Developer: Ground Shatter
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Genre: Action, Arcade, Indie, FPS, Shooter
Release Date: 14/03/2019
Price: £15.99 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Two cops, one case and only 24 hours to bust the bad guys! Become a loose cannon police detective and face off with criminal gangs in this procedurally-generated action movie FPS. Join forces with a friend and take down those crooks, buddy-cop style!
At times a game comes along that is a bit hard to classify. If I were to give RICO an overall genre, it would be an arcade shooter. At first glance, it was shallow, stupid fun. As I played it and learned how progression works, noticed I only have, “24 hours to beat it”, found that the guns and upgrades offered vary from playthrough to playthrough, and that failing to diffuse bombs in times resulted in having to restart, I realised there
At its core it is a fast paced, kick open doors, enjoy a few seconds of “bullet time” style slow down to knock out all or most enemies in a room, gather this or that and run to the next room sort of game. No really, this game is white knuckle speed fast. And its a ton of fun. The game insists you don’t go it alone, but at the time of this review, I had no choice as I tried to create and join coop and nobody else was found. Once the game releases and
Looks and Sounds
Immediately when you start the game, you are greeted by a cell shaded, almost comic panel graphical style. While watching the intro which serves as your only real glimpse of any actual storytelling in the entire game, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Then I played it. The game played at a solid 60 fps on my computer (specs will be available in my bio on the website), and the colourful graphical style compliments the campy feel of the game. The game gets difficult in later levels but thanks to the graphical style it never feels like it’s trying to be more than a run and gun romp through various doors. I can say after 6 or so playthroughs I can see how playing with a friend would add immensely to the experience too.
The game does some strange things with physics when enemies die. I saw enemies go flying straight up at the ceiling then land half lodged in a desk. To some degree, this is negative, but at the same time, I found it amusing because the outlandish deaths combined with the art style worked so well. Enemies and guns are animated mostly very well. A few of them are very slightly stiff at times, but considering the overall look of the game, it never bothered me a whole lot. Over time you will notice there is very little in the variety of environments though. It more or less boils down to one of three styles of maps. They are never quite the same which is nice, but despite that, you can’t help but feel you’ve, “Been there and done that” after your 4th or 5th playthrough.
The sound is fantastic. Enemies react to your presence by yelling, “Its the five-oh!” and melee enemies run at you grunting and growling with crowbars. I couldn’t detect any real 7.1 surround support, but I could at times hear enemies talking or growling at me before I entered which gave me an idea of what to expect. As far as sound is concerned, the thing this game does best is your various weapon sounds. During slow motion, they sound very different, but still beefy enough, and once the slow-motion ends, each gun sounds unique and powerful. There is something to be said of the enjoyment you’ll get while firing some of the bigger weapons as you destroy enemies left and right.
Gameplay and Replayability
Speaking of destroying enemies frequently and often. The kill count in this game grows incredibly fast. You’ll be taking down 50 to 70 enemies in just 4 or fewer minutes in most levels. It never seems to grow old though as the variety of enemies and their tactics change as you progress through the game. At a certain point, they start to have computer activated shutters cover and lock doors, wear helmets to avoid headshots, body armour, and even be so protected on their body the game shows an icon to let you know they these particular enemies can only be downed by a headshot.
The actual character models are limited, but the amount that they can mix up those few is impressive enough and makes you consider your tactics more. For instance, are there too many to kill before slow-motion ends? Consider a flash grenade or pulling out your heavier weapon. Not only that but the game will throw random goals at you in levels. For instance, you may need to gather 5 “Evidence”, Diffuse 3 bombs, headshot 15 enemies or slide kill eight enemies. These extra goals like the headshots and kills help you earn maximum Merits in a level yet don’t fail the level if you don’t hit those goals, unlike the evidence and bombs. As for bombs, I recommend when you encounter one, and the countdown begins you ignore everything other than shooting enemies and disarming them if they blow its game over.
The Merits I mentioned are like currency in the game. You do level up and gain skills similar to an RPG style game, but Merits are used to purchase extra health (you don’t heal between levels), Armor, grenade types, new guns, and attachments for those guns. The different order guns are offered is random which adds an element of, “Do I buy this now or wait for this gun I love?” to the gameplay. You also need to buy revives, starting with one you can hold two at a time. These are great if you are downed due to a gunfight, but they will not save you from a bomb blowing.
The combination of random room layout, random gun and attachment options, and even potential layout of the game progression help ensure that you rarely feel like the game is the same every time. This is what keeps me coming back. The game must be beaten in about 25 or 30 minutes of real-world time. Most levels took me from 2 to 5 minutes. This makes all of this randomness of the game essential. Without it, I’d of stopped within 3 or so hours.
Instead, just playing myself (multiplayer will bring me back 100% no doubt!) I logged a solid 10 hours, which was enough to beat it a few times and fail to beat it many more times. The game isn’t perfect, and as a single player only game squeaks out 10 hours or so, but add some friends to the mix, and I can see that easily being double or triple. If you want a fast pace, over the top, arcade-style shoot ’em up gameplay, this is the game you’ve been waiting for. I was quite impressed and can’t wait to see what this developer does next.