Arcade-style Console Games (Part 3)

Arcade-style Console Games (Part 3)

Shooting, sliding, and smashing

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for Rapid Fire Reviews on

I can't stop my indie game obsession so here are another 8 indies to sink your teeth into. Don't worry; no quarters are required.

GORSD Review Xbox One ★★★★☆

What the heck is GORSD? Even after playing it, I have no idea but it's a heck of a lot of fun so let's see what it's all about.

GORSD screenshot
It's a strange world but super-fun, too!

GORSD is a very weird game where you play as some sort of strange creature who goes on an adventure while deity-like entities spout some unknown language. I actually found its odd nature to be pretty funny but I'm not entirely sure if that's what the developers intended. Anyway, you basically guide your character around maze-like tracks and the goal is generally to colour the whole thing by sliding over each and every path. Plus, you have a projectile that you can shoot which can make enemies explode and colour more of the stage but you have to retrieve it before you can fire it again. The resulting gameplay makes for intense push-and-pull battles that are great fun and can be rather challenging. This dynamic lends itself well to the multiplayer component, too, as 4 players can compete simultaneously within many various modes and stages. It's honestly one of the most unique and enjoyable indie games that I've played in a long time.

Fans of unconventional arcade-style experiences will love what GORSD has to offer, especially if they plan on playing it with friends.

GORSD gameplay video →

Death's Hangover Review Switch ★★★☆☆

There are a ridiculous amount of Breakout clones out there so here's one that incorporates a roguelike structure and some crass humour.

Death's Hangover screenshot
Andy and Bob are in for some Breakout fun

Death's Hangover is a Breakout game that you can either enjoy solo or cooperatively with a friend. The goal is to basically proceed through stages by destroying enemies, smashing walls, and collecting items only to move on whenever the exit appears. On top of this, there's the odd boss fight which can be pretty challenging and are sometimes even annoyingly so. The premise is all about retrieving souls for Death that were stolen by Dracula which sounds like something a Belmont would be involved in. There are some mechanics that help break up the otherwise simplistic gameplay such as power-ups, controlling the ball's speed, and the fact that a second player can control Death as if he's in Space Invaders yet it still doesn't quite add up to a stand-out game in such an oversaturated genre.

It'll warrant a few laughs and is rather fun in co-op but Death's Hangover doesn't really do much to break out of the Breakout mold.

Death's Hangover gameplay video →

Batu Ta Batu Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Puzzle games where you slide tiles are a very specific genre that I'm actually quite fond of and here's one that you can play with chums.

Batu Ta Batu screenshot
This may look simple but the pressure's definitely on

Speaking of simple games, Batu Ta Batu merely has you swap tiles in order to match colours on the sides of the playfield. As soon as a tile with the same colour matches an edge, it disappears and you get points. You can also combine tiles of the same colour and if you manage to absorb a larger chunk, you'll receive even more points. The challenge lies in the fact that you can only swap tiles that are bigger so you won't be able to select a 1x2 tile and swap it with a 2x2 one; you'll have to do it the other way around. Thankfully, you get a number of bombs that you can use to explode parts of the playfield if you ever get stuck. This creates an eye-popping and fast-paced arcade puzzle experience and it's pretty fun with friends yet its gameplay gets repetitive fast due to its simplicity.

If you want a simple fast-paced arcade puzzle game to play with friends then you certainly can't go wrong with playing Batu Ta Batu.

Batu Ta Batu gameplay video →

Bounty Battle Review Xbox One ★☆☆☆☆

Indie crossover games are always a treat to play but could Bounty Battle be the first one that's not worthy of indie fans' attention?

Bounty Battle screenshot
I'd rather play these fighters' respective games; that's for sure...

I was looking forward to playing Bounty Battle ever since it was announced because it features a huge roster of iconic indie game characters as well as plenty of more obscure faces. However, after booting it up and trying my darnedest to get into it; I simply couldn't. For starters, its presentation is a hodgepodge of poorly-lit stages, awkward sprite animations, and there's plenty of graphical slowdown, too. In fact, there's so much that I constantly felt as if the game was going to crash. On top of all this, the controls are incredibly unintuitive, unresponsive, and they alone make the combat nearly impossible to thoroughly enjoy. I could go on all day but I'll wrap it up and just say that if you're an indie game fan as I am then do yourself a favour and completely avoid this rubbish.

