Originally released on PC, Japanese arcade shoot ‘em up Astebreed lets you take the reins of one of the most powerful and versatile flying robots in existence and hurtles you across the galaxy for some intense nonstop bullet hell/sword slaying action. Astebreed is a swift and full on fight and comes with some tasty Japanese cut scenes too. One too check out? Definitely.
Playism and Developer Edelweiss thrust a visually awesome shooter your way. It’s beautiful. Getting to grips with Astebreed is easy, but playing the tutorial is advisable as there are some neat moves and scoring systems to learn. Roy’s mech has some pretty devastating firepower, dash attack moves and special attack moves which are all explained here.
You play as Roy Becket. Roy is a courageous character and a man of mystery. Complete with a scared burn across his body and an unconfirmed age, this young pilot has dreams of becoming as skilled as his adoptive father.
Starting up sees you needing to wade through a fair amount of text. Because this is a Japanese game there’s always going to be a tad more dialogue than you would normally expect. Sit back and enjoy it though. You’ll be glad of this timeout as once the action starts you can forget lunch; you’ll have a full screen of chaos to worry about. Even during gameplay endless text belts out at the bottom left of the screen relaying information on updates and story. Obviously you’re going to miss most of what’s being said unless you understand Japanese, as both eyes need to be scanning the trouble that’s coming your way. In short, the story tells of Roy Becket who needs to save what’s left of humanity, which entails defeating an alien race called the Filune. Joining your fight, you hook up with a young female companion and hit the stars.
Astebreed is an adventure that’s full of unexpected twists and turns. It’s not just a simple side scrolling shmup. You’ll be flipped and slung round corners as the camera angles go haywire, all while swarms of angry mechs hunt you down. It’s a stunning ride with so many jaw dropping moments as glossy detailed landscapes and backgrounds zoom by. It’s a joy to play and a visual feast that’s being banged out from your PS4, and it all runs at a solid 60 frames per second at 1080p.
Bringing more excitement, your war machine mech comes equipped with a large sword which is capable of cutting through any material known to man or mech. Mixing up attacks with streams of lasers that home and lock onto enemy mechs or splicing everything in sight close quarters style, makes the combination of moves and actions feel fresh and exciting to execute. Combat is never dull. Actually I can’t remember a dull moment in the game. Astebreed offers more than just a standard shmup experience. It does take the word ‘bullet hell’ to the extreme at times, but swiping away the opposition with your giant sword mixes gameplay up.
Unfortunately there are only six short chapters stopping you from completing the game, but replaying on harder difficulties prolongs its life span. You can complete the game in one short sitting and if you skip the cut scenes you’re looking at less than an hour. These cinematic cut scenes are gorgeous though, and they’ll also give you a break and time to reflect on your high score as the way you play effects this.
There has been so much care and love pumped into Astebreed. Extra content comes in the form of learning more about the game as you can open up pages of character information, gaze at impressive artwork and even check out the making of the story boards. All this gives you added insight into development, and touches like this are really appreciated if you’re a massive fan of the game.
Astebreed is a technically advanced and dazzling shoot ‘em up; even the added confusion of the Japanese language makes Astebreed special and endearing. If you’re looking for a short but big spectacular shooter, look no further. But be warned it’s a short ride.
Lizard Rating – 8.5/10