Switch version tested
Review code provided
If at any point in time the eShop has a shmup I want to see it. So when Habroxia made it’s way to the ‘coming soon’ section, the looks alone drew me in to check it out. Developed by Lillymo Games, this is yet another great looking title published by Eastasiasoft. Let’s get to it.
I love the arcade look and from the first few levels of play, the arcade feel is there as well. There is no introduction or slew of screens to click through, the game gives a few options to skip on the first go and you’re starting the game. Once a level is beat the option to return to older levels is available as well as looking at scores and upgrades. Going back to old levels will allow you to collect more cash for upgrades. Objectives include destroying all enemy ships, collecting astronauts, and defeating the boss.
Habroxia has a feature that is very unique and sets it apart from other shmups and that is having both side-scrolling and top-down gameplay. Your ship will veer up from the horizontal view to the vertical in particular areas of the game. The change from one style to the other is a great way to shake things up and it feels good. It didn’t happen as much as I thought it would but still a cool feature that makes it unique in the pool of shmups I’ve played.
After each level there is a scoreboard to post your name and compare to other gamers which is fantastic. I love leaderboards and seeing other folks scores. This feature always adds replayability to games and certainly helps specifically shmups. If the developer could add one more character to the leaderboard name that would be great, otherwise you will see me as LORDSHMU.
Controls are responsive and feel good. Left trigger shoots one type of weapon, right trigger shoots another, hold both to shoot both in a different way. The ship has a boost to move quickly when needed but I only used that to gobble up accessory power-ups. It has a meter that will deplete when used. Power-ups found in game are the laser beam, bomb, and a circular defense. I didn’t use these much. Music is very fitting to the game and has the arcade sound. It’s not over the top of impressive but it works and that’s fine by me.
Credits are found throughout levels by defeating enemies and destroying terrain. Gathering them will be of great use for ship upgrades which is one of my favourite parts about Habroxia. Customising your ship the way you want. It allows the play style to be catered to the player in a fun way. Level nine is the best grind level to gain the coin needed.
There is a decent amount of dead space in each level that has nothing going on and I wish that wasn’t so. You will find yourself waiting for enemies to appear and for the pace to pick up but sadly it doesn’t. Weaving back and forth or shooting in anticipation of bad guys isn’t fun. Other than that, the only other main gripe I have with the game is the difficulty. The first half of the game was easy and didn’t give me any trouble, which made it less fun. Level seven is when the difficulty rises and the real fun begins. I have a problem with that but it also makes the game more accessible to more players.
Variation in enemies is high and very good. A ton of different types of baddies and attacks are displayed throughout the game and a nice way. Bullets will take different shape and flight patterns and I like that. Some are homing missiles, some can be shot until they disappear, and it gets real fun when a load of them are shot at once. Those that are scared of bullet hell games need not worry. I think a big drawback of Habroxia is that there are not any different levels of difficulty to change to. Adding that in a patch would be top-notch.
If you flew through the fifteen story mode levels and dominated the leaderboards while upgrading your ship, lucky for you there are additional game modes. Invasion mode, rescue mode, and shield maiden mode.
Invasion mode is endless waves of enemies and a boss every now and then. I got to wave 43 on my first try and it was decent. I could talk and play during this mode so yeah I died but it was a casual run type deal. It was in vertical mode or top-down so that was different.
Rescue mode is about finding and obtaining astronauts because they are set adrift in space for some reason. Collect them as you would in story mode and gather the highest amount with a score to top the boards. If I didn’t mention before my apologies, but don’t shoot the astronauts. I experienced a bug that ended my run with no warning or reason but began another run and passed that area no problem. It was also apparent that dead space and slow pace is part of this mode. Rescue mode needs some work. Areas repeated and some look taken from story mode. Honestly, this mode is a waste – fix it or get rid of it.
Shield Maiden mode is described as “weak guns, shield pickups”. Start with one bar of health and the lowest weapon, basically hard mode. It counts the time you’ve stayed alive and your score. I said before that the game needs a higher difficulty but with that comes creativity and this mode does not have it. Repetitive and boring to say the least. Lack of power in attack is not the players worry at all, it’s wanting to die of boredom. Same story as Rescue mode, unfortunately.
I played through Story mode then every mode that was unlocked due to beating the game. In other modes you are able to collect credits and I think that should be limited to story mode. Otherwise you will play any level in story mode again and be overpowered, making the game less fun. With some tweaks here and there Habroxia could be a much better game but I did enjoy my time spent with it. The looks are on point and shots feel satisfying but it lacks the difficulty balance and enemy spawning consistency. Sitting at $7.99 (£6.99) that is a great price for what this game has to offer and with the thought of improvements? That’s a steal. I highly advise the developer to hear me out because this isn’t a game that should be overlooked. I would recommend this to my casual shmup friends but not to my high-level shmups friends.
TBG Score: 6.5/10
Platform: PlayStation, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 26/09/2019
No. of Players: 1
File Size: 62 MB
Category: Shooter, Action, Arcade
Developer: Lillymo Games
Publisher: Eastasiasoft Limited
Download link: eShop