Stunning to look at, slick and fluid to play as well as being a satisfying -- but never insurmountable -- challenge, Astebreed is a top-quality game that everyone with even a passing interest in shoot 'em ups should have in their collection.
One of the best, most underrated indie games out there, made doubly impressive by the development company's obscurity & status as part-time devs and sadly held back by various public misconceptions, the primary one being that it is a "bullet hell game" and thus "doing it wrong". Despite classic arcade-like design principles, it's not a "nostalgia game"; it can hardly be described as "X meets Y". Maybe Sin & Punishment's cinematic on-rails presentation + a shmup's bullet dodging + Alien Soldier's sheer variety of stuff to do... but that wouldn't really do it justice.
It's not really a bullet-hell; I'd have trouble calling it a shmup. It's more of an... anime mecha game. You control a robot while locking-on, shooting, sword-slashing and comboing your way through various perspective-shifting stages. You have two normal shots (activated by tapping their respective buttons) & two lock-ons (holding down their respective button). The lock-ons are a forward & spread shot respectively, either targeting around you in a circle or in a straight line. Your slash is more than it seems at first glance; sure, you can quickly tap the attack button to do a fast combo, but this can often leave you open; sometimes, AVOIDING the longer combo attack by timing your presses just right is the better way to go. You can also hold on to the sword button along with whatever direction you want to dash towards, sword-first. Lastly you have a variety of context-sensitive special attacks; if you press the special attack button while locked on to nothing, you will damage whatever is near you (the range of this effect increases once you unlock the second mech) and creates a short aura of invincibility around you, which adds a nice element of strategy. While locked on to a large group of enemies, your mecha will automatically home in on them and slash them up at a crazy speed; meanwhile, while only locked on to a single enemy, you will pull off a very anime-esque move on it taking out a significant chunk of its health. The scoring system is easy to understand and hard to master and involves plenty of practice of all the aforementioned skills (once again, refer to the tutorial on scoring). Many will feel that the game will completely destroy your fingers, but if you find yourself mindlessly mashing the normal shots chances are you're not playing it right; the lock-on is very useful throughout most of the game and balances out the button-mashing quite well. The on-rails camera-shifting (from side-scrolling to vertical shooter to behind-the-back third-person) is truly impressive; it helps add to the game's variety while also making for interestingly-composed cinematography.
My only two significant gameplay gripes are the balance issues and the lack of a DEFAULT option to set the movement keys to WASD. The latter, however, is easily fixed by googling "Astebreed WASD" and getting the Astebreed tweaker from the Steam forums (however note that sometimes it might create a strange delay for the directional keys; if this happens, just restore the defaults and set your own controls again). The former might just be a result if my (crappy) play style, but it feels like an area in stage 3 along with the last boss are both a bit too much of a difficulty spike. Even then it's nothing as big as, say, the contrast in difficulty between Ikaruga's first and second stages. Beyond that we have the occasional bizarre crash when using the "restart game" feature, but this can't actually destroy one of your runs, so I can look past it (also my computer is an ancient piece of garbage that was old even when I got it in 2008 and I can't even properly play this on max settings)
This is also a short game, but if you're into arcade games this should not be an issue; arcade design is not about artificially creating "pacing" by stopping the action to force you to solve physics "puzzles" or pushing a block over a switch, which can be an issue with otherwise-great games. There is no exploration and no grinding; the game's world is not your oyster. Good arcade design is about pure non-stop gameplay bliss, a barrage of creative enemy formations and set-pieces that will stay with you for years. It is not about offering the player the illusion that they are forging their own path, but about creating a pre-set obstacle course and then giving you a very wide variety of ways of making your way through it and grading them based on their inventiveness. Replayability comes in the form of beating all the modes with all the mechs, 1CCing hard more and improving your global score.
Astebreed is a two-faced retro arcade game. It presents a clever scoring system along with a great fun, though it can be also boring and stereotypical. Fortunately, it gives you a choice from which perspective you wish to get to know the game.
Viewed on its underlying merit, this is a weaker game than its years-old inspirations - both Radiant Silvergun and Einhander best it in terms of interesting systems and set-pieces - but Astebreed is, nevertheless, a strong and idiosyncratic proposition.
I like to play arcade style shmups and they seldom release on PC (or if they do they come with a low console-quality resolution). This game is fun and looks great. It isn't difficult to get from stage to stage, but the game does offers enough challenge for score chasing that drives you to re-play for a perfect run.
Cheap bullet hell arcade game. It plays okay, but for people who do not speak japanese reading subtitles is virtually impossible. The game constantly spams the players with enemies and numerous important plot details at the same time, coupled with a lot of typical anime-style chatter from the protagonists. It's barely decent button-mashing, but nothing else.
It's an ok game but honestly there's better bullethell flash games out there now.
They may not look as cool, especially with the shifting camera angles and such, but the gameplay on them is more challenging and more fun.
It also doesn't help that the voice acting is in Japanese and there's no subtitles. When you're busy dodging and killing you can't really read subtitles, so storywise I had no idea why I was killing these alien robot thingies.
Truly bland and ordinary shmup with questionable mechanics including the boring" feels like you're not even controlling the gunfire" drag-reticule-across-the-screen aim. Full of annoying incomprehensible non-translated dialogue - the back and forth banter is unbearable. A sub par game with extremely misleading reviews and an overall disappointing purchase. Metacritic ought to investigate how this ordinary 4/10 made it on the top of their ranks for a bit. Inexplicable.
Bought this seeing the universally great reviews. Obviously I forgot that how **** everyone can be in their taste of media content and in general. To cut to the chase, I played one game of this on normal difficulty. At first, I was really impressed. All looked ultra slick and cool. But before long, I didn't know what the **** was happening. Despite not having a clue what was going, and how the aliens were all sying and I wasn't, despite getting battered with their sometimes unavoidable flak and gun power, I got to level 5 before I died. yes, that is right, level fkn 5 before I died, and even then I am sure that I only died out of boredom.
A game that requires no skill to win, is not a game, but an interactive 'light show' for a computer monitor. I was annoyed at blowing £10 on an interactive light show for my monitor.