May 30th, 2008

I have another “Shmup” (Shoot’eM-Up) for you here today, similar to Geometry Wars from a couple of weeks ago. Unlike Geometry Wars, however, and more similar to Every Extend Extra Extreme from Q Entertainment, the object of this twin stick shooter is to create chains of explosions over top of some pretty interesting music. The game is Everyday Shooter, created by Jonathan Mak of Queasy Games, and this formerly PS3-exclusive shooter is now on the PC. As the winner of three IGF 2007 awards including Design Innovation, Excellence in Audio and the GameTap Indie Award, it’s very much worth a look.

You’ll forgive me if I refer to Geometry Wars more than a few times. It’s just the most convenient point of reference that I have on hand. Anyway, in Everyday Shooter, like in Geometry Wars you will be navigating your way through a 2D board while avoiding shapes of all colors, shapes and sizes that are swarming around and toward you. Unlike in Geometry Wars, however, your objective is not to destroy as many enemies as possible, as quickly as possible. Rather, you’ll be attempting to set off a chain of explosions that will take out as many enemies as you can. By creating chains you will cause your fallen enemies to “drop” you points that you’ll then have to pick up manually. Bigger chains will net you larger point rewards, so take your time on setting them off.

Every time you destroy an enemy a note, a riff is played. This gives you the feeling that you’re contributing to the overall song. If you’ve ever played Rez on PS2 or Xbox Live Arcade (another Q Entertainment game!) you’re familiar with this concept. You even distort the music in fancy ways when you die; it sounds good! Each level you play presents a different method of setting off chain explosions, so most of the time you’ll be forced to mow through enemies that stand between you and your catalyst. So don’t let me dissuade you from shooting everything in sight; this can be equally if not more rewarding, and you’ll still earn a bunch of points by accident.

Perhaps my absolute favorite aspect of Everyday Shooter (besides the music, of course) is that it’s a Shmup that actually rewards you for the points you earn. With your first 200 points you’ll earn an extra life. After that, you’ll have to double your points for each additional life. Point rewards are more abundant as the level progresses as well as from level to level, though, so you never have too much of a wait between carrots. Points don’t stop being useful once you’re outside of a game, though. Everyday Shooter also has a rather sizable unlocks menu in which you can spend accrued points to increase the amount of lives you start with, or even extra levels. There are also some fun looking unlocks that I don’t understand yet; I have been unlocking extra lives as much as possible because each time you hit Game Over, you have to start from the first level again. This is my only small quibble with the game, but you quickly get over it because the earlier levels can be passed with increasing ease as you familiarize yourself with them. No big.

Everyday Shooter is, I believe, available exclusively on Steam for $9.99. I haven’t seen it anywhere else, but I’ll update this post if I do. There is also no demo available yet, but I hope that this write-up was enough to convince you that this game deserves to have money thrown at it.

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