Hostile Hustle

Hostile Hustle combines a Space Invaders clone with a climber.  Sounds like it should work, and maybe it can, but not the way its done here.  The problem is gaming has kind of evolved past the original, slow-as-constipated-shit Space Invaders formula.  That’s why recent titles in the franchise feature insane amounts of power-ups and move at the speed of lightning.  Hostile Hustle slows things back to a crawl, resulting in a title that is exhausting in its tedium.  Most innovations in gaming these days come from combining one type of game with another to create an unholy hybrid.  In this regard, combing a climber with Space Invaders is like combing a rain forest with napalm.  Well, not really I guess, because that would at least be fun to watch.

Here’s the basic setup: a wave of baddies takes formation.  As you shoot at them, they disappear and platforms spawn.  Jump up the platforms, more baddies appear.  Shoot them and more platforms appear.  Eventually, an exit will appear.  Some traps might pop up, like spikes, stun-lock lasers, air compressors, or spiky balls, but otherwise it’s just you, shooting, and more shooting.  30 levels, good luck having fun.

People out there wonder how other people can truly believe the Earth is only 4,000 years old. To which I say, look at how some people choose to ignore 30 years of gaming evolution in favor of recycling stale gameplay. It’s not that big a stretch.

Mechanically, Hostile Hustle mostly works.  The controls are adequate, but I spent most of the game wishing I had a double jump instead of the lame ass “push the enemies back and/or give yourself a seizure” wave thingie that happens when you press the A button mid-jump.  Never needed it once, thought it was the most worthless creation since the solar-powered toaster.  However, there are some design choices that are really mind bogglingly stupid, like having a bright-orange sun in the background.  Why is that annoying?  Because enemy projectiles are bright-orange fireballs.  It doesn’t seem like it was something done to make the game challenging either.  It just seems like a brain fart that made it all the way through production, which made me question whether anyone at Lethal Martini actually played their own fucking game.

Other hiccups include not having enough power-ups, and the ones you get not lasting long enough.  Sure, they might make the game too easy.  Quick survey though: who wants to play a game that is fun, fast-paced, and easy over a game that is slow, plodding, and only slightly less easy?  These are the choices you have to make, developers.  Remember, your goal is to give players a couple of hours of entertainment, not bore them into a coma.  Hostile Hustle’s lack of frills strikes me as done in that manner because that’s how games used to be.  Sure, because games used to be designed to rob you of money one-quarter at a time.  When your game is a one-time purchase of $1, your entire focus should be “make sure my game isn’t boring 99% of the time, so that anyone who plays it recommends it to others.”  Come on people, this shit should be self-explanatory.

After about 45 minutes, I wanted to throw the towel in with Hostile Hustle, but the only thing it was truly guilty of was being about as exciting as bread-flavored gum.  Then I fought the first boss, and once I picked apart all the little green blobs, the stage didn’t end.  Why?  Because some of the enemies were hanging out at the far left and right edges of the screen, not moving, not shakable with the silly solar-wave thingie.  There were also no platforms for which I could stand on to shoot them, because the level was designed by someone with no interest in actually playing the game, and thus I had to fall all the way to the bottom of the map just to be able to shoot the fuckers.

Hostile Hustle would have been way more interesting if it had been made up just of these types of fights. There’s only two, and one ended with my system crashing.

At this point, I had the excuse I needed to quit Hostile Hustle, because it had officially crossed the line from being bland to being bad.  Like an idiot, I pressed on because I held out hope that something could be salvaged from this piece of shit.  But no, just 14 more levels of agony followed by another shitty boss fight.  The only changes being more traps and seemingly shorter levels.  By level 25, I was seriously contemplating whether I wanted to play a game ever again, but there’s only five levels left, and how much worse could it get?  Then I beat the final boss, and the game promptly crashed.  Of course it did.  So nearly 90 minutes of my life burned to see the infamous Code 4 ending.  Do I recommend Hostile Hustle?  I would sooner recommend you drink an actual Lethal Martini.

Hostile Hustle was developed by Lethal Martini Games

80 Microsoft Points noted that hemlock taste just like parsley juice in the making of this review.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

2 Responses to Hostile Hustle

  1. I had fun with the demo, but my biggest gripe was one you mentioned: having to drop down to hit any enemies on the sides. That said, when I see things like that, my mind switches to “speed run” mode and I look at it as a puzzle I need to overcome.

  2. Pingback: Indie Links Round-Up: Dark Room | The Indie Game Magazine - Indie Game Reviews, Previews, News & Downloads

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