Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ether cannon: Crash and burn

This is a review of the hit new shooter badge game, Ether Cannon.

Get used to this EVIL EVIL screen.

Gameplay: 6.5 out of 10. Unfortunatly, the gameplay is, in my opinion, awful. The upgrades range from almost unnoticable (speed upgrades) to totally overpowered (attack). Another porblem with upgrades is the attack ones only ever are noticable whenever the shot changes, and then it seems to increase about 10-fold in total strength. The way the game is set up is also strange: You simply fly around a square shaped playing field, which you never see more of because you are the center. Enemies are relative to you, meaning with high speed, an enemy trailing behind you will eventually wrap around and hit you in the face. The control is fairly responsive, but it takes too long to change direction. Not that you ever NEED to change direction. The only real strategy is to go in a diagonal direction and either shoot at the enemies on your tail, or shoot in front of you so your shots form a "sheild" from enemy bullets.

Also, the difficulty is totally random between levels. The hardest level, IMO, was not the boss (it follows simple curving arcs left and right, BTW), but a level with the light blue orbs. The bombs they drop take up half the screen and deal 2 3rds of your rapidly restoring health. Basically, it just means you have to get lucky. I would have much prefered a more resiliant, non restoring sheild so that a little skill in dodging instead of luck in where the enemies start would be required. The only real skill involved is making sure that you don't get hit by 3 enemies, which will almost always kill you.

Graphics: 6/10. Oddly enough, they are actually about the same as N3wtons: Drawn OK, but really simple. Your ship is a square, your shots are ovals, circles, or what looks like predrawn sprites, and the enemies are all slightly glowing spheres. The ships "thrust" which just comes from all thrusters at once no matter where you go, is flashy, but still just very simple sprites. Overall, it is cool looking, but not that good.

Sound: 6/10. Totally annoying sound. It hardly matches the actual game things either. Energy ballsalls fired out of the ship, which look like they would make more of a vroosh sound, still make the annoying sound of the first weapon. Dying sounds likes somebody lighting a bunch of firecrackers 200 feet away. The music is OK, but not the best.

Story: Apparantly evil spheres are blocking the sun. Whatever. Still N/A

Reviewers Tilt: This is a new section. Seeing as I have to admit it is mediocre in the other aspects, but my enjoyability of it is low, the Tilt section is used to allow my vague perceptions of the game in no specific category (overall feel, basically) influence the review. (An example would be how DTD had great gameplay, but only OK graphics and sound, yet it was so enjoyable that I wanted to play it many times, and I would give it a 9.5 at the worst).

For this game, I give the tilt a 4/10. All during play, instead of getting the normal perception in shooters, a nice little glow as I killed evil aliens, I felt like.... "Uggh.... Another death because the enemies spawned here and the ships horrible manevurability and dumb sheild system caused me to die in 2 hits while shots surrounded me fired at 10 a second." Overall, the game is just not FUN. It looks fast, but in reality, if you take away all the flashy stuff, it is just a boring space shooter.

Replayability: Low medium~medium (low being I couldn't complete it even with a badge for it, very high being I play it almost daily). It is enough to make you play through it once, and hard mode might attract your attention, but I really doubt anybody who keeps playing could stand it for more than 3 runthroughs.

Overall score: 5.5/10. Get the badges, which are a lot easier, just more annoying, than their difficulty implies, and never play again. EVER.


Focus said...

OMG. How do you compare this game's graphics with N3wton's? This one is 10x better.

Milskidasith said...

Because all it is is flashy circles, as I said. Newton is the same thing: Just circles with some nice shading detail and other shapes. This one may be a bit flashier, but it is still just circles. He just put a lot more circles in a lot brighter colors firing different color circles and blowing up in orange circletastic explosions. If anything, I should have docked him points because the player actually looks aesthetically, well, awful. The proportions of the turret and ship are just weird, especially since they are both effectivly squares. If it were not for the ship, it might have gotten .5 higher for the flashiness, but with the ship looking bad.... meh.

Focus said...

Well, it's your review, everyone thinks different :)

greg said...

Very interesting review. I think I like this game a lot more than most people, and I was a little surprised by its reception on Kongregate. Still, though, most of your criticisms seem pretty logical -- or at least far more constructive than the average comment on the game page.

Milskidasith said...

Thanks Greg. I suppose MAYBE gameplay might deserve a bit higher, because I think my Tilt kind of affected it a little, but I would still give it the same overall.

Comments are appreciated!

Dbtking111 said...

this game is really fun, but also boring, i think your review was harsh and yet i cant disagree withy ou coz your right...which personally i take to mean that the game is rubbish coz you cant like it even if you want to...which is about as bad as you can get, for that i9t gets a 1/5 for me and thankyou for making me come to my senses before i gave it 5/5 also good review

"How to Kongregate" said...

For a far more detailed guide, read "How to Kongregate: Ether Cannon"!

Milskidasith said...

This isn't even a guide... It is a review...