Shoot-’em Ups and spaceship-shooters have been around for a little over 30 years. For the most part, the genre is tried-and-true. These games have simple gameplay mechanics for players that yield instantaneous fun for anyone looking for a quick game to play. As they go, players press start, hop into a ship and start blasting waves upon waves of enemies. From Galaga, RayStatorm, and 1943 to DariusBurst and Afterburner II, there is a nearly endless library of great shoot-em-ups to play, spanning every system and console possible. But, after several decades, a change is necessary, and that is what Justin Rempel at Spacewave Software has brought to with his game Rival Megagun. The game is an ambitious, brand new spaceship-shooter, having made an appearance during the Raw Fury MiX event at PAX WEST, and several other conventions. Having played the game myself and greatly enjoyed my time with it, the final game has arrived and it has quickly become one of my favorite games this year. Additionally, it has also become an incredible spaceship game that I would encourage everyone of all skills levels to play.
In the year 2000, an unknown force was detected to be entering Earth’s atmosphere. This force is a mysterious aliens species, known as The Harvesters. These tentacled beings, operating with a hive mind, appear to be nothing but grotesque monstrosities. However, they have a deceivingly sharp intelligence, possessing the ability to create new weapons and defenses instantaneously from shards of scrap. As the Earth’s defensive forces collide with the Harvesters, shards of metal from the damaged craft are molded by the harvesters into weapons and shields. The fleet is decimated. Over the years, humans are under a constant watch by the Harvesters. Humans are desperate to destroy the harvesters menace. Their hope lies in a gameshow , called Rivial Megagun. Earth’s best pilots will fight tremendously against each other and become the hero Earth needs to destroy the harvesters.
Rival Megagun sports the classic looks of arcade spaceship shooters. Games like Alpha Mission and The Raiden Project comes to mind when seeing the sharp detail and vibrant illustrations of Rival Megagun. Moving at the speed of BLAST processing, Rival Megagun looked incredibly polished. I saw a plethora of particle effects, laser fire, and starships dart the screen for a thrilling visual experience. Regrettably, I was unable to hear the game, due to the fact that the event was in a bar, but at least I could see and play the game with the developer. After a few moments, we began a face-off.
The gameplay was simple enough. Shoot everything you see, collect power-ups for your weapons, and avoid the enemy left and right. However, there was a catch in beating your opponent and that was the use of score-chains, combos. The higher the chain, the more powerful the enemies become for the other player. Bigger enemies, such as sturdier starfighters and bombers, will make their way to the other screen. More enemies and bullets will challenge the player. Likewise, the opposing player can do the same exact thing.
Soon, players are locked in an epic battle, shooting at enemies and enemies being sent your way, desperately trying to build your chain and survive. Building chains are thrilling, especially when you can send devastating special moves onward to the other team. However, the ultimate move is gunship transformation. When your chain is high enough, you can transform into a massive starship that invades the other side, giving you the opportunity to drop immeasurable firepower on your opponent. in other words, you are the boss fight that your opposing player dreads.
Playing Rival Megagun was absolutely thrilling. I was constantly locked into a state of intense battle and competition. It was incredible to be sending ships and enemy fire over to my competitions way and see the kind of challenges he sent my way. At one point, I sent over an alien bomber, and I was in direct control of it, shooting heavy weapons fire toward the player. It was like that for a good 5 minutes, until inevitably I was shot down and I lost the match. it was an incredibly neat experience that I cannot wait to play more of.
Rival Megagun will be launching for the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC by the end of the year.