Mar 24, 2011
Whenever I write about shmups (shoot ’em ups), I always have brought up the eastern/western split in shmup philosophy – eastern ones being practically impossible, and western ones being far more forgiving. I think I might have found something that is in a class by itself, and it is Abyss Attack. This vertically-scrolling shmup, which takes place underwater, has you trying to shoot your way through 8 levels of underwater enemies, collecting missiles and health pickups along the way. Each level has a boss that you have to figure out how to defeat, as they occasionally have sections that will only be vulnerable at certain times, or you’ll have to move around as they chase you to your current position.
The game looks very good – it requires a powerful processor for the 3D graphics and physics of the enemies, which float and flail around as you shoot them. The game is also very colorful, a nice touch considering how many games, even in the shmup genre where things are crazy, can be very drab. The game’s controls work well, too – the tilt controls work without problem, and you just tap on the screen to fire your auto-aim missiles. It’s all very easy to play, and you can tweak the sensitivity if you need to, although it worked well by default for me.
The problem here (and why I bring up the east/west divide) is that Abyss Attack is just too darned easy. I thought maybe the first couple of levels would be easy, with a progression to harder as I leveled up, but even level 8 was too easy. See, the problem is that you have far too much health to make the game a challenge. You’ll take damage, sure, but you have so much health and you’ll even get health pickups that dying is a non-factor. The only time I ever died was when I intentionally tried to do so just to see if you could die by way of the environment killing you instantly, which was true. Beyond that, I never died through actual gameplay. I mean, I don’t like frustrating games, but I like a fight from my games, too! It’s almost relaxing to play (wouldn’t want that! – Ed); the game never really challenges you at all.
Really, Abyss Attack needs some tweaking of the difficulty to really be fun, as it’s just a cakewalk. With more difficulty, this could be a game worth recommending, but without it, there’s just something severely lacking here.