REVIEW: ‘Assault Android Cactus +’ (Switch)

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Assault Android Cactus +

When a robot-led mutiny overtakes an important cargo freighter in the depths of space a small army of adorable but lethal enemies will be the ones to stop it. From Australia-based Witch Beam Studios comes  Assault Android Cactus +, a newly revamped version of the original smash-hit twin-stick shooter, Assault Android Cactus.

Assault Android Cactus + marks the game’s first appearance on the Nintendo Switch with a bevy of new enhancements and features that make this version superior from the other versions. Introducing features tailored made for the Nintendo Switch, as well as new additions to the campaign, Assault Android Cactus + is poised to send its players into the stars for a lightning fast action extravaganza.

The game starts as a distress signal is sent from the mammoth interstellar cargo freighter, the Genki Star. Our lone hero, the android known as Cactus, arrives to investigate only to be nearly shot down by the ships asteroid defenses. She crash lands and comes across an assortment of other androids all armed and ready to defend themselves. With Cactus’ arrival, they team up to take back the ship.

The ensuing battle will not be easy as the ship’s four robot lords, each one responsible for keeping the ship functioning, have effectively turned the ship into a weapon to destroy humans, as well as anyone opposed to them.  As the androids contain their very own Aneural cores, they are unaffected by the lesser intelligence of the sentient robots. Armed to the teeth with the latest firepower, the androids saddle up for a fight from the stern to the bow.

Assault Android Cactus + is a lightning fast twin-stick action shooter, inspired by arcade classics and Japanese bullet-hell mechanics. The cute appearance of these androids is contrary to their ability to turn combat machines into heaps of smoldering scrap metal.  Players choose their android and are dropped into the middle of an arena, facing waves and waves of enemies. In each level, a large assortment of robots will charge the players with bullets and laser fire dotting each level. The goal is to survive, fight, and build the score meter until the enemy forces are depleted.

Players will have access to their main weapon which changes depending on which Android is selected. These weapons range from machine guns to auto-homing rifles, to shotguns, and so on. Each android has a special secondary weapon that can wield immense damage. The secondary weapon is far more powerful than the primary weapon but will overheat quickly.

In battle, when players switch weapons, they will dodge bullets and be invincible for a fraction of a moment, making this an effective move for the later stages. As each enemy is felled, special energy units will appear. These units will temporarily upgrade your weapon for a more devastating effect. Special power-ups will appear, including more firepower, EMP attacks to disable enemies, and energy wings for speed. The biggest focus for the androids is battery power. As they fight and take damage, they will lose battery power. Grabbing batteries is essential to stay alive, as well as build chains for points. At the end of each level will be a score rating, encouraging players to keep playing.

Assault Android Cactus +

Assault Android Cactus + is a tribute and evolution of the classic arcade and twin-stick action experience. The game is remarkable tight, responsive, and extraordinarily kinetic, with the ability to keep players sharply engaged, but not confuse the player in the heat of battle. Gameplay is smooth and responsive, giving players strong feedback for every move and action they take.

The race to build their score chain is absolutely euphoric and constantly engages the player to use their awareness and skill to keep fighting and building that score. I found myself replaying levels to increase the score and rating. Punctuated by a sharp soundtrack reminiscent of action classics, Assault Android Cactus + is a great time.

As the game has been refined for launch on the Nintendo Switch, the team has gone out of their way to make the game much more accessible to new players and experienced players as well. When undocked, players can use the joy-con controls, turning the twin-stick shooter into a single-stick shooter. In this fashion, the game will auto-aim onto the nearest enemy and rapidly select the next target upon dispatching the first. This makes the game fantastic for players on the go.

Other graphical and gameplay enhancements include improved animations, new enemy formations, and improvements with feedback stemming from the best players in the game. Having played and beaten the original game on the PlayStation 4, these enhancements are noticeable. The presentation, gameplay, and mechanics feel more finely tuned and even faster. Even the new game modes, including S+ mode, will keep players engaged.

Perhaps, the only drawback I can make to Assault Android Cactus + is its relatively short length and lack of variety, as I would have loved to have fought more robot bosses. However, Assault Android Cactus + has plenty to offer for Switch fans.

Assault Android Cactus+ will keep players engaged and thrilled throughout. Whether with a friend, on the go, or at home, there’s no better time then to take back the Genki Star from robot overlords and look good doing it. Assault Android Cactus + is swift, smooth, and downright fun action experience on the Nintendo Switch.

Assault Android Cactus+ is available now on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Linux, macOS, and Classic Mac OS.

Assault Android Cactus +
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL; DR

Assault Android Cactus+ will keep players engaged and thrilled throughout. Whether with a friend, on the go, or at home, there’s no better time then to take back the Genki Star from robot overlords and look good doing it. Assault Android Cactus + is swift, smooth, and downright fun action experience on the Nintendo Switch.