EastAsiaSoft is back at it again with another bite-sized shmup called Task Force Kampas. If the name, font, and look of the thumbnail doesn’t attract you to it then we have nothing in common and can no longer continue this distant bond. This arcade game is another branch on the tree of games in this genre including Null Drifter, Red Death, and Project Starship. If any of those tooted your horn then you’re in for quite a ride as Task Force Kampas is similar in a lot of ways but takes the lead for me. Pump in some quarters and let’s begin.
When you look up this game on the eShop it requires a birth date, which is likely because of the epilepsy warning. The screen shake is incredible and there is no option to turn it off sadly. If an update were to occur I would urge this option as it makes the game difficult to enjoy, especially playing on the TV. I prefer handheld mode as it makes controls easier for me but pick whichever style best suits you. My good shmup bro Stonebeak Productions prefers a pro controller and he’s a great player, but personally I enjoy the joy-cons as the stick feels tighter.
How To Play:
- Kill enemies to boost your attack power
- You lose attack power when you lose HP
- Stop shooting to recover HP
- Rescue cocos to gain points
- You get upgrades after a normal level but they are removed after a boss
- If the times goes red it is too late
Right, all that is listed in the main menu so no reason to rethink how to state it. Use the joystick to move, Y to shoot, and collect the little dinos if possible. In the options menu is the sound, difficulty, and filters. I would stick with no filter and start on easy as the filter increased the unlikeness of the screen shake and I’m not that good just yet. High scores show just that, along with cocos collected on those runs, and stats. Scroll along to see how many of each enemy you have defeated and finally the option to delete the saved data.
In big bold style, a sort of Kanji takes the space above Task Force Kampas on the title screen and it looks great. I absolutely love this font and the game only leans into this area more on. Once The Squid boss appears it first shows off the name in an amazing font that also has a squid. I want these fonts at my disposal, please! The graphic design talent at Casiopea Wave and EastAsiaSoft is incredible. This font talent pours over to the design of the characters, bit work, and destructive objects as well. Planets in the background, character busts, ships, they all have this simple and wonderful design to them. They say keeping it simple is best but this is simply done RIGHT.
The gameplay is fast, hectic, and highly replayable.
At first, my runs didn’t last but a minute or so but then I kept learning if I preferred the joystick to the D-pad and controls were a bit more manageable. In fact, on the Pro Controller I tend to use both and switch when the time is necessary. Joystick for main open areas, D-pad for boss battles to weave more precisely. The walls can be run into so don’t bother avoiding them. It’s easier to lean in on them to shot a specific homing-like enemy that trails the sides. Along both sides of the areas of play is darkness that could be used but instead lies blank. No Tate mode supported which is a massive bummer. At least use this area to show counts of enemies defeated, which is also available on the high score screen.
Each run will give a bit of insight on how to improve and if not? Switch characters. The character select screen will show the character, name, their ability, the number of wins, the ship, and the ship name. It also states to stop shooting to repair your ship. This is so cool and adds a layer to the game. Instead of holding down the shot button, duck and dodge to repair your ship and replenish your health.
I enjoy this feature as there are no medkits during levels but there is the option of one between levels. Either that or a shot upgrade which could be double, super, or something else that isn’t explained. I don’t know what super shot is but I’ve used it somehow I’m sure. Halting shots proves useful in boss battles as well.
As soon as I switched back to handheld mode, I beat the game.
This proves my point, figure out your play style and the game will be more enjoyable. In about nine minutes time I defeated three bosses including the squid, crab, and mantis. Each boss has interesting and varied shot patterns which is super nice considering most enemies and destructible objects just fly at you. The tunes are wonderful and much better than I expected. Their intensity picks up for boss fights which is perfect. I found an additional helper that I believe was unlocked from picking up a certain number of cocos. A string connected to a coco drags them along for the ride and shoots even while pausing your own shots, very nice. Once I beat the game with Green it unlocked Coco King that does not shoot but drags multiple cocos in this same manner.
It makes sense now why the number of wins is shown for each character, because once you get the hang of it, a win is manageable. Now you can swap characters, or keep the same character and swap to a new game filter, and possibly increase the difficulty. What’s really important is finding whether you prefer docked or handheld to get in your comfort zone then the game opens up for you. Honestly, I wish it supported Tate mode as it would be PERFECT for it. Please update the game with this feature!
I’ve enjoyed Task Force Kampas more than the other smaller shmups from EastAsiaSoft and I can say I recommend it. It’s currently $4.79/£5.39 on the eShop and you can use some gold coins to snag it. PLEASE ADD TATE MODE! I’m looking forward to unlocking more filters and characters, this game has high replayability and the art style is great. I don’t care for the screen shake and the play area in handheld is small but this is a fun game. I can’t wait to see more from Casiopea Wave.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Switch, PlayStation, Xbox
Release Date: 07/05/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Shooter, Action, Arcade
Developer: Casiopea Wave
Download link: eShop