Several weeks ago, I was able to play Assault Android Cactus thanks to the Xbox Live Gold free games program. I was really surprised that the game isn’t better known since it’s actually a really good game. It’s a twin stick shooter where the focus isn’t in knowing how to survive but instead is in knowing how to defeat your enemies as efficiently as possible. Survival is just part of it as it’s obviously always more beneficial to be actively attacking the whole time than having to be waiting until your character reactivates.
Before I go on with this post, I want to clear up that this isn’t a review (or a Quick Review). While part of it can be taken as a review, this will focus more on why I think the game would be great on Switch.
When I downloaded and started it on Xbox One, I honestly didn’t expect it to be great or memorable. I thought it would be like most indie games that aren’t well known, just a game that at most is good but nothing really special. But as soon I started playing through the first stage, I knew that Assault Android Cactus was different and that the developers put a lot of attention into making a great game with it’s unique and memorable charm.
The game and its controls are easy to learn and feel responsive at all times. At the same time, though, it’s one of those games that may be easy to learn how to play but it’s hard to master. Getting a perfect score on each level can be quite hard, specially in the later ones. You need to learn really well which are the best strategies to use to defeat all enemies as quick as possible without losing your combo at any time. But even if you aren’t going for a perfect score, the game still provides a fair but good challenge. You can’t be careless (specially against boss battles) or your character’s battery will run out.
There are several characters to choose from. Each one has their own main and secondary weapons which offers different play styles depending on what you prefer. Besides that, each of the characters also has their own unique personality and are also designed with a lot of care and attention. Right from the character select screen, you can see how much care they placed into the playable androids. This results in a game world that’s memorable and fun. Even though the game is just a twin stick shooter and doesn’t focus much on story, all this attention to the characters makes the game feel a lot more special and unique. Of course, all of this is already on top of a really well done gameplay.
The game can be played in either single-player mode or in local multiplayer with up to 4 players. As expected, it does balance itself depending on the amount of players so the challenge always feels fair and never too easy or too hard. Unfortunately, there’s no online multiplayer.. Still, the single-player experience is quite solid. And of course, if you have the chance, the local multiplayer is even more fun.
Sadly, as far as I know, the game hasn’t sold that well. This is also why the game deserves another chance on Nintendo Switch. Similar to other titles, I feel that this is a game that could get the attention it deserves if it’s released there. The game is done in Unity, so it would just be a matter of optimizing what’s already done since the engine is natively compatible with the Switch.
Local multiplayer games would be easier to set up too. Since the game doesn’t use many buttons, even single joycon controls could be implemented if they wanted. This would be a great way to at least have 2-player co-op on any Switch, on the go or at home. It wouldn’t be as comfortable or than with a full controller, but having the option there would be nice and a plus.
Even the extra FPS mode could be played with a single joycon by following the same idea since no extra inputs are needed. (This would actually be similar to how FPS on the N64 were done.)
I really hope Witch Beam considers giving it one last push and releasing the game for Switch. It’s a great game and I would definitely buy it there and I have a feeling that a lot of people would do the same. (And for people who don’t own a Switch or just want to try the game already, you can still support the developers by getting the game on any of the other available platforms.)