Sunday, December 7, 2014

When you play it, you'll shoot bricks - Hyper Princess Pitch

It's December, the holiday season, Christmas is in a few weeks, with the new year right behind it. the snow and cold means it's a good time to stay indoors and play some games. It also means idiots like me running stupid little blogs nobody reads are required to review Christmas games. Well, I say that but the truth is I've got a good Christmas themed game, one that I like to play for a bit each year and while my medical issues mentioned in my last post prevent me from readily playing and reviewing games for the time being, I figured rather than close the year here on that, I should try to put aside some time and pull myself together to give this game a review.

Hyper Princess Pitch is a top down action game based on an old action games like Smash TV, or the old DOS Operation: Carnage, which the developer says this title is a remake of. I'll admit I have never played operation Carnage and am not very familiar with it. but I don't think that's too important to enjoy the game, just under stand that this is a fast paced, arena based top down shooter and you'll have a good idea of what you're in for.
When a game starts with a scene like this, you know you're in for one hell of a ride.
The game has a simple story. you play as Princess Pitch who, along with her legless, jet powered cat named Catstrike, head to the north pole to rampage through the factories of Mecha Santa in an attempt to stop Christmas, because she never got any presents. while the story is mostly just an excuse to run around shooting things, I have to hand it to developer for coming up with a completely insane story that sets the tone for the rest of the game.

Gameplay in Hyper Princess Pitch is fairly simple. Each of the games stages are broken into several rooms, each room being a sort of set piece, with waves of enemies that swarm into the room that you have to defeat to move on. An interesting feature is that while the game boasts about 70 rooms to paly through, you don't see them all in one game, instead each room can have multiple exits, leading to each stage having several branching paths. it leads to a good amount of replayability as it will take several playthroughs to see all the rooms.
enemies like to attack in huge swarms
To clear the rooms, you have several weapons at your disposal. Starting with a basic gun that shoots bricks. Yes, bricks. you also have a rainbow gun that shoots bouncing projectiles, and an ice gun that has a short range, but can destroy some projectiles. There's also several powerups, giving you temporary access to abilities like spread fire or extra movement speed, or even an airstrike from your cat Catstrike to clear out large waves of enemies. while there's only a few weapons and powerups, each one feels unique and nothing feels redundant or useless.

The game also has plenty of enemies to fight. from killer elves and tops, to trains and sleighs armed with cannons, some rooms even have unique or rare enemies not readily found anywhere else in game. this culminates in the boss, which are as crazy as the rest of the game, wither it's a massive robot elf or cat headed tank, each boss is massive, filling most of the arena and takes some effort to bring down. there's also what happens when you beat the bosses that While I won't say what happens as I think it's best if you see it yourself, I will say it involves a lot of explosions and is fitting over the top for a game like this.

Some rooms like this, offer some unique challenges
The game uses pixel graphics and while it is Christmas themed, it handles it in a slight unusual way. This is a Mecha Santa we're dealing with and the game's graphics reflect it with you fighting off elves and Santa hats in giant metal factories. graphics for the most part are simple and fairly clean, every thing is nice and colorful, and simple enough that the details don't detract from the frantic action on screen.

The sound in the game is fairly retro, all bleeps and bloops that fit the game nicely, and don't become annoying when the action gets heated, there's even a few lines of voice acting which are suitibly over the top and fit the tone of the game nicely. The music however, is easily the games greatest strength. interestingly, Hyper princess Pitch does not use Christmas music, but instead has an original score that consists of some rocking chiptunes that while somewhat short, are a lot of fun to listen to and back the action perfectly.
Each stage ends in a fight against a large boss
The game surprisingly doesn't have any major flaws. i haven't encountered any bugs, helped by the fact that the developer still supports it, releasing a new patch about once a year or so two tweak things. The game even has two separate executables to make sure it's compatible with as many systems as possible, which is amazing given this game is a small freeware Christmas game. The game is fairly short, but is built around replayability with local high scores and multiple difficulty levels to play through. Plus it's free, meaning it's not like you're paying anything to start with.

Overall. If you want a good game to play around Christmas time, this is it. it's fun, crazy, highly replayable, and is freely available for download. It's even a very small download, only about 20mb zipped. so there's very little reason not to go and give this thing a try.

Hyper Princess Pitch was developed and published by Remar Games. It is available from the developer here. it's soundtrack is available on Bandcamp.

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