A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Assault Android Cactus is a downloadable arcade game that's a throwback to the "twin-stick shooter" genre, which means you must be shooting at all times while also moving around -- one joystick per each endeavor. These types of games always have lots of chaotic action, with enemies coming from all over, because they're meant to be played by multiple people to stay on top of crowd control. The characters are all ridiculous and shout goofy things ("Pineapple!"), which is meant to lighten the mood usually inherent in these types of games. While there are lots of bullets that fly across the screen, there's no gore or blood; only cartoonish explosions and parts of robots falling off characters are shown.
What's it about?
ASSAULT ANDROID CACTUS doesn't really have a story, just hordes and hordes of robots, droids, and drones coming at you from all directions. Over a series of stages, you'll face an intensifying pace of gameplay leading up to boss enemies with complicated attack patterns trying to stop you. Either you'll face these hazards yourself or with up to three other friends who help you manage enemies as you try to make your way to the end and escape from the ship that has captured you.
Is it any good?
This fast-paced game will keep you on your toes and isn't for players only looking for some blind action. What's nice about Assault Android Cactus is that, unlike similar games in the genre, you can get knocked out as many times as you want. You do have lives, and you can die in the game, but that's where the real challenge comes in: It's not about how many hits you take, it's about how long you can keep your batteries charged. Your batteries are constantly draining and can only be charged when an enemy drops one. This keeps you going and going to avoid enemy fire, while you mow down as many of them as you possibly can. It gets trickier, too, when you have other players also trying to stay on their feet and not run out of power. But to be clear: This game is a very, very big challenge. That's the biggest knock against it, especially for new players. Skilled and seasoned players will love it, but newcomers will be intimidated, especially by the later levels.
Also, as you progress, it quickly goes from, "How do I avoid all the bullets?" to "Well, which bullets can I afford to be hit by to get the upper hand?" You'll have to continually learn and tweak new strategies on the fly -- and experiment with other characters who have different weapons and power-ups. But it's a huge help that the game has a goofy sense of humor, with over-the-top voice acting offset by slick visuals. It makes it easier to look at and easier to take all the failures you'll rack up. Play it with a few friends who all have plenty of patience, and you'll have a great time. Go it alone and expect to be frustrated.
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