Review: Droid Assault by Puppy Games

Review: Droid Assault by Puppy Games
4.5
Game Name: Droid Assault
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Publisher(s): Puppy Games
Developer(s): Puppy Games
Genre(s): Action
Release Date: January 9 2013

Developer Summary

Play Droid Assault and experience running blaster battles with hordes of rampaging killer robots! Discover a unique tactical arcade shooter, with the fun addictive gameplay of 8-bit classics. You’ll need your wits and the help of your acquired droid squad to stay alive in this fast-paced retro actionfest.

What We Think

From indie game developers Puppy Games, who brought us Revenge of the Titans (don’t call the graphics “16-bit” inspired, they prefer “retro-chic”), Droid Assault is constructed for players that crave the adrenaline rush of dodging a searing hail of enemy projectiles. Droid Assault is smart, nerve-wracking, and intense.

Boss-bots pack some crazy firepower.

Boss-bots pack some crazy firepower.

Infectious

Omnicorp produces some of the world’s most destructive automated military hardware, ranging from crowd control droids to armed-to-the-teeth assault mechs. Now, the bots have rebelled and turned the main assembly plant into a death factory. The only available course of action is to destroy every droid in the building. This will require controlling some of the droids via a disruptive virus, and pitting the infected bots against the rest.

The player starts with control over a tiny droid whose sole purpose to infect other machines. A transfer beam is emitted by hovering over an enemy bot and right-clicking. Once complete, the target bot now comes under player control. This unit will also have the ability to fire off the virulent transfer beams. Each commandeered unit will continue to fight enemy droids even if not being directly controlled by the player.

To transfer successfully, the transfer beam must have enough power to at least equal the security clearance of the target automaton. Take care when launching the beam: bots with higher clearances also take longer to successfully gain control, and the player-controlled bot will be motionless and defenseless while the process takes place. Bots with higher clearance generally start with more advanced processing power and weaponry, so the attempt is worth the risk.

The player team can contain up to eight droids at one time. Player control can be quickly transferred to any of the units by hitting the assigned numeric key assigned to the drone, or by launching a transfer beam to a nearby friendly unit (and this does not use up a transfer charge).

I got your security clearance right here! *pew* *pew*

I got your security clearance right here! *pew* *pew*

Select Your Options Package

One great feature comes with every OmniCorp product: universal upgrade modules. It may have been a big selling feature for the ‘Corp back in the day, and it has become the insurgency’s greatest advantage. Any bot being directly controlled by the player can make use of multiple upgrade tokens. Players can focus on boosting one bot, or keeping the upgrades balanced throughout the team.

Upgrades in speed, battery life, shielding and assault strength will randomly drop from defeated foes. Repair tokens and monetary bonuses can also be found, and rampage tokens will kick a bot into overdrive, causing it to unleash ballistic hell for a brief period.

In my experience, I tended to heap the upgrades on the bot I was piloting. While having an army of team bots is helpful, the AI just doesn’t hold a candle to player control. Unless you plan to employ a micromanagement play style over your team, you may find that upgrading AI drones simply means that they leave slightly more impressive piles of scrap when they meet their demises.

Metallic killers like this are among Omni-Corp's top sellers.

Metallic killers like this are among Omni-Corp’s top sellers.

Superb Handling

With its retro-themed visuals and sound effects, Droid Assault looks sharp and plays like a dream. The deliberately simple designs of the droids and levels are heavily accentuated with stylish, mood-enhancing glowing light effects, lush explosion and fragmentation emitters, and sleek, pulsing damage animations.

The controls consist of the arrow keys for movement, with the left mouse button firing, and the right mouse button firing control beams. It is simplicity itself, which is fortunate, as later levels are going to require a lot of quick movements.

Most enemy drones will fire at where a target is currently standing. To avoid taking damage, being able to target a drone while in motion is a crucial technique. While taking on one or two drones at a time won’t be too taxing, Danger Stages will have multiple enemies descending upon one the player at once, muzzles ablaze.

Danger stages and boss battles represent the best of what Droid Assault has to offer. After using the lead-up stages to fortify a team, these large scale skirmishes become a zen-like barrage of light, sound and destruction. The team won’t be the same size once the smoke clears, but the battle is always intense and highly satisfying.

Think your team had it bad before? Danger Stages will force some perspective on you.

Think your team had it bad before? Danger Stages will force some perspective on you.

*Jedi Wave* These Are The Droids You’re Looking For

Drop in for a quick game of Droid Assault, and it charms instantly. Play through a few stages, and it sinks in its mechanical claws. Before long, the quest to overtake superior tech is part of your own programming. With 50 levels to conquer, dozens of droids to dominate and a plethora of upgrades screaming out to be inserted, Droid Assault will launch an all-out onslaught on your free time.

Get the Free Demo at the Puppy Games website

Get Droid Assault on Steam

Rating: ★★★★½ 

One Comment

  1. Haystack says:

    I’m astonished nobody’s commented on your excellent review of what has become one of my favorite games.

    Puppy Games has a knack for making compelling remakes of golden oldies — Titan Attacks! = Space Invaders, and Ultratron = Robotron 2084, but their other games are immensely fun, too.

    I’m not a fan of RTS, and even I like Revenge of the Titans….

    but this thing here is my favorite of the lot… it’s by far the most-played game I have on Steam
    (the original Borderlands is a distant second).

    Droid Assault is immensely replayable and a heck of a lot of fun, without being unfairly difficult in most cases.

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