The Game Tutor Grades Assault Android Cactus

Assault Android Cactus is a twin stick shooter that sees you progress through an overtaken space ship destroying hordes of enemies and bullet hell style bosses.

There is a selection of robots to choose between each with a very different set of available weapons ranging from the fairly standard gun of Cactus to the more bizarre bladed helicopter of Aubergine. Each character also has a more powerful weapon that can be used to destroy large enemies more quickly but this weapon can only be used on a rechargeable basis.
Each level is completed while constantly trying to look to recharge your battery which constantly depletes. This means that each level is essentially completed against the clock and death acts as a time delay rather than an all-out game ender. I love this mechanic and think it is the best idea to happen to the shooter or bullet hell genre in recent memory and I hope more developers take this idea on board as it makes death… something that happens frequently… into a managed penalty rather than the end criteria.

The game is extremely accessible to casual players and can be blown through in a couple of hours but achieving high scores can easily become an obsession as you look for the best strategies and best androids to complete each stage.

The level design is superb with platforms, conveyor belts and rearranging floors making the games level unique and engaging in what could otherwise be a repetitive game. The enemy design is equally as interesting with particular stand out types being the dog type androids who ground you in place and the swarms of insect androids that appear from the destroyed android hives.

The endgame in AAC sees you push for increasingly higher and high scores to gain better rankings. Gaining an S rank in a level, involves completing it without a single knock-down. S+ involves no knock-downs but also killing every enemy in the level in one long successful chain. This is equivalent to getting perfect in a guitar hero game or never missing a beat.

Overall the game is a joy to play and definitely one of my favourite twin stick shooters of all time. An extremely varied roster and wonderful charming presentation makes this a must buy for fans of the genre.