Bounty Battle's character roster is the only thing it has going for it as everything else comes across like a school project gone wrong.

Bounty Battle gameplay video →

Guns of Mercy - Rangers Edition Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Single-screen shooters have been a go-to for arcade fun ever since Taito's 1978 Space Invaders so here's one with more firepower.

Guns of Mercy - Rangers Edition screenshot
Roguelikes don't get much simpler than this

Guns of Mercy - Rangers Edition is an arcade static shooter with a roguelike structure. Right away, that formula clicked with me as gradually powering up your character in between runs makes for a rewarding gameplay loop. I also enjoyed the array of weaponry, power-ups, and the ability to transform into a mech in order to temporarily increase your firepower. Another nifty inclusion is that you can take on the waves of enemies with up to 4 local players. That being said, just like with most similar games that have a basic premise, the gameplay tends to overstay its welcome after playing for an hour or so; it's definitely the sort of game that's best played in short bursts. Before I finish, I must say that the presentation is very well done and I love the colourful pixel-perfect visuals.

Single-screen shooters rarely pack as much firepower as Guns of Mercy - Rangers Edition does and it's quite fun to play with friends.

Guns of Mercy - Rangers Edition gameplay video →

Takotan Review Xbox One ★★★☆☆

Of course, when you're discussing arcade-style games, you're bound to run into some shmups and Takotan is quite a quirky one.

Takotan screenshot
Is that a flying octopus or have I been inside for too long?

Firstly, Takotan used to be called Octonaut before it was renamed for some reason. Anyway, you play as an octopus as you shoot at enemies that come at you from all sides. Thankfully, the playfield is nice and wide which makes staying in a central location wise so you can spot incoming attacks. That being said, there are some rather relentless adversaries that will home in on you and quickly rush over to cause some damage but there is a dodge button that allows you to simply move to the background for a second which is something that you don't usually get in a shoot 'em up. As you play, you'll regularly swap your equipped weapon yet very few of them are effective and some are downright awful with super-slow fire rates and limited range so you'll have to memorize which power-ups to avoid.

Takotan is a barebones and occasionally annoying horizontal shoot 'em up yet it manages to remain charming and fairly enjoyable.

Takotan gameplay video →

Space Elite Force Review Switch ★★★☆☆

Here's yet another shoot 'em up and Space Elite Force has a fun roguelike setup that'll make you keep coming back for more.

Space Elite Force screenshot
These bosses can be quite the damage sponges

Space Elite Force is generally what you'd expect from a typical arcade shooter as you fly around and shoot up to 3 weapons at enemy combatants. I found it kind of irritating that you can't hold the primary and secondary shot buttons to shoot both simultaneously but I found that holding the primary one down while tapping the secondary button works although it can be strenuous on the thumb. Anyway, you'll fly around while dealing with hordes of enemy crafts and occasionally face a boss which is where the fun can become a bit tedious since some bosses are huge damage sponges that'll test your patience more than your skills. On the plus side, the rocking soundtrack, satisfying effects, and pixel-perfect visuals are all a pleasure to take in as you dispatch waves of enemy forces. On top of all that, upgrading your ship after each level via skill trees can increase your firepower drastically and it's quite rewarding to do so.

When it comes to shmups, Space Elite Force is the kind that's fun to mindlessly play as you watch a movie or wait for your proctologist.

Space Elite Force gameplay video →

Space Elite Force 2 Review Switch ★★★☆☆

As the sequel to the fairly fun Space Elite Force, you're in for pretty much more of the same here although that's not a bad thing.

Space Elite Force 2 screenshot
These enemies are no match for my peashooter!

That's right; Space Elite Force 2 is essentially the exact same game as its predecessor although it does feature some nifty improvements. For example, I didn't find the bosses to be as exhausting and there's a cool new gauge that grants you currency which replaces the previous game's standard counter. It carries over the same weapon system, features similar enemies, and has the same structure so if you enjoyed the first game and want a slightly more refined experience then picking up this sequel is a must. Oh, and I should mention that you can play both of these games cooperatively with a local friend which can add some fun to the equation.

Space Elite Force 2 carries on the tradition of the first game by offering light shoot 'em up roguelike fun that you can play with a chum.

Space Elite Force 2 gameplay video →
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Gameplay video playlist for Arcade-style Console Games (Part 3) 38:27
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