Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Boss Slayer

Boss Slayer is my kinda game for one reason, and one reason alone: I like fighting bosses. I LOVE fighting bosses. I love it so much that I generally play video games TO fight the bosses. The legwork in-between? Eh, just an annoying warmup.

Boss Slayer disposes with all that irritating middle stuff. It's just bosses. And, thus, it's pretty good. Not amazing, but good.


If only other games were so straight to the point. Summary: ten evil alien warships have arrived at Earth. Objective: blow 'em up in twelve days, before Earth is destroyed. Huzzah! Plot's done.

Boss Slayer is a vertical shoot-em-up (shmup). More than that, though, it's part of the 'bullet hell' sub genre, and for good reason: every screen is absolutely teeming with incoming enemy gunfire. It's a more forgiving game in that you get a lot more health than the average shmup, but the bullets... the bullets are still a sight to behold when they start flying. Frightening.

But only at first. Boss Slayer is unique in that you gather money with each progression through the bosses. Gather enough and you can purchase upgrades for your ship after you die. These upgrades make your ship substantially tougher... not to mention crazy on the firepower. Bosses that caused you some trouble at first will die before they're fully on the screen by the end of the game. Plow through all ten bosses in one go and you win.

Simple? Yeah, a little. In this case, however, I don't think expanding the concept would help much. It's a neat idea, even if the result is a game that won't last terribly long. The fact that it measures the amount of days you took to kill all ten bosses will probably appeal to competitive gamers who want to get a lower number than everyone else. (If somebody ever manages to do it in one day, they are certifiably insane.)


Boss Slayer's ship fires constantly and automatically, so all you need to do is worry about steering. The game allows you to pick between mouse or arrows at the beginning: I tried out both, and though they're about even, I still prefer arrows. Either way, the controls are tight.


The visuals won't blow anyone out of the water. Though they have some neat designs, the ships in Boss Slayer look a liiiiittle too simplistic. Some more detail would be appreciated. Nothing about the aesthetics should offend anyone, though, and once the bosses start firing you won't care what they look like anyway.


Two songs: rapid action and between-mission, quasi elevator music. The midi nature of the tracks is a nice throwback to the retro titles upon which this game is built, but they're otherwise unremarkable.

Challenge Rating

The name 'bullet hell' is somewhat misleading in the case of Boss Slayer. It's not that difficult to beat all ten bosses before the twelve days are up: their firing patterns are more simplistic than they look, so long as you don't move overly much, and your ship becomes SO STRONG that slaughter is inevitable. Don't go too crazy and you shouldn't have a rough time of it.

... unless, of course, you decide not to upgrade your ship to maximum. I personally think that's a BAD idea, but... some people are mad like that...


Boss Slayer probably won't last much longer than ten or fifteen minutes for the average player, but they'll be a fun few minutes. This goes highly recommended to shmup fans.


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