The Eurogamer Expo may be playing host to some of the most anticipated AAA titles of the coming year... but listen up, folks. The Indie Games Arcade contains some of the most imaginative, creative and genuinely fun game experiences to be found in Earls Court 0ver this weekend- and we'll be bringing you in-depth previews as well as opinions from the developers themselves. First up is Scoregasm from Charlie's Games.
Sometimes a name can be mysterious and misleading ... but Scoregasm does exactly what it says on the tin. Charlie Knight, the creative force behind Charlie's Games, explained that he was fed up with every level of twinstick shooters taking place in identical "square boxes" and having the same basic flow- and thus designed the experience to constantly challenge the player with new experiences. Each level boasts a differently-shaped arena, surprising new enemies and incredible visuals. Collecting powerups and accumulating points constantly power up the ship's weapons to insanely devastating levels, each of which are stackable with each other.
Frantic doesn't begin to describe the action. Technicolour hordes swarm towards the ship, and unbroken walls of projectiles soon threaten to engulf and destroy the fragile craft. The sheer ferocity of the assault is enough to make even hardened SHMUP veterans break a sweat. Luckily it's also one of the most responsive shooters I've ever played, since Charlie spent the best part of a week getting the movement exactly right. Rather than settling for standard analog control, Scoregasm actually equates each thumbstick movement to the same distance on the screen, and it makes weaving through bullets extremely intuitive. It's 1:1- and undeniably brilliant.
More importantly, the ship can emit a close range radial pulse that annihilates nearby enemies and incoming fire. Rather than the limited stock of smart bombs that most shooters tend to arm players with, this ability can be used indefinitely... so long as you're continuously killing foes in order to recharge it. This may sound relatively simple, but it's absolutely vital for success.
As you'd expect, score is king. Not only does your total dictate the difficulty settings available in the next level, but scoring highly enough treats players to a Frenzy. Fireworks explode, new waves of enemies spawn and swarm, and the audio bursts forth with what I can describe only as an electro-synth orgasm. It's a glorious assault on the senses.
The campaign will feature 43 levels and multiple difficulty levels, but to add extra variety, a number of minigames provide an unexpected breath of fresh air. Making coleslaw by shooting vegetables into a shredder or shaving a man's face is a hilarious change of pace! Despite occasional funding problems (which is unfortunately a regular occurrence in the Indie scene), Charlie explained that gameplay development evolved organically rather than sticking to a rigid plan- and it's great to see a game that strives to be constantly enjoyable rather than taking itself too seriously.
Scoregasm is currently available to preorder- and the beta's currently underway. Why not head over to Charlie's Games and check it out?