Jul 26, 2013
Ballistic SE is something of the second game in a trilogy of titles from Radiangames. Fireball SE is the arena survival game, Ballistic SE asks what would happen if we gave the player guns to fire back at the enemies with, and Inferno+ (which we’ll review soon) asks: what if we made the dual-stick shooter deeper, with levels and upgrades?
Well, Ballistic SE, like I said, lies somewhere in between there. This is a traditional arena-based dual-stick shooter at its core: there are lots of enemies, and lots of shooting of them. It’s possible to go ballistic occasionally through a meter that charges up, making weapons extra-powerful and slowing everything down to make it more manageable. A lot of enemies will be on screen at once, so good luck with that.
The other thing that separates this a bit from other dual-stick shooters is that there’s an upgrade system: every few levels, players get an extra upgrade point that can be used to upgrade stats like ship speed, ballistic recharging, or unlock mines that drop behind the player.
The game has very abstract visuals: everything’s pretty much an orb, as opposed to anything representing ships or enemies. It’s orb-on-orb violence. Oh, the humanity! Er, orb-anity! At least it all looks great in high resolutions.
There’s a main mode with over 100 levels, and five challenge modes that feature specific parameters and limited lives to play with. The latter are especially great for pick-up-and-play gameplay.
Controls-wise, I was disappointed to see that physical controls aren’t supported on the standard Android version (at least not the MOGA Pro in both MOGA API and HID modes) while there is at least an Ouya version. Still, this is a game that would be perfect for a controller! The virtual joysticks do a decent job, and are highly configurable as well at least.
The ability to auto-fire when not firing on the second joystick helps keep the chaos manageable, as it does a good job at handling general nearby threats. In cases where it may be preferable to blow on through a series of enemies in one direction, manual fire comes in handy.
Ballistic SE is fairly familiar territory for the dual-stick shooter, but its chaotic gameplay can also be a ton of fun.