November 16, 2011 2 Comments
Avatar Panic is by Milkstone Studios, creators of Raventhrone AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Sorry folks, I’m having traumatic flashbacks to the Indie Summer Uprising over here. Although a handful of good titles came out of that excursion in digital fecalness, the one game that still sticks out the most to me is Raventhorne. Perhaps that’s because it was just so fucking awful. Seriously, if you haven’t played it you can’t comprehend how awful it was. If Hitler was reincarnated in the body of a Terminator fueled by the souls of aborted fetuses, it would not be as awful as Raventhorne.
But Milkstone obviously has talent. They wooed me early on in my Indie Gamer Chick career with MotorHEAT, a slick arcade racer. Now, they’re trying to win me back with Avatar Panic, an 80MSP clone of the arcade classic Buster Bros. Perhaps shucking originality was a good thing for Milkstone. They can now once again flaunt their developer chops without making the player question the existence of God or taking a table saw to their own wrists.
For those unfamiliar with Buster Bros, it’s a single-screen action game where you have to pop balls bouncing around by firing a harpoon at them. When you hit a ball, it splits into two smaller balls. Hit one of those, you get two more, etc, etc. Occasionally enemies will drop power-ups that allow you to fire your harpoon faster, shoot more than one at a time, have the harpoon stick to the ceiling, or shoot two at the same time at diagonal angles. Most of this will be familiar to fans of the Buster Bros formula.
The graphics are very well done and the music is cheerful. Okay, okay, Avatar Panic is pretty good. It has smooth play control and it’s so well done that it might be the best version of this format to come along in a while. Earlier this year I played a PSP Mini called Run Ghost Run that was in the “not so good” category. Avatar Panic totally slays it, and does so with style. There are even online leaderboards to be found here. The one and only problem is there’s no save feature, so you’re expected to beat all 50 levels in a single sitting. But I’m sure Milkstone can fix it with a patch. So does Avatar Panic erase the memory of Raventhorne? Absolutely. Assuming you play the game while hitting yourself in the head with a mallet and drinking pure grain alcohol.
80 Microsoft Points think they should make another clone of Buster Bros with whales instead of balls and then submit the game to PETA for an “endorsement” in the making of this review.
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