Playus Soft’sCreatures – The First Blood does exactly what it says on the tin. No more, and no less.
A space set dual-stick shooter packed with thrills but minus the frills, this game doesn’t bother bulking out its arena based, survival orientated battles with any extras – a storyline, multiplayer deathmatches/co-op mode, an upgrade store etc – instead focusing on delivering an intense hit of last-as-long-as-you-can action and Openfeint fuelled high-score hunting.
But when the core gameplay is as buttery-smooth, the man versus monster mayhem as blissfully visceral, and the visuals as polished as Creatures’ are, it’s pretty difficult to bemoan the lack of additional modes or features.
Playing as a nameless grunt, the aim of each stage is to pulverise a set amount of alien nasties with arsenal of OTT FPS inspired weaponry, whilst racking up the hugest combos and score humanly possible. Boo-ya!
Twin virtual sticks handle running and gunning respectively, while a double tap on the bottom left of the screen pulls off a neat bullet dodging acrobatic move. Controls are incredibly responsive and tactile, lending the ensuing action its satisfyingly visceral feel.
Weapons come in an array of shapes and sizes, and include a 3 way machine gun, a powerful rail-gun, rocket launcher and more. In addition to this formidable assortment of guns, your protagonist can also set “traps” around arenas. These come in two varieties – a “sentry” (robotic gun turret) that spins around spraying bullets and a force field which when triggered envelops our hero, slowing enemies and their gunfire down to a snails pace. The inclusion of these unique secondary weapons adds an element of strategy to the frenetic shoot outs.
Levels alternate between your traditional survival arena and an against the clock defense mode, which sees you stuck between a rock (a wall of knives) and a hard place (a swarm of enemies shunting crates toward you). Both are equally as thrilling, and get increasingly tough the longer you manage to survive. The game continues in this manner, with guns and enemies getting bigger and bigger, until your health bar is depleted. Then it’s Game Over and you’re booted back to level 1.
Due to the game’s repetitive nature and exclusion of other types of play, its longevity is ultimately decided by how much you enjoy attempting to best your own highscore or blasting your way to the top of Openfeint leaderboards.
Good as Creatures is, it does feel more like the foundations for a better and more complete game. Here’s hoping Playus Soft build on this title’s tantalizing potential with future updates or indeed a full blown sequel. As is, the game’s still well worth a purchase for fans of the genre.
iFanzine Verdict:While undoubtedly an excercise in style over substance, Creatures is a solidly made and immensely enjoyable dual-stick shooter. The lack of extra modes such as a story driven campaign or multiplayer features might put some off, but if it’s simply honest to goodness action you’re after, this should fit the bill nicely.