Flying a spaceship, racking up a high score, and blowing up enemies in colorful pixelated glory is a standard delight in video games, but Atari’s Defender did it rather differently in 1980. The game had players flying across the screen, in a circular path that looped constantly, putting players in a defensive position, as opposed to an offensive position.
This kept players in a constant, frantic loop that required players to destroy the enemy while protecting the lives of helpless humans on the ground. This unique gameplay formula continues to find itself surfacing into today’s world, with game’s like RESOGUN and Aqua Kitty DX: Milk Mine Defender. With Graceful Explosion Machine from Vertex Pop, we find ourselves going into a familiar gameplay formula, as Graceful Explosion Machine is a 2D side scrolling spaceship shooter in the vein of Defender.
However, here, there are no humans to defend. There is a score to rack up, hundreds of enemies to be killed, and many wonderful explosions to set off. Originally, released in the Nintendo Switch, Graceful Explosion Machine has found itself on the PlayStation 4, ready to take on a new audience of gamers. The resulting game challenges you to destroy every single enemy that stands between you is a gracefully fun experience, that looks sharp and asks players to be sharper.
Graceful Explosion Machine puts you in the role of a lone spaceship, ambushed and cut off from your friends and family in the main armada. Marooned in an isolated solar system, your job is to absolutely destroy everything that stands between you and reuniting with your family. While your small golden spaceship may look cute and cuddly, the firepower players wield is anything but. Armed with a blaster, sniper beam, energy blade, and missiles, players will be a galactic force to be reckoned with on their journey.
In the vein of Defender, players will pilot their ship in a 2D side scrolling view. On each planet, there are ten levels, with each level containing three phases. Each phase will have players battling hundreds of enemies on-screen, garnering the highest multiplier possible and encouraging players to acquire a high score. The only way to win is to absolutely destroy everything in sight. To do so, your ship is equipped with four unique weapons: A blaster, an energy blade, a sniper beam, and missiles. The blaster is the standard weapon, which is reliable and dependable. The energy blade swirls a blue beam in a circular motion, wiping clean any enemies that get too close. The sniper beam fires a long-range concentrated beam of destruction towards any target. Finally, the missile can swarm and launch in any direction.
When using any of the weapons, with the exception of the blaster, your weapons have the potential to overheat. Using your other weapons wisely is important for survival and getting a high score. If your weapons overheat, you must rely on your blaster until your weapons have cooled down enough. The enemy will drop yellow energy crystals, which will reduce the cooldown as well. Players can also use their dash ability to dodge through enemies as well.
With the mechanics together, Graceful Explosion Machine proves to be a great arcade shooting experience. I never noticed a slowdown or let up in any of the gameplay. The controls felt extremely smooth and the gameplay was true to an arcade classic. The screen lit up with enemies and their explosive demise. As the game is fast-paced, careful precision and determination are key elements to surviving the level. Even as the enemies became too overwhelming, I wanted to keep playing. Dying was only a minor setback to the enjoyment of the game. If I died and had to restart the whole level again, I wanted to keep playing.
Graceful Explosion Machine presents itself in a very eclectic fashion as well. Visually the game features a variety of crisp, vibrant colors, from the yellow glow of a sniper beam to the layered psychedelic colors of the speed dash. Like the title implies, enemies in the game explode in miraculous color and detail.
The soundtrack from Rob Dougay also highlights the action of the game with digital sounds and whimsical space effects. With the gameplay and presentation, the game becomes a sort of space musical, filled with bullets, lasers, missiles, and a large number of alien bad guys to destroy.
Graceful Explosion Machine is available now on multiple platforms including the PS4! Learn more by visiting their website HERE!