Scott Watson reviews Wondershot…
Wondershot takes me back. It takes me back to Friday nights with my mates, a PlayStation, a multi-tap, some beers and a ton of fun. The fact that it draws to mind these nights of local co-op fun brings a smile to my face. It plays on my nostalgia. It reminds me of the likes of Bomberman, of Micro Machines, of Track & Field and the like. Halcyon days when local co-op was the way to socialise with your gaming mates instead of the norm these days where we’re too used to faceless voices on the other end of party chat.
Its simplicity is its draw; you have one shot, you have one life. You hit the enemy, they’re out. They do the same to you and it’s game over. Even in this age of gaming, simple can still be the best, the most gripping, the most entertaining. The guys at Leikir Studios have latched onto that nugget of play-ability by taking a simple premise and building a multi-player battle arena around it. It’s great fun, and inspired thinking to keep things so focused.
The game places you within a single screen arena from a top-down perspective and, depending on the game type you select, you’ll either be going solo, co-op with friends locally, or trying to take your friends down in an all-out brawl. The arenas tend to include some form of obstacle that can generally be used to your advantage, be it defensively if you’re being attacked or as a means of taking down enemies that are out of reach. It’s a puzzle element that’s a great addition to the game and adds a nice layer of strategy into the mix without over-complicating things. Couple this with the need for quick thinking and quick reactions and you could say I’m doing the game a disservice saying it’s simple.
While you may have the choice of your favourite weapon in multi-player battles, the single player and co-op definitely needs you to think quick on how best to use what’s given to you for the task at hand. The choice of weapons provided each have a specific use and ability; the bow can be used to fire homing or quick-firing arrows, the hammer lets you take out multiple foes in close proximity or phase your way through obstacles and enemy projectiles, the sling gives you shots that can ricochet and finally the boomerang does exactly what it says on the tin while being able to hover and return to where you move to!
There’s one other important part of your arsenal and that’s your dodge roll to help you not only get out of tight spots, but also give you that all important breathing space if you’ve missed your shot and need to recover your ammo. And it will happen. It’s easy to very quickly lose your rhythm and control as the clock ticks down on the challenge at hand. This is a big part of the game’s hook and thrill too. There’s always pressure on you to make that shot, otherwise you’re faced with the consequences of needing to be quick or be dead.
My only concern is that perhaps the game doesn’t have the longevity in single player or co-op mode (although the endless challenge mode could satiate that hunger). Then again, that can be easily over-looked, as the multi-player brawl more than makes up for it and is really where the core of the game lies I feel. So get four mates together and I can guarantee its happy days and friendly rivalry all round. That alone is enough to sell me on the brilliance of this gem of a game.
Score – 8/10
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