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Gunblitz
Sgt.Psycho Oct 13, 2012 @ 3:42pm
Demo impressions
Nicely-paced shooter, with an emphasis on memorising patterns instead of twitch reflexes. Fans of fast-paced bullet hell may get bored but fans of classic shooters like R-Type will feel right at home.

Controls are good and although the ship doesn't feel quite spritely, it can take quite a beating, so pixel-precise positioning and split-second timing isn't needed, most of the time.

'Twin-stick' controls are good and it's very satisfying to swoop around the screen unleashing a barrage of missiles while cooling down the guns, or to target a cluster with one well-timed shot. I look forward to seeing how these can be upgraded or configured. A end-of-level shop(?) to buy different weapons would be nice to match different level patterns and play styles.

I appeared to have a shield(?) bound to 'Q' but nothing happened, even when energy was maxed. Plasma wave was good, but it wasn't always clear what it's charge status was.

I was going to say something about how the bars on the ship shown in the screen captures were distracting, but in the demo, I can see that they are necessary. With three variables to track (shields, energy and heat) your attention is focussed on the ship not the UI, so it's nice to have these in view at all times.

I have to say I am not a fan of the heat mechanic. It seems very unfair, and when things get hairy, being forced not to use your weapon seems really counter-intuitive and gratuitously punishing the player, especially when you need it to defend yourself by neutralising enemy fire (rockets and suchlike, it is sometimes confusing which ones you can stop). Yes, I get that it's a resource to manage, but it's seems a bit overdone as it heats up very fast and cools down very slowly, so feels very unfair and then leads to a screen full of fire and enemies and your imminent death - all because you weren't able to fire back. Not being allowed to use your weapon is a bit dichotomous in a shmup...

I'd prefer an overheat situation where the weapon ceased and had a cooldown timer (shown on the ship) with an alarm klaxon sounding as opposed to your own guns actively killing you.

I also note that in the demo, there is almost no UI feedback that your weapons are overheating (asides from the bar and smoke trails) and in the fury of battle it's easily missed. There is no audio feedback at all, and heat simply decreases shields until you inexplicably explode for no discernable reason. I note that in screen shots this appears to have been remedied with big onscreen warnings, so that's good.

The pickup system also appears somewhat counter-intuitive. You kill ships to get... shields? ...and some energy? It also seems to me that you don't get much, so there's little point in diving for the orbs unless you're low on shields.

As a suggestion, I'd change this to energy and then allow the player to configure their load (Wing Commander style) between shields, weapon cooling system and special weapons, all drawing from the central energy pool. This could be done by hotkeys to switch on-the-fly. This gives you a reason to dive for those orbs and encourages strategic play - hold back and take it slow, or dive in and use extra energy to power special/continuous attacks in an aggressive style.

That then allows players to alter their play style. Want to sit back and be defensive? Prioritise shields. Need to give 'em the whole nine yards? Prioritise cooling. Got a boss you need to evade and hit strategically/activate immunity, prioritise special weapons.
Last edited by Sgt.Psycho; Oct 13, 2012 @ 3:43pm
Showing 1-11 of 11 comments
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SilverKnightGG  [developer] Oct 13, 2012 @ 5:46pm 
Thanks for your feedback! This is probably the most detailed and in-depth feedback we've received since we began testing the final game version for PC.

The demo will be updated. In testing, the heat mechanic was a massive drawback when it put your gun on cooldown. In level one, it simply has a 'heat dump' ability that has a cooldown, and it merely slows the fire rate of the main gun to the rate at which it can be cooled. The threshold for this mechanic is 75% heat. This ceases to be an issue after level one since the 'Slag-Strafe" ability is unlocked at the start of level two. The first level is appropriately scaled back compared to others, both because it is the first level, and because the learning curve permits players to get used to the feel of moving and firing first. The finished game DOES have audio feedback, and much larger bars for health and heat indication. A minor update coming next week (On the RGS site download) will include a visual 'burning' indication directly on the bar. The mechanics with the weapons 'work' perfectly in the current build. The demo and full game are receiving the full update, so the demo will no longer have a broken 'Q' ability.

