Twin-stick Shooters live and die on two hard and fast rules
1. Have solid controls and 2. have a solid levelling mechanic. Danger Scavenger from Star Drifters and Piotr Wolk enters not only the Twin-stick market but also comes packed with the cyberpunk aesthetic that is currently trending. Does this one merge current pop culture trends with old school shooting action or does it miss the mark completely?
From the outset, Danger Scavenger published by Forever Entertainment is a no-frills twin-stick shooter set on the neon-soaked highrises of a futuristic city. You take on the role of a scrap hunter (Scavenger) and must pillage your riches from the onslaught of hostile AI hell-bent on your destruction. While initially limited to a small handful of characters (all filling the stereotypical classes) more become available by completing in-game tasks and quests.
The true meat and potatoes comes in the form of progression. Being a roguelike means plenty of death, not just for the countless hordes you mow down but for you the player as well. Thankfully the devs have given players two distinct ways of playing. Arcade mode is exactly as it states. The leaderboard-fueled rampage through ever-increasing security is helped along by the neverending supply of powerups and weapons. One of the more enjoyable aspects of the gameplay design is the ability to stack powerups. Games often limit the player to a few perks or powerups but DS allows you to quite literally become a walking death machine. Multiple spinning buzzsaws shadowed by assault drones can encircle your hunter causing death and carnage before you even once pull the trigger.
This however comes at a cost
The neon-soaked skyline filled with hex blocks is too often overrun by the carnage. Between the enemy fire, powerups, your gunplay and the destructible environments Danger Scavenger becomes a visual mess resulting in damage and death for the player. Adding to this chaos is an ungodly bad screen shake effect that can be toggled off. This only offers a little reprieve as the vaseline smeared visuals still make navigating the hellish walkways all the more chaotic. Each of the playable characters is unique enough to stand out against the very limited set of baddies.
The second way to play is the Hardcore mode. Here players are treated to the traditional roguelike experience. Permadeath and lost loot make every choice crucial. When you complete levels, some offer multiple exits. Each labelled with what lies behind each. The randomness of this adds to the replayability in that some runs may destroy you before you even find your first powerup. Thankfully loot collected can be spent pre-mission to enter battle with a fighting chance. The game does NOT explain this well but the design is clever. Instead of sitting on static menus the player must navigate around their base of operations and handle perks, weapons, etc. by interacting with different people.
The sound design is a mixed bag
While the sound effects do an admirable job of conveying the raw power of some of the heavier weapons, the soundtrack is as bare-bones as they come. Nothing here evokes cyberpunk let alone anything that should be considered passible. The lack of voice work is expected but considering the lack of a real backing score, some sort of a voiceover would have gone a long way to adding the failed level of immersion.
Danger Scavenger is about as average an experience as you can find. The twin-stick roguelike does nothing to set itself apart from a very crowded field. Priced at $9.99/£8.99 the game would be better experienced on a deep sale. There is fun to be had but don’t expect to be talking about it for the days and weeks that follow.
Review code provided
Platform: PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo
Release Date: 25/03/2021
No. of Players: 1-2
Developer: Star Drifters, Piotr Wolk
Publisher: Star Drifters, Forever Entertainment
Download link: US eShop / UK eShop