-Queasy Games (2007)
From creator Jonathan Mak: "Everyday Shooter is an album of games exploring the expressive power of abstract shooters. Dissolute sounds of destruction are replaced with guitar riffs harmonizing over an all-guitar soundtrack, while modulating shapes celebrate the flowing beauty of geometry."
Like what Geometry Wars was to the Xbox 360 for awhile (its killer app) Everyday Shooter is to the PS3. No other downloadable game has captured my interest more than this surreal shooter experience.
Everyday Shooter does look or sound like a conventional shooter and is intentionally missing things prevalent in the genre. You will not find any weapon power-ups; Your ship’s weapon will stay the same throughout the entire game. If you get surrounded by enemies and there doesn’t seem to be a way out, you had better find a way out because there are no screen-clearing bombs. The lack of these features do not hurt the game one bit, in fact, I feel it makes the game a true shooter’s shooter because it forces you to get better.
The music of Everyday Shooter is one of the prime stand outs of the game. Every time a shot hits or an enemy is destroyed it adds a riff to the music. Sometimes the effect is subtle, other times the additional sound blares above all others. I think I would have preferred a greater ability to actually create the music as I go along ala Rez, but the effects you do perform are still cool. The sounds never seem out of place as it only ever adds to the beautiful guitar soundtrack which varies in each stage. I would love to have the music on a CD.
Like most shooters released on consoles these days, the controls are handled via the analog sticks, but you can also use the directional pad and buttons instead. Creator Johnathan Mak has included his notes on the game where he says he prefers using the buttons than the sticks. I enjoy a combination of analog stick for movement and the buttons for shooting myself. which is a very good read on the history of his game and his personal high scores, some of which seem nearly impossible to achieve.
Whatever combination of button/stick movement you use, you'll find the ship to be easily controllable. The ship has two speeds, but it depends on whether you are shooting or not. Your ship moves faster when you don’t shoot, so if you can stop shooting for a few seconds (it's difficult not to shoot all the time) you can maneuver around a cluster of enemies and set up a better combo. And bigger combos mean more points and a larger effect on the audio. Combos make the Everyday Shooter world go 'round.
As you play you collect points that can be used towards unlockables. Points are earned not by shooting enemies, but by actually collecting individual point squares that get left over from enemies that have been shot down. Flashing point squares are worth three points and are obtained by shooting certain enemies into or around other enemies. If you want to earn lots of points however, you need to do a bit of combo strategizing in the heat of the abstract shooter action.
You can use the points to purchase extra lives, but I feel that more lives can make you weaker in your shooter abilities. When you have less lives you feel a real need of survival and do everything you can to get those next few points to earn an extra life.
Besides, there are visual unlockables you will want to spend points on instead because they change the game quite dramatically. The visual filters can add a paint effect, invert colors, turn the screen black and white, or give the game a pixilated 8-bit feel. You can also use any combination of the filters for more visual options. Many of the visual filters make the game more difficult than it already is because it adds so many effects or even takes a lot away.
There are eight stages in all. Each stage is almost like a completely different game because the enemies and music are very different than in the previous stage. The stages consists of geometric shapes, growing amoebas, eyes, birds of prey, tanks, a space station, bugs, and a circling kamikaze death ribbons. Should you be able to progress through all eight from start to finish s about a half-an-hour. However, you will not pass all eight the first time you play.
Memorization helps, but only to a point. You can only predict so much of what will happen because of the randomness of most of the enemies. Some enemies will always appear in certain areas of the screen, but you won't always know exactly where.
The only thing that could have benefited the game is a multiplayer mode. Playing with a friend to create beautiful music in the abstract worlds would have been icing on the delicious shooter cake. More stages would have been cool, too, but what is there is shooter godliness.
Everyday Shooter has nearly endless replay value. It takes a lot of points to unlock everything, but it is well worth it. The varied visual filters, somewhat random enemy encounters, and musical additions you can do make the game different every time you play. Everyday Shooter is the must have downloadable game on the PS3.