Monday, March 12, 2012

Game of the Day - SD Gundam Neo Battling

I'm tired just typing the name of today's GOTD, so from now on it's Neo.  Neo is a quasi-newer-Galaga-Cute-'em-Up with very cool weapons, fun graphics and very satisfying game play.

The gameplay is very straight-forward (one step ahead of old-school).  It's a vertical shooter in which you only have one button along with your joystick.  The button shoots, but also can be held down for a charged shot/super weapon attack.

Like Galaga, Galaga '88 and the multitude of imitators, the fun here is in how well programmed the game is.  The enemies attack from all directions, move smoothly AND jittery and come in many shapes and sizes.  Sometimes they gather in formation - Galaga style, and sometimes they just come at you in more of a dive-bomber, look-the-fuck-out kind of way.

The graphics are cutesy/cartoony and fun to watch.  In fact there are a gazillion power-ups/weapon types.  There are constantly things falling for you to shoot that turn into power-ups - so many that I still don't know what half of them do.  Many change your weapons, some power-up your weapon and others add to your shield.  Your shield is indicated near your score at the top.  They are essentially hit points that you get to absorb before you are killed.  Each life starts with 5 shield points.  As you take hits, you lose them, but you can find items to increase it again.

Another important attribute that makes the game good is the learning curve.  The first waves are easy - as you get used to the gig.  Later, craziness ensues and the screen is covered with crap you have to kill or avoid.  Level design changes over time and, in fact, there are levels where all you do is shoot power-ups in preparation for a boss attack.
Finally, on one other note, you'll see in the pics above that there is a character selection screen at the start.  There are 10 (that's right, 10) SD Gundams to choose from - all with slightly different skills and weapons.  Very cool.

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