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REVIEW / The Bug Butcher (PC)

 

The video game landscape is littered with bullet hell shooters these days, so in order to stand out from the rest, developers have had to get creative if they plan to create a game in this genre and have it be successful.  Inspired by the arcade classic “Super Pang,” Awfully Nice Studios has created a shooter that is very unique and offers the type of challenge that fans of the genre have come to expect.  The Bug Butcher is a chaotic and intense 2D action shooter that showcases merciless arcade shoot ’em up gameplay with just the right amount of slapstick humor.

 

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You can only shoot straight up so timing your shots is imperative.

 

You take on the role of the Bug Butcher as he tries to rid a research facility on the outskirts of the galaxy of an alien insect infestation.  You must keep your head on a swivel because enemies will split into smaller ferocious versions of themselves as you wield an increasingly powerful arsenal of military grade weaponry to take down every bug that gets in your way.  A can of insect repellent isn’t enough to clear out the research facility so it will be up to you to upgrade your weapons to be able to face the tougher bugs later on in the game.

 

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Enemies will split into two several times when you shoot them depending of their initial size.

 

Gameplay in The Bug Butcher takes place in the many different areas of the research facility from the research labs to the elevators and the robotics bay.  Enemies will try to overrun your position from vents in the floors, the ceilings and the walls and can fill up the room very quickly.  This happens because as you hit the larger enemies, they will split into smaller versions of themselves on contact with your bullets doubling, tripling or even quadrupling their numbers in a matter of seconds.  The Bug Butcher can only shoot straight up in the air, so if enemies make it to the floor, you have to wait until they bounce up and over you so that you can take them out.  Shooting left, right or down isn’t possible so you need to constantly keep moving as enemies can come into contact with you and bring down your health as they rebound off of the floors and walls during their attacks.

 

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Walls, laser beams and other obstacles will block your path at times.

 

The graphics in The Bug Butcher are very cool and help to set this game apart from other shooters in the genre.  All of the visuals in the game are of a hand drawn nature and really look like a cartoon.  Colors are bright and vivid and give the game a charm all its own.  The design of the Butcher himself in his orange jumpsuit helps to be able to distinguish him from all of the other elements on screen.  The designs of the many different alien insects are unique and each level introduces new enemies with new modes of attack so that you never get bored fighting the same enemies over and over.

 

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Enemies will grab the scientists that try to help you so keep them safe.

 

The sound effects and the music in The Bug Butcher also help to demarcate this game from other shooters out this year that approach the gameplay in the same fashion.  The dialogue between the Butcher and the other scientists at the research facility sound a lot like the adult characters in any Peanuts cartoon ever released.  Their dialogue plays out in a “wah w’wah wah” style while the speech bubbles appear on the screen.  The music that plays during the levels is very ominous and upbeat to impart the level of danger that you are facing from the enemies that you will face.  The sounds of the weapons such as the rocket launcher, the laser rifle and the machine gun will fill your speakers with their satisfying report as you blast the alien insects back to where they came from.

 

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You can upgrade your weapons as well as your bodysuit for the ultimate in bug fighting gear.

 

It seems like this year has gotten off with a good amount of differently styled shooters so if you are a fan of the genre, then you only need to choose the one that speaks to you the most.  This game is very difficult and it may turn a gamer away that is just looking for a casual experience as you will die early and often trying to clear the many bug infested levels.  You do get the option to change the difficulty level but all that does is increase or decrease the amount of health that you have and doesn’t really affect how the enemies act or how many you will have to fight on a certain level.  You can get The Big Butcher now on Steam at a 30% discount ($5.59) until February 12 and then after that it goes back to its regular price of $7.99.  This is the best priced shooter I have played all year at either price so jump on this one as soon as you can.

 

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