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BANGAI-O HD: MISSILE FURY



 
General Description

Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury is a fairly eccentric twin-stick shooter released on the Xbox Live Arcade in May 2011. In it players control a mech suit capable of firing several types of weapons. Players move through the game's dozens of levels, which are not linked thematically with any plot. Instead, they straightforwardly offer various tests of skill. Most stages introduce new ideas by taking the game's enemy types, weapons and attacking mechanics and rearranging them in cleverly designed levels. That's putting it pretty conservatively; nearly every new stage will surprise nearly every one of the game's players. Basic building-block level design and a handful of weapon types that seem straightforward on the surface are combined in dozens of frankly brilliant ways to make Bangai-O HD one of the most original and delightful games on XBLA.

As in the Nintendo DS Bangai-O Spirits, a full-featured level editor is available. XBLA, however, is a much more convenient platform for sharing stages. Players can send their creations to be tested out by friends, and of course can download other players' custom maps as well. The other huge development here is the introduction of cooperative multiplayer mode. On the surface, the mode may seem like an afterthought - players can simply play through any of the game's stages alone or with up to three friends. But seeing Bangai-O HD's insane mechanics - time-stopping charge attacks, bursts of literally thousands of on-screen missiles, and eccentric weapons - being taken advantage of by multiple players all on one screen is one of the most frantic experiences in videogames.

The game's biggest strengths are in creativity. Both the consistently ingenious level designs included and the full level editor offer a huge amount of depth.

 
Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
C C
Ratings at a Glance
 
Facts: 1 Title: BANGAI-O HD: MISSILE FURY
Creativity: 8 Publisher: Microsoft Games
Business: 1 Developer: Treasure Video Games
People: 1 Year: 2011
Problem: 7 Genre: Shooter/Action
Simulation: 0 Strengths: creativity, popularity, problem
Popularity: 8 Platforms: Xbox Live
Extra: 0  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts

Bangai-O Spirits does not focus on classroom facts. A minimap is present in the corner of the screen at all times and shows players the layout of the current stage. While many stages are simple open rooms, others are lengthy and maze-like, and in these the map can be very helpful.

Creativity & Imagination

By the Player:

Bangai-O HD's level editor is robust enough to allow players to create any level found in the main game - in fact, players can choose any level that they've cleared as a starting point when firing up the editor. While the game seems like a simple twin-stick shooter at first, a couple hours with the included levels will show players that the range of ideas that Bangai-O's tools can implement is incredibly wide. While unfortunately there is no built-in method for sharing stages with a wider audience, players can still share with their friends.

The game's included levels also require plenty of creative thinking on the player's part. Figuring out which weapons and abilities to use to complete any given level is a little puzzle in itself. Many levels that will seem flat-out impossible at first can be easily completed by players that are willing to experiment.

By the Developer:

Bangai-O's most impressive aspect is easily its level design. It consistently undercuts the player's expectations, forcing them to use an established set of weapons and techniques in entirely new ways at every turn. The game's base mechanics sound simple, but they were all designed with plenty of different uses in mind. For the most part the weapons return from previous Bangai-O games - some have been tweaked - but the levels in HD all stand on their own, and are for the most part just as frantic, surprising and clever as those in previous entries.

The game has a straightforward visual style that manages to keep things clear even when dozens of enemies and hundreds of projectiles are on the screen, a quirky professor that gives cryptic clues about the solutions to each stage, and an appropriately subtle soundtrack that all contribute style, which ops for a careful simplicity in contrast to the game’s psychotic action.

Business Skills

Business skills are not a factor, except perhaps in the moment-to-moment conservation of charge attacks and health.

People Skills

People skills can be important when playing Bangai-O HD multiplayer. Many stages can provide significant challenges, and working together with players that know what they're doing can be helpful. However Bangai-O's multiplayer is not necessarily focused on cooperation. The focus is more on struggling to survive the Xbox 360-increasing chaos that takes over the screen. Players are also free to create their own levels, and designing levels that require multiple players in order to succeed is always an options.

Problem Solving

Problem solving varies widely from stage to stage. Many stages are long, winding mazes that challenge players to defend against a multitude of attacks, while others start the player in the center of a wide-open arena with hundreds of missiles flying at them immediately. In a way, though, this description undersells the unstoppably clever level design. One early maze-like level is an enormous anthill, and enemy spawners begin spitting out dozens of ants, which players can only cut through using the explosive napalm shot. Another starts players underneath a pair of blocks that begin to fall as soon as a shot is fired; players must destroy all of the enemies in the area and manage to slip into a tiny hole at the bottom before the blocks cover it up.

Players have a specific set of interesting tools to use when handling these radically different challenges. A variety of weapons are available from level to level, including a bouncing shot, a laser that cuts through enemies, slow-firing explosives, homing missiles and more. Regardless of weapons players have three other distinct abilities. One is a charge move, that allows players to move forward quickly and invincibly past groups of enemies or clouds of missiles. The second is a freezing attack, which freezes all enemies and projectiles in a certain proximity for a few seconds. The last and most important is Bangai-O's charge shot. Players stay still and charge up before releasing a wave of missiles, which increase in number and size depending on how many enemies and projectiles are close to the player. Players must keep all of these tools in mind and experiment with them in order to find the solutions to the game's many varied challenges.

Simulation

Bangai-O HD is not a simulation game.

Popularity

Most reviews discussed the game's frantic action and highly challenging nature, for the most part in a flattering light. Some reviews criticized the game for not being friendly towards new players. Many also praised the game for offering such high value at its relatively low price point.

Controls & Options

Bangai-O HD includes a small number of standard audio and visual options.

Tips

Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury was rated Everyone 10+ by the ESRB with a descriptor for Fantasy Violence.