It’s my job today to bring all you RGGers a review for a game that I’ve been hyped for since I first caught wind of via the magic of the Twitterverse. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of blasters of the vertical variety that happily throw countless amount of bullets in the direction of the player’s lil ship. This game fulfils that and even adds some more unique elements to bring about a fresh indie experience.
This is the review for Flump Studios’ Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection!
Developed by Flump Studios and published by KISS across multiple platforms, most notably Ouya, X360 and Steam. Allowing any of you craving some arithmetic with your shoot ‘em ups to go get some no matter your main system choice (or location, seeing to XBLIG’s lack of access in some territories). Each release has its differences, as confirmed by Flump themselves, too.
I typically chat about the music later on in a review, but not here. Why? It’s something that hits immediately and will either be a major selling point or ‘put-off’, depending on individual tastes in musical styling’s. SKH:R features the talents of the SixtyFours and Dylan Barry (also contributor of sprite work), you’re immediately bombarded with very UK rap-rock sounds, that for better or worse are reminiscent of the short-lived Kennedy Soundtrack (“Killing Music” wouldn’t be out of place here). Now, why better or worse? Blending rap and rock is always a mixed bag for me, personally. But, that said; there are some decent tracks on the OST here and you get the option to skip/choose via the pad mid-level, which is nice.
Unlike with some other games however, I have to admit I found the music distracting to an extent. It didn’t particularly add to the positive side of experience for me, but I do commend Flump Studios’ choice to attempt something a bit different rather than the standard. Yet, I can’t help but wonder what SKH:R would have been with a more ‘standard’, genre-based composition choice. All that said, if you’re looking for an early 00’s throwback where you’d have your headphones on in an arcade somewhere, this does indeed fit the bill.
Now, I also must admit I have never played a previous Flump Studios’ title (sorry, guys!), but with a quick search and seeing other similar shooters in their catalogue certainly opens my eyes as to what they seek to do with the genre. And yeah, that’s all in motion here!
SKH:R is in fact a sequel to the original Super Killer Hornet (d’uh). A game that seemed to have fared rather well with the harsh critics that can be found floating around t’interwebz. It is of course a vertical shooter, which means you’re guiding your ship of choice (three to choose from, with varying power/speed – obviously including the titular HORNET~!!) through a labyrinth of bullets and enemy sprites that desperately want you dead. B’stards. Quick reflexes are the order of the day, however you need to be prepped to flex your brainage in more ways than simple muscle memory as SKH:R starts chucking mathematics in your direction. Wait, what? Yeah, it does!
The addition of, well; addition (and multiplication, etc.) is very cleverly implemented, too. Arithmetic needs demand to be met through various numbers with plus, minus and times signs floating down the screen alongside the bullets as the level progresses. This demands the player to be fully aware at all times, which is an excellent shout as far as I’m concerned. It’s unexpected, but it works. Instead of simply for points, the maths go together to help you along, such as with boss fights and collecting time (in the Time Attack mode).
Speaking of modes, there are multiple ways to play, which will only add to the longevity of the title. The main screen offers Arcade and Time Attack, which both include the three ships and the three sub-modes of Auto-Bomb, Hard and Survival. Hard-Time Attack is my immediate mode of choice and much fun is to be had. Auto-Bomb is perfect for an entry-level player, especially on Arcade mode, as you can get the most out of the game without having to be on the total edge the entire time.
Flump Studios were also clever enough to have unlockable trophies within the game. Not ‘official’ achievements, per-se, but an awards system for completing set elements within SKH:R. Good job! Keeping those modern gamers happy, they are a finicky bunch...
Cool, Olly023. It has all these features and stuff, but how does it play? Well, really rather well. The core of the game is obviously lovingly crafted and I assume perfected over the course of the other titles from Flump Studios. It does feel great. Control-wise, very, very smooth movement of the ship, with absolutely no need for a tutorial as each first button press was exactly as I immediately assumed. Now, that may seem logical, which it is – but countless times have I played a game and gone “wait, what?” from change in a formula I’m very used to. This is formulaic in the best way possible, in that sense. I like it!
Graphically the game is decent, but I am hard pressed to push above that good side of average. I feel bad about saying it, but I’m better off not lying, for the sake of integrity. The sprites are all absolutely gorgeous, but I can’t help but feel something is missing, or simply not quite clicking with me. The scrolling background may have something to do with it, perhaps I was expecting more detail, I don’t know. I do know the shadows weirded me out a bit as it made it confusing as to the setting (not that that overshadows the actual playability AND this is only truly a problem with the games opening level, as the game opens up more; the more obvious and comfortable the surroundings become – not that a shiny sci-fi hive is ‘comforting’), I would perhaps prefer a more spacey background. But each to their own, as always! Nothing is remotely ‘bad’ and the main sprites are, as I said, great. While I may crave more, the perspective of how and why this game even exists has to come back into mind. For that, fair play, yo’!
Super Killer Hornet: Resurrection brings a lot to the table, serving up many an unexpected course that happen to work much better than they perhaps have any right to. Math-based bullet-hell with a Nu-Metal style soundtrack? Seriously!? YES! I will forever commend Flump Studios for what they are doing with the genre and look forward to see whatever they decide to bust out in the future, I’m sure it’ll keep it unique. This is a game that won’t be for everyone, although those willing to tread the Marmitey waters will uncover a novel idea presented in a rather experimental media form known as, y’know; video games. This is what the indie community is about, paying respects and homage to what came before (ie: all those awesome CAVE shooters) while mixing things up with added spice to the recipe. Genius.
This is definitely a recommended play and for the price cannot be overlooked. Go give it a shot, you may well rank it even higher...
Overall 8 out of 10
Verdict:- Flump Studios have presented something fresh in a genre so open to becoming stale, for that endless golf claps are in order. This is obviously a labour of love and one that mostly succeeds. The pure novelty factor of what SKH:R dishes out can never be understated, nor can sheer playability factor.
I’ll happily be giving this game an eight and a strong recommendation. For real’s.
Although, this is definitely a must try for any fans of the genre looking for a little something different. So give it a shot, retrobates!
Second Opinion:- Transbot approves of this indie game. Sure it has more than two levels which for this robot is overkill as you all know but apart from being slightly more awesome in terms of available stages there's nothing else I will hold against it.
The graphics are functional and not the stand out part of the package which is fine although some more intricate enemy sprites for the average cannon fodder would have been nice. A missed opportunity for sure.
I really do love the music choice here though and for those not down with the rap there's always a more traditional beep beep bop bop style musical offering so that allows for those of us who like new aspects on old ideas to be just as happy as those firmly stuck in the past or you know people who think UK rap blows.
The standout thing here though is the gameplay which Transbot approves of massively, classic shooting action of old mixed with this fantastic math overlay. As a player you get the best of both worlds, hot shooting action mixed with actual learning...And they say games make you dumb!
My verdict is a valid score for this shooter because the unique touches require a score that represents the appreciation that a developer did more than just a copy and paste. It could have got more of course and that's where the graphics sorta let it down whilst allowing for growth for a thrid game in the series.
Transbot Scores:- 8 out of 10