Shootvaders The Beginning is developed by 7 Raven Studios and is published by Totalconsole. It is available on Steam, Nintendo switch, PS4/5, Xbox One and Xbox Series S/X. All for a very consumer friendly price of € 6,99.
7 Raven Studios might ring a bell as it has already developed several Indie games throughout the years. You may know them from their earlier games such as The Skylia Prophecy, Dyna Bomb (1 & 2), Ghost Sweeper and a more recent game: W.A.R.P. So far most of their games have been received pretty well. Hopefully Shootvaders The Beginning follows suit.
Storyline??? Who needs that nonsense??
When you boot up this game, there’s no story. You get the starting menu and as soon as you select play you get to kit out your spaceship and off you go. At first you are in a spaceship with just your run of the mill weapon. No fancy rockets or lasers. No, just plain old-fashioned bullets. For the first couple of levels that is more than sufficient. Later on the enemies get stronger and you will die eventually. No worries though. During your run you will have collected Stars, Money (so very friendly of your enemies to drop cold hard cash 🙂 ) and Alien Material. All of those can be used to further enhance your spaceship.
Upgrading your spaceship is split into two parts in this game. Permanent enhancements and weapons that will only last for a short while. The permanent enhancements vary from faster shooting rate to getting more cash from your enemies. The timed enhancements are always weapons and are split into human weapons and alien weapons. You can kit out your spaceship with weapons on all four sides of your spaceship: front, back, left and right. You can imagine that’ll really help obliterating those alien arseholes.
Space Invaders minus the protection
O boy, this game is very easy to pick up, but difficult to master. Gameplay-wise you can’t screw up even when you are a complete newbie at these type of games. The stick is used to move you around, the buttons are used to shoot. If you keep the button pressed down it basically becomes auto-fire.
The game is responsive and runs smoothly. Which is very much needed, especially when the alien ships decide to suicide-bomb you. In the early stages the alien ships tend to stay static at the place of the screen they are at. Later on they eventually go into suicide mode. They hurl their spaceship straight at you. And it’s up to you to try to evade them. This alien strategy gets a nuisance when there is a lot going on onscreen (loads of aliens, bullets, lasers, money, alien material, etc). You will miss some of those suicide-bombers and end up damaged or even dead. All of this reminded me heavily of Space Invaders. Only difference is that with Space Invaders you had some form of protection in the form of 3 barriers that were directly above you.
Another thing that’s different form Space Invaders: It’s not all just blasting away at aliens. This game also has narrow path gameplay. In those sections there are hardly any enemies. Just some turrets firing at a consistent rate. Your mission is to make it through. Sounds daunting to some of us, but I have not encountered really hard narrow path sections yet. In these sections your weapons also get downgraded to the basic kit of your spaceship. After passing the narrow path gameplay, your weapons are once more re-installed.
After a set of levels (ending with a narrow path sequence you get a concluding part of that sequence where you get to gather stars without the hassle of avoiding and shooting enemies. This sequence is time-based, so don’t try and gather all the stars because you wont be able to. Just go for the biggest clusters of stars. After a short time the screen turns to black ending that part of the game.
Graphics and music
The in-game graphics in this game are ok. The music is there, but during the levels it gets drowned out by the sounds of your weapons firing and the enemies exploding. As soon as there’s a lull in those sounds you get to enjoy the music until the next barrage of enemies comes along. This is quite a shame, as the music is pretty decent. The sounds of the weapons and explosions are more than ok and took me back to my days in the arcades.
I’m not so happy with the graphics that are used in menus. The lettering is done in the same colour as the background. Also the lettering is awfully small. So you either need perfect vision or really strong glasses. I had to resort to putting my chair closer to the screen as I have neither.
Extra note: downloading screenshots and clips from this game to your console is pure hell. The game instantly puts itself into pause-mode when you try to do that. And as a consequence most of the time it won’t recognize the fact that you are trying to record screens or clips.
Yes, we can play co-op. You can blast those pesky aliens to smithereens together with a friend or relative. You do have to be careful though. This game has friendly fire! So no mindless use of auto-fire, because you will end up killing your besty even faster than the aliens do.
Shootvaders The Beginning is a pretty competent schmup and therefore an ok addition to the genre. However it could have been so much more if there had been some thought put into it. There are several quick wins that would have made the game a lot stronger. Just make up a small background story at the beginning, adjust the lettering in the menus somewhat and I would have enjoyed it way more than I have now. Do note, this is by no means a bad game! But it could have been better. Now it is middle of the road kind of stuff and that’s reflected in my score