Thursday, November 6, 2014

Desura Look - Beekyr: Shmup For Experts

When I read the title for this game I was a little put off. I know "shmup" is a common term for 2D shooters, but it still rubs me the wrong way. Beekyr is a competent little game, if you don't mind its shallow game design. You're a bee fighting for queen and hive, and thousands of insects and their bullets aren't going to stop you.

Other 2D shooters tend to have all these sub-systems. So if you shoot an enemy with the special shot, while triggering fever mode, while grazing at least three other bullets, and within tickling distance of the vanquished adversary, you get a 1.85 multiplier bonus. There's none of that stuff in Beekyr. Just hold down the shot button and make sure those insects die. That's the scoring system. There are a few overhead stages where you collect pollen. When the meter fills up you can kill the boss. This is a very simplistic shmup.

It's also pretty easy. My advice is to move right past the normal setting. At least go with "Arcade" or "Expert". On normal you'd have to struggle just to see more than a couple enemy bullets on-screen. There is a "Bullet-Hell" setting as well. This is the setting where all of the bullets have been hiding out, and they get heaped on as early as the first stage. This is a truly difficult setting, and probably unfairly so. A lot of it has to do with the types of enemies. There are some that shoot out a stream of destructible shots, which aren't very threatening. But then there are the little buggers that fly in circles, are hard to hit, and in less than a second they've filled the entire screen with bullets. Unlike the average bullet-hell, the player-bee doesn't have a smaller hit-box to compensate. The hero is a very large target, and that's a bad thing when hundreds of floating pieces of death are flying about. The overhead stages are just headache-inducing. The enemies fire destructible bullets, but they all approach from an angle, one that flies just south of your fire, which is more than sufficient to make your abdomen explode.

I'm going to wager that the "Bullet-Hell" setting didn't see much in the way of testing. Considering the situations the player is frequently thrown into and the lack of a decent hit-box, this seems like a setting added for laughs. Beekyr is an otherwise charming title that makes up for its lack of complexity by being functionally sound and for the most part a smooth ride. If you're looking for a bullet-hell, there's a few dozen others I've reviewed that are a better pick.

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