More on the heat ability:

  • This is the main mechanic that sets the game apart from other shmups. The damage to the ship aspect was the first feature of the mechanic to be fully fleshed-out. It has tested well and not so well. It appears to depend heavily on who is playing the game. In general, shmup fans of the R-Type / Phalanx / Gradius ilk tend to favor this mechanic, whereas bullet-hell fans are a bit perplexed as to why it exists. This is possibly because bullet-hell games are less deep in terms of gameplay, and rely on flashy graphics mixed with screen-filling bursts of bullets. The 'Heat' mechanic was an overall successful attempt to add depth to the gameplay.
  • The implication that you can't use your weapon at any time during gameplay is a bit disturbing. Indeed so disturbing that others reported this during testing, at which time I indicated the slag-strafe ability, and the fact that it dumps ALL heat. This ability is now fully indicated as described below on the HUD bar.

    Abilities & HUD:
  • The ability icons now properly display accurate cooldown status via a red overlay that retracts upward toward the top edge of the icon. If an ability is currently 'useable' it has a light yellow hinting/glowing border now. This has tested well, since 'moving' things on the HUD tends to draw 'just enough' attention that they don't distract from the game.
  • The Health and Heat bars' integration into the bottom HUD bar has tested MUCH better than the original UI scheme. The current audio feedback for overheating is an alarm siren... This may be changed prior to eventual launch on Steam.

    Lastly:
  • Difficulty levels are fully integrated into the final version as well as a high score system with a difficulty bonus at the end of the game. (just like the good ol' days!)
  • All music has been updated with remastered versions (Don't worry, it is just as awesome as ever if not more so!)
  • Firing the main gun no longer causes dampening of the background music.

    Thanks for trying the demo, just wait till you see the whole game!
Last edited by SilverKnightGG; Oct 14, 2012 @ 1:29pm
Demizer_Zero Oct 13, 2012 @ 7:25pm 
Wow great feedback there. Still cant wait to play the final game hope it gets on here as I would love to have this game in my library. And glad to hear about all the fixes in the next update.
Last edited by SilverKnightGG; Oct 13, 2012 @ 9:36pm
kewlbns69 Feb 7, 2013 @ 9:55am 
just throwing my 2 cents in since afaik the only difference between the demo and the full game is there's more game OP mentioned something about "twin stick control" as far as i can tell there isn't any gamepad support so keyboard/mouse is the only way to play....i only got this game about a week ago is there a downloadable patch somewhere i've missed? idk but the ability to play this w/ a gamepad would greatly enhance the whole experience imo -cheers
Sgt.Psycho Feb 8, 2013 @ 12:20am 
Hi, when I wrote 'twin stick' in my review I purposely wrote it in quotation marks to represent the ability to fire in one direction and move in another. As kewlbns69 says, there is no gamepad support, although that would be a gerat idea for the dev.

I just downloaded the most recent demo (v8.6.2) and many of my posted concerns have been addressed as listed by keithblu.

The heat mechanic is fairer, but I would like to see more audio feedback overall. In the end, I'm not sure if that was the idea, I stopped using the main gun altotogether and just concentrated on the homing missile.

Cooldown indicator and UI revision seems good.

Demo still has 'E' mapped to 'Q' to activate the special.
kewlbns69 Apr 1, 2013 @ 7:34pm 
where are these updates you keep talking about? there are only 2 links one to download a demo and another to purchase the game which i've already done
Sgt.Psycho Apr 2, 2013 @ 1:50pm 
Originally posted by kewlbns69:
where are these updates you keep talking about? ...

If that's a question for me, the demo link changes from time to time as the dev updates the version of the demo. If you're looking for an update to the version you've bought, you can download the latest version at http://www.rapturegamestudios.com/downloadGunblitz.php5 or you could ask this question in the Support forum.[www.rapturegamestudios.com]
kewlbns69 Apr 2, 2013 @ 4:25pm 
that was actually a question for the developer but you answered and i checked the rapture forums many times all i could find was a link to the main page with the demo/buy links so thanx m8 -cheers :)
SilverKnightGG  [developer] May 10, 2013 @ 3:17pm 
In case its not entirely clear 'updated' on the 'front page' of the Greenlight for Gunblitz, the game is recieving a huge overhaul and is slated to launch on the OUYA console as well as Re-Launch on PC and (finally) on Mac and Linux. Each platform will have the option of using a controller instead of a mouse/keyboard, but the mouse/keyboard configuration will still be available for PC, mac and Linux.
ban Jan 23 @ 8:53am 
!!!!
A n a r q u i a 99 ツ Jun 9 @ 6:43pm 
nice
kewlbns69 Jun 10 @ 12:19am 
this thread's as dead as this game nobody's posted even on the rapture forums for over a year...too bad it was almost good :/
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