Horizon Shift Review: Pulse-Pounding Addiction

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Flump Studios has invaded Steam with their exciting new take on the retro style shoot’em up genre with Horizon Shift, the explosive new wave based arcade and survival shooter offering loads of new platform elements and chaotic charm.

Horizon Shift’s bold character, though it comes in a simple package, places you in the hot seat rather quickly, forcing you to discover the processes for success until you get the hang of it, which you’ll probably never master unless you have Jedi blood coursing through your veins. Clearing out waves of enemy invaders though initially simple to achieve, becomes increasingly more challenging and addictive.

Waves of enemies and projectile come at you from the north, south and east, west angles of your screen in an attempt to compromise your line of defense, also known as the Horizon. Because your defense can and will be broken often, your battlecraft has the ability to jump over the broken Horizon areas as well as double jump to avoid incoming enemy fire.

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Make your jumps with precision, you’ve been warned!

The Horizon in which players fight from is a divided line, knowing what side of the Horizon to be on and when can be the difference of life and death. With only three live to work with (arcade mode) your fun stress meter rises when intensity picks. Often we realized success came when we didn’t panic and stayed focused. Moving too much wasn’t always the best choice. In fact, there are times when your Horizon will only consist of little to almost no wiggle room and you must be quick on your feet.

This is where we found the aid of the bomb to be most invaluable. Bomb acquisitions are made when your purple bomb meter is completely filled, indicating it is ready to go. Reminiscent of Resogun, when all else fails and you absolutely, positively need to destroy everything coming your way, there is no shame in getting a well-deserved quick breather with the aid of the bomb. Because bombs aren’t readily available we encourage you use them sparingly.

No bombs in the silo, thankfully you can always restart from your last checkpoint without having to brutally start from the games beginning which was refreshing to learn.

When you think you’re safe, you’re not. Even acquiring the cool dual-craft or redirection ability which allows players to lay down a barrage of firepower while controlling a battlecraft on both side of the Horizon has it challenges. The redirection ability comes at a cost, especially when enemy vessels land on the Horizon and the outer space is filled with projectiles and objects and there are no bombs in sight.

Completing waves and eventually a round introduces a cool mini game in the form of Pong on steroids. Here is where if you’re competing against friends, you can pile on the points in a hurry. The mini-game is all about staying in the bonus round for as long as possible, gathering points by knocking the ball into the plethora of point loot on the screen. The more enemy waves you complete during the game, the more challenging and varied mini-game bonus round are introduced.

Eventually you face-off against the varied epic bosses which offer their own set of challenges, keeping you on your toes. Boss battles are impressively fueled by a super-charged soundtrack, in fact the entire experience boasts a noteworthy music mix properly suited for the intense ride.

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While boss battles are memorable, it would have been a nice touch if bosses were given an identifiable life gauge, assisting players with a damage report. All too often we were hoping the bosses would die already, unknowing of how much longer it would take. Though a life indicator would have been great, maybe the absence of it were intentional in keeping with the games competitive nature.

Offering various and challenging gameplay modes, from arcade, arcade arrange and survival, none were as arousing as Tournament mode. Totally brutal at brake neck speeds, Tournament mode has players moving across the Horizon at great speed while incoming objects are also dropping in on you rather quickly. The catch here is you have no lives, no power ups, no trusty bombs or chain effects to fall back on. The point of this mode is to hold on for dear life. There are additional modes , however we’re still working to somehow unlock them.

We understand that we can’t be great at every game we play, but even in our Horizon Shift humility, we are having a absolute blast chipping away at increasing our total score.

Now available on Steam for $4.99, Horizon Shift is awesomely addictive and painstakingly challenging. Slump Studios latest experience is easily up there with the best shooters of the genre.

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