Shortly after Irem’s R-Type hit the arcade scene back in the 1980s, it looked as if it would be the new shooter to watch. Not only was R-Type a superb 2D shooter, but it also included one important innovation: it was devastatingly addictive, but hard as hell to beat.

But something went awry after the release of R-Type. Other gaming companies wanted a piece of the pie, and created their own R-Type clones hoping to match the success and popularity of the original. Most of the games, including fan favorites like Darius, Xevious, and Thundercross came close but lacked the soul and depth of the original.

With so many R-Type wannabe games coming out of the woodwork, it wasn’t surprising to see how the hardcore shooter community looked with a dubious eye when Flutter Bombs, from indie developer Earthborn Interactive, was announced. The premise is standard shooter fare, but instead of a ship, you take control of a butterfly flying around a lush 3D world blasting away at giant wasps, beetles, spiders, and oversized goldfishes who occasionally jump out of the water to take a bite out of you.

Before playing Flutter Bombs for the first time, you’ll need to know a few things. First,  you’ll have to collect nectar to replenish your ammo, which for a shooter, gets depleted rather quickly. Or, you can opt to collect only the nectar you need to survive. The unique twist is that unlike traditional shooters, players have the option of blasting their way past a level or simply collecting nectar to progress further into the game.

To assist you in your thrashing of the evil insect bad guys, the developers saw it fit to equip you with a brutal assortment of weapons ranging from standard lasers to mega bombs which are used to pulverize an entire area. I don’t know about you, but I simply adore games that actually let you drop bombs instead of just having to use your primary weapons all the time. My biggest complaint, however, is what I mentioned earlier in that your ammo reserves are contingent on the nectar you collect. So if you’re in the thick of a fight and you run out of ammo, you’ll have to retreat from the action to navigate to the nearest nectar pod. This makes the game a bit unbalanced because your enemies seem to have an unlimited amount of weapons at their disposal and are constantly coming after you.

Graphically, the game looks outstanding with superb detailed sprites and wonderful lush landscapes. The controls are precise and responsive which is critical to twin-shooter games like this. Special mention has to go to the musical score which matches the solemn, yet chaotic action perfectly.

While the game has a few balance issues, the fact that it can weather these flaws and still leave such a favorable impression on us speaks volumes for its quality. Flutter Bombs is a great entry into a classic genre that many players have longed for. The high difficulty may ward of beginners, but for those willing to battle it out to the end, you’ll be in for a magical experience.

PROS
– Beautifully detailed graphics
– Responsive controls
– Mesmerizing Soundtrack

 

CONS
– Limited ammo which breaks up the non-stop action
– PETA might complain about the destruction of harmless insects

OVERALL
– A flawed gem, but a gem nonetheless. A wonderful shooter that can stand mano-a-mano with the classics.

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Very Good

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