights (and something I didn't really use for a few levels in) is the ability to shirk your little octonaut.
Shrinking makes you invincible for a few seconds which proves vital at certain points in the game enabling you to dodge bullets or travel through walls and scenery that took almost as much of my life as the enemies did.
There is a cool down between shrinking and you can't shoot while mini either so you'll need to use it tactically.
For veteran shoot em up players that find the game too easy the game has a panic mode and a custom mode so you can make the game either much much harder or set it to a level your happy enough with.
But what about those of you that just find the standard mode too difficult already?
Well you're in luck too the game has an assist mode that can be turned on or off at the mode select screen.
Turning it on will mean you'll take far less damage and even I blitzed through the entire game with only one death the whole way through and that was after I actually killed the boss and messed something up and killed myself (Yes on level 7 I managed to kill myself AFTER I already killed the evil octopus boss!
This will also most likely be the mode the Achievement hunters choose as doing so will probably get you all the achievements / trophies in under 2 hours.
I had played through the first 4 levels of normal mode and completed the game with assist mode in just over 3 hours with multiple pauses and breaks in between to deal with my ever inquisitive children.
Octonaut is a cute little game and a nice little graphical throwback to one of my favourite era's in gaming.
Did it finally give me a love for shoot em ups?
No I'm still not a fan of the genre and it's unlikely I ever will be.
It did however soften my opinion on the genre and at no point during the 3 hours on my first play through was I left disappointed or frustrated, other than that cannonball incident but I learned from that mistake and never activated the thing again!
I've played through the game a few more times after my initial sit down and while I haven't quite beaten the game without assist turned on I did get closer and closer with each play through so it certainly improved my skills as I went along and later levels that felt unfair to begin with no longer felt so and it was clearly just my lack of skill / experience with the genre.
The world is under attack from aliens, who do you call upon? An octopus of course. It’s time to save the world one tentacle at a time.
Octonaut on Xbox One then is a game from eastasiasoft that finally rewards the practice you put in; a game that doesn’t shower you with achievements merely for looking at the screen. It’s fast, fun and challenging, and the old school style of one credit and then being left to git gud is a welcome change from the easier games that seem to limp onto the market these days. I’ve really enjoyed being a space octopus shooty thing, and I think you might just enjoy it too. For the price, you may as well give it a try.
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