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REVIEW: DepthAttack

Whenever I read a game’s description as ‘TPS Game. Homing is divided out of the Balkans and is characterized by’, I think Google Translate had a bit of fun at a foreign language’s expense. Which is unfortunate. To be fair, my Japanese is (currently) non-existent, and I can only imagine how this site reads in translation (though it looks really cool). So while I’m sure the Balkans are nice this time of year, I’m going to assume the description was something about DepthAttack (240 MSP) being a shooter.

DepthAttack - Screen

Either that girl is really tiny, or the cones are freakishly huge.

And a rail shooter on a wireframe grid is exactly what it is, with regular and homing shots in the minor vein of something like Star Fox / Panzer Dragoonexcept with a schoolgirl and none of the narrative, fun, or talking animals / dragon-riding. Instead you’ll be dodging and destroying cylinders, cones, and other flying menaces, only rarely ever being encumbered by your enemies, most of which are re-skinned and recycled throughout. DepthAttack hedges its bets just in the event you do struggle, laying a trail of health pickups before each mini-boss and end boss. Those fights too, are largely routine and reused.

Being easy is one thing, though the game lets you in on its most grievous error straight away, committing the mortal sin of not having an auto-fire and insisting you press down every time in order to shoot. Call it being nitpicky or call it a vote for sanity, but there’s a rule for making shooters. That rule is simple; you should be able to hold down the button to continuously fire. We’d all like to stave off gaming arthritis for as long as we possibly can. Having to pause the game after each stage to physically rest up for the next is never a good design choice.

DepthAttack - Screen2

Even that could be forgiven if there were other redeeming qualities, but DepthAttack doesn’t have any. Variety in any form is sorely missing, just part of the lesser whole, along with its uninspired gameplay, obnoxious sound effects, and ‘bored’ layout (only once did the game ditch the grid look, and it was hardly transformative).

Should you need it, the game does save progress, starting you at the most recent level. At four stages long (about twenty minutes), however, there’s not much real estate to cover, nor any real denouement or extras gained upon completion (reversing the controls doesn’t count). DepthAttack is a poor excuse for a shooter in any language, and there’s zero reason to recommend a trial when it’s lacking in mechanics and duration. It’s just far too expensive to be this basic.

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