October 4, 2011 9 Comments
Update: Sherbet Thieves received a Second Chance with the Chick. Chick here for my continued thoughts on it.
I was bound to get challenged on a twin-stick shooter at some point, and it finally happened in the form of Sherbet Thieves. There seems to be an undercurrent of bitterness towards these games among the Xbox Live Indie Game community. If I hate on a game, fanboys and cheerleaders (not the developers mind you) usually fire back with “I suppose you would rather play yet another twin-stick shooter!” Which is hilarious to me because twin-stick shooters have been on the receiving end of more digital blowjobs among the community than pretty much anything else.
Maybe this is the perfect genre to get your feet wet with. Maybe they take relatively little skill to put together. I don’t give a shit what the reason is, because they’re around and I finally have to deal with one. In Sherbet Thieves, enemies appear and you have to run around and shoot them. The gimmick here is that there’s multiple suns scattered throughout the stage and you have to guard from enemies that include, and I swear I’m not making this up, “space hippies” that seem to be riding giant bongs that fire smoke rings at you. Combine this with a spacey-acting farmer dude and I think I can see what the developer is trying to advocate here.
Either way, the game is perfectly competent, if not very exciting. There’s fourteen stages which should take you about 45 minutes to get through. You can purchase guns between stages and carry two into a level. The ordering of the guns seemed kind of baffling. The most expensive one is almost useless, while the second to last gun, which shoots bullets that bounce off the walls, was way overpowered and easily the best weapon in the game. It only took me about three levels to save up to get it, and once I had it I had no reason to use any other gun, so the store thing is kind of a pointless distraction.
But, as I said, the game is functional and the gimmick of defending the suns from the enemies does work. It’s sort of like Defender, because enemies will try to carry the suns to a U.F.O. and you have to keep track of all of them while running and shooting. If you lose all of them, it’s game over. You’re given gravity bombs that can suck the Suns towards them, so I went with the strategy of using the bombs right off the bat and centralizing the location of my suns. Most of the time, it worked. But then I would get to levels where there was one U.F.O. in the center of the map and suns all around it. These levels had much more tension to them. I don’t think the developer went as far as he could have in designing the levels, because the gimmick does lend itself to more creative options than he utilized.
I did enjoy my time with Sherbet Thieves, but it’s nothing special and I’ll likely forget about it as soon as I get done typing this review up. Bang Zero Bang had a good idea going with this, but its potential is left unrealized. With some more development time to add levels built around immediate danger, it could have been a real contender. Sherbet Thieves is without question a game that could have used some more THC. I mean TLC. Sigh.
80 Microsoft Points declared that winners don’t do drugs in the making of this review.
Hurley, whom I’m told has toenails made of cottage cheese, also covered this over at Gear-Fish.