Bringing a challenging and interesting take on the twin stick shooter genre is Charlie's Games with their latest title SON OF SCOREGASM. While most games that are twin stick do have their difficulty to them, this title branches away from just having various enemies to be the challenge, but instead makes the arena you are in constantly changing based on which level you are in.
Unfortunately, there was no story told to explain any kind of goal for the game, but in this case the story could simply be that you are a space pilot that doesn't want to die. Otherwise, it is nothing more than a shoot 'em up, survival style game as the goal.
Each level has its own layout. Ranging from being a circle, triangle, or square, to even a strange shape that looks like a distorted version of the shapes. My favorite level was titled "Force" and had a red rim instead of a white rim. The red rim could kill you and some of the enemies fired bullets that when exploded just pushed your ship hard in one direction instead of having it kill upon impact.
You only got one hit meter, so you can't take any damage in any of the maps. The main goal is to kill any of the "enemy ships" that get close to you before they actually make contact, and destroy you.
The controls are simple and smooth, as are most twin stick shooters. They let you control the ship with the left analog, while the right analog fires. At first it will just be one row of bullets at a time, but after you destroy about ten to fifteen base enemies, it becomes a tri-blaster and shoots the bullet streams on the left and right of your initial stream. This helps majorly, once more enemies start to appear. It also makes it more about covering yourself over the accuracy to hit the enemies.
I thought it was interesting that there were also some props in the levels that were used against you, if you didn't use them to your advantage. Whether it is giant pillars that you have to keep pushed away from you or laser shooters that slowly glide along the edges of the map, you'll need to keep on your toes. Staying aware of your surroundings as much as your placement and enemy is important.
After you complete a level, there will be two exits to choose from: green and orange. The green exit is going to take you to an easier level, while the orange exit takes you to the more difficult level. I tried to keep in the center through the game and found myself going back to the easier levels. It is a very difficult game as it is. You can actually increase the difficulty of all the levels in the beginning of the menu if you feel that the challenge isn't too great already.
Son of Scoregasm keeps everything rather simplistic. There isn't much for what the levels have and what your ship looks like. It is easy to know the different in all the items and enemies, but its just a variation of shapes with little time put in to making them have any special or unique style to them.
The music will play constantly with the flow. Whether you just entered a level, just died, or are just sitting on the menu, the light space-themed music will just continue without any change or interruption. This caused a lot of silence at times, when the song has a long build up or creates a pause in the music, leaving nothing but the light laser-like noise from the bullets being fired. Aside from the bullets being fired, there aren't really any other sound effects. It matched the graphics on being equally simplistic while getting the point across.
As for replayability, there are multiple levels that make a cone shape laid out. One path leads to harder levels while the other path leads to easier levels, allowing you to reach the final level in either direction. As you increase your skill, you can make your way through all of the levels. On top of the multiple levels to go back for, there is a leaderboard for each level allowing you the chance to dominate multiple maps within the game.
What Could Be Better
The graphics and sound effects were a bit too simplistic. I would of liked more effort put into them to give a more unique look aside from the basic shapes put together to form not-as-simple-but-still-simplistic shapes. The music could of used a wider variation from the same style of stereotypical, bland space music and have been as hyper as the difficulty is tough.
The game is fun and difficult to get through. For those who enjoy a challenge, regardless of simplistic looks and sounds, then this is a great pick. I see myself playing this on and off as I try to make it through the harder levels and try to complete the entire cone of levels. The different take on the level lay outs and using that against you is one of my favorite aspects to the game as it always made the next level a whole new challenge of its own, despite using the same enemies in different colors and sizes. For $9.99 Steam and PS Vita game, it is worth picking up. What's the hardest twin stick shooter you have ever played? Think you are up to try and survive this one?