I’m slowly learning that twinstick shooters are my jam and Assault Android Cactus may just be my new favorite. I was able to spend some time with the PS4 build of the upcoming indie game yesterday and fell in love with it at first sight. Assault Android Cactus gives you control of an android named Cactus who is stranded in space and must fight off robots out for her blood.
After a brief tutorial and character selection, I was dropped into the robo-hell that is Assault Android Cactus. Levels are styled as large platforms, though each level is unique in what it has to offer. Crates that limit movement and holes in the floor of the platform through which enemies can appear, all serve to increase the difficulty as you progress through the game. Later levels feature even more complex challenges, such as stages with moving platforms or power outages. After a set number of levels, players encounter and face a boss before progressing to the next area of the game.
Assualt Android Cactus features a number of adorably badass androids to play as. This means two major things for the game. First, each character has her own primary and secondary weapons. Certain characters are easier to play as, such as the android I selected named Lemon, and certain characters require experience with the game and practiced skill to effectively use. Secondly, the multitude of characters available also means you have the option to enjoy some good ol’fashioned local co-op.
Cactus and her team may start out being out numbered and out gunned, but power-ups found periodically throughout the game help to level the playing field. Certain powerups, such as ones to increase your firepower or speed, can be sometimes dropped by enemies and will give you a temporary boost to your skills. More commonly, white orbs of energy will drop which progressively level up your weapons. Weapon levels only last through the current stage you’re on, but this doesn’t detract from the game at all. Rather, you’re able to keep playing and continue building your character up without ever feeling like you’ve become too overpowered.
Equal parts Smash TV and Resogun, Assault Android Cactus offers an experience that is nothing short of fantastic. The difficulty, stretched across different characters, is perfectly scaled to the point where players will always feel challenged without feeling defeated. The color science fiction atmosphere and the all around fantastic soundtrack all come together to make a game that not only looks great, but feels great.
Assault Android Cactus is appearing on the E3 showfloor as a PS4/PS Vita crossplay title, but will also be available for Wii U in the future. Despite feeling like a natural fit for the PS4, the game actually first made its appearance on PC, Mac, and Linux. If you can’t wait for the console versions you can get your hands on this relentlessly fun twinstick shooter through Steam early access right now.