If you ever need proof that an inspired idea and a little ingenuity are all you need to make a great game, this is it. Everyday Shooter is the product of a sole designer’s months of programming and music composition, and the resulting game is more innovative and addictively entertaining than many multi-million dollar professional studio games I could name.
ES plays like a psychedelic version of Asteroids: you pilot a small ship from a top-down perspective, navigating your way through colorful (and hazardous) shapes while blasting obstacles to collect glowing point blocks and boost your score. The twist, though, is that each of the game’s eight levels features a different theme and set of enemies that require you to adjust your tactics on the fly. In the “Root of the Heart” map, for example, you can trigger a huge chain of points by targeting the core of a huge amoeba network, while on the “Lush Look Killer” level the trick is to destroy objects that are fed into an ever-growing eye monster at the center of the screen. Uncovering all the secrets of the game is a delightful experience, adding both replayability and a charming sense of wonder to each challenging level.
I also fell completely in love with the eclectic soundtrack that underscores the game with a mix of soothing melodies and catchy guitar riffs. The eight tracks form a complete album when played sequentially - a terrific record that I would buy even if it wasn’t attached to a game. When combined with the dynamic harmonies and chords activated by your actions in game, the gameplay turns into an engrossing dance party located at the intersection of euphoria and excitement.
Even when you beat the game - which is no easy task - the points you’ve accumulated can be used to unlock bonuses like (even more) trippy visual effects and shuffle modes. I liked that you could also purchase additional starting lives, which is helpful for gamers who might have a hard time surviving amidst the sensory bombardment. A lack of good keyboard and mouse controls harshes the buzz, though, and a gamepad with two analog sticks is definitely recommended for optimal control. Leaderboard addicts should also be warned that there’s currently no online ranking system for you to upload your top scores. But even as a solo game, the experience is magical. And if I were developer Jonathan Mak, I’d ask for a lot more than $9 for a game this fresh, this unique, and this enjoyable.
PC Gamer scores games on a percentage scale, which is rounded to the closest whole number to determine the GamesRadar score.
PCG Final Verdict: 84% (Excellent)
May 22, 2008