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It could be said that time has not been kind to the humble shoot-em-up. Over thirty years ago, games like Space Invaders, Defender, Asteroids and Galaxian were drawing mullet-sporting teens in stonewashed skinny jeans and tight leather jackets to amusement arcades like moths to the glowing neon lights that would hang above the entrance. Today, such arcades are a rarity; mostly replaced by shops or trendy bars and often pulled down entirely, whilst the teenagers of 2015 queue all night outside their local grocery store to buy the latest copy of Call of Duty minutes after its launch.
The shoot-em-up genre has never been keen to go quietly into the night, however, and every generation of consoles has had its fair share of classic static, scrolling and roaming shoot-em-ups for players to consider. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a couple of days with Project Root, an upcoming shooter from Argentinian developer OPQAM that is positioning itself as the definitive next-generation take on this classic genre.
Project Root claims to feature a unique open world aspect in addition to crisp controls, cutting edge graphics, a comprehensive upgrade system and a truly exceptional level of challenge. The game isn’t scheduled for release for a few more weeks, but my experience with it over the past couple of days leads me to suggest that it may yet need a little work to live up to the lofty expectations set by the forebears which it aims to emulate.
In case you missed the recent news, the first Microsoft Garage title has been rather sneakily released into the wild as a free download on Xbox One. Voice Commander is a single-screen shooter in the style of the arcade classic Asteroids, with a few notable twists which between them make the most of the Kinect technology and add an additional layer of strategy. Players are invited to defend their home planet from wave after wave of alien attackers, whilst the titular voice commands are used to deploy defensive structures in specific quadrants or to deploy smart bombs and other secondary weapons.
Microsoft Garage games are made by various Microsoft Studio employees in their spare time, and Voice Commander has set the bar pretty high considering that it’s free to download. Currently, it can only be located via a Bing search on your Xbox One, and your console must also be set to the US region. Non-US players can still download and play Voice Commander, but will need to change their home region to US, download the game and then change back.
For more on Voice Commander, check out the gameplay video after the jump.
Decimation X3 is a 4 player shoot ’em up and thrilling sequel to the #1 Japan hit, Decimation X, and proud member of the Indie Games Winter Uprising. Back with intensified gameplay, extra power-ups, more firepower, improved retro graphics, huge bosses, and a beautifully remixed Imphenzia soundtrack. Developed by the “empower the player” philosophy of Xona Games, award-winning creators of Duality ZF and Score Rush. It currently is selling for 80MS Points (1 USD) in the Indie Games section of the marketplace.
How does it hold up to my rigorous tests? Well you know you have to click read more to find out.