(Review) Assault Android Cactus+

I played Assault Android Cactus on Steam and found it pretty excellent. While it was a crazy Bullet-Hell filled with carnage (read that as me dying a lot) and flashy moves, I really enjoyed the snot out of it. There was one concept that really drew me to reviewing the same game twice. The Switch is such an excellent console for multiplayer and they said it was even easier to join with Nintendo’s latest baby. Does it pan out? Can I actually beat the game now? Can a four-year-old play the game? (You know, because that’s really important for the majority of people out there.) Let me break it down for you.

I still find it hard to not love Starch and the way she talks with the bosses. It’s so fun.

The new stuff added to the Switch version doesn’t really apply actually applies to me! I’m glad to say this and I’m not even the best at beating Bullet-Hells. So that New Game+ mode with amped-up bosses, new wave compositions and rapid stage transformations won’t is now being experienced by even me! I’m was writing this in defeat, but in a surprise turn of events, I beat the game. I’m sure that lovers of the genre will welcome the new set of challenges with open arms. I’m not doing so hot with them, but it is nice to have another set of things to work through. However, I still kind of prefer the Infinite Drive at times because it’s just continuous chaotic fun. Having level breaks is pretty nice though, but death is there for me in Infinite Drive.

The above video shows off the auto-aim pretty well… it also shows me being pretty horrible at the game… so there’s that.

Other than dying a lot, because that is the nature of the genre for me, I have only one complaint. (Strange isn’t it?) I was looking forward to the alternate skins for the characters. I’m not 100% sure how you unlock them though. I was in the process of asking how it works, but I haven’t gotten a response. So I did what any other responsible adult would and went searching the internets. The only real consensus is that you have to beat the game. OK, done. I beat it with Starch. I unlocked her secondary skin. (Yeh, it’s pretty cool.) So, with the ability to go to the last boss, I beat the final boss with another character and… nothing. No second skin to be found. The internet then tells me I have to beat the whole game with a character… but if that’s the case, how did I unlock Starch’s outfit when you unlock her while playing through the game? I didn’t play the whole game with her. The game is fun, please don’t get me wrong, but that seems excessively grindy and some of my favorite characters aren’t suited for some of the bosses I feel. (Yeh yeh, I can hear you saying “Get gud.” Back ye foul meanies!) I don’t know, but something just feels off.

Yes, there is a lot of flashy stuff happening on-screen. It was really hard for me to watch out for everything flying at me, but at least it was really pretty right?

“How in the world did he beat a Bullet-Hell?” you may be asking. That’s a fair question given my inability to play them well at all and my ability to get easily frustrated and quit them about half-way if I even make it that far. There is another addition to Switch adaptation of the game in the form of an aim assist. Why in the world would they add an aim assist you may be asking. Take a quick look at the Joy-Cons again and then come back. Did you see a second joy-stick? No? There’s your answer. This assist is automatically turned on and you can’t really turn it off, but you can ignore it by using a Pro Controller or two Joy-Cons and playing like one normally would play a Twin-Stick. What if you want four people to play and you don’t have that many Pro Controllers? Do you have extra Joy-Cons? It’s a great addition to the game once you get used to it. At first the aim assist went against everything I wanted to shoot at, but you’ve got to get used to what it auto-targets. It seems to be mostly focused on the closest things. This can get rough when your main threat is something you may not want to get close to so if you’re using a Pro Controller you can adjust (or at least most people). If you’re using a single Joy-Con, you’re going to have to get a bit more up close and personal (or kill all of the smaller things if that’s possible).

But wait! There’s more! (I really wish I could use Aubergine on the Switch version…)

OK, I was lying. There is one more complaint. Aubergine doesn’t work well here at all. On the Steam client I was able to use the Propeller weapon with accuracy with the ability to use a mouse. I was able to put it exactly where I wanted to. With the lack of mouse… it doesn’t go so well. The Companion Helo just flops around the screen. I couldn’t get it to move just a little or make small turns due to the floatiness of the Helo’s mechanics. It would just jump widely from one direction to another and slide around on walls if one was in the way. It was horridly frustrating as it flew around at maximum distance (kind of ignoring what I figured the auto-aim would do for it). As much fun as the conversations are that the individual androids have when talking to the bosses (and I heavily emphasis taking all of the characters around because they shed light on different aspects of the situation), it’s sad that one option for me is essentially cut out completely.

It’s honestly hard to decide who my favorite character is (gun mechanic wise) because they are all so much fun!

To end on a more positive note, the ease of getting into the multiplayer is fantastic. With the addition of auto-aim due to lack of second joysticks on a single Joy-Con, Assault Android Cactus+ is even more accessible to more people. You can get more of your friends into the game quickly and tell them to hold down shoot and avoid the everything and you’re set. Keep in mind though, that with more people playing, there is a ton more crap on the screen to dodge. Just make sure that you’re grabbing those batteries on the screen because it’s not the amount of deaths that kill you, it’s the amount of battery you have left. Keep a cool head and you should be able to forge your path to victory. Good luck out there!

With all of the hope I had going into Assault Android Cactus+, I was really hoping I could give this a full-on tasty rating. With the inability for me to control one of my favorite characters and the vagueness of unlocking something that I don’t feel should be so vague (subjectively speaking), it ends up where my Steam review landed. That being said. I have more issues with this than the Steam version, but the multiplayer was so much easier especially with the added auto-aim, I could even get my wife and kids into it this time and that was what this game needed for me. There’s a lot of fun to be had here even for people who don’t generally tend to enjoy the Bullet-Hell genre. Heck… if I can beat it… almost anyone should be able to. (My own children aside since they are too young to grab the greater level beating concepts.) Also, if you enjoy the genre in general, you’ll find a good home here with funny characters that have an assortment of weapons that will no doubt fill the weapon specific itch you may have.

Further Reading on Assault Android Cactus+: Facebook / Official Page / Steam / Twitter

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