I suck at Arcade space shooting games. I’m so terrible, that I usually don’t play these kinds of games at all anymore. Vortex Attack, however, may have changed my mind on the entire genre. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this 2D Space Shooter and it’s available at a very cheap price.
At its heart, Vortex Attack is a 2D Arcade Space Shooter, similar to classic games like Space Invaders and Galaga. Each level has a giant vortex at the top of the screen that emits enemy ships that you shoot at and destroy. Once destroyed, these enemy ships drop small white particles that your ship can then pick up. Those particles then attack the vortex. The objective of each level is to attack and destroy the vortex. Once the vortex is destroyed, you move on to the next level. Levels can be completed as quickly as twenty seconds or they can last as long as two to three minutes.
Since Vortex Attack is a retro-inspired game, the game has a heavy emphasis on high scores and leaderboards. You get a few lives per run, and once you run out, you’re dead. Your score is saved and you have to start over. From my understanding, there are nine worlds and over two hundred levels. The game also features boss fights, but they’re pretty generic and forgettable at best. After you destroy each boss, you will unlock a new ship. There are eleven total ships, and each ship varies greatly in stats and how it controls and feels. Some ships are slow, some are fast, some shoot quickly, some shoot slowly. There is a great variety here, and it’s fun to try out each ship and find your own personal favorite to use.
The levels themselves can vary with different enemy amounts and types. The game starts out slowly, basically easing you into the game. It can often at times be too slow, with barely any challenge. After your first few attempts at the game, it can get quite redundant having to replay through those levels each time, but it’s really not a major flaw of the game. Soon enough, the game picks up speed and can get incredibly hectic, especially for someone lacking skills, like myself. Enemies cover the screen, and you will be weaving through lines of enemy fire and destroying a huge amount of enemy ships. Some levels even have you dodging massive meteors. Vortex Attack shines here, and the game is incredibly fun to play when the challenge is ramped up. As you progress through each level, you can earn a limited amount of bombs as you play. These bombs are very useful as they do a huge amount of area damage and can kill multiple enemies at once. Being a retro Space Shooter, the game also features an abundance of power-ups for you to pick up as you play. Shields, faster fire, double fire, triple fire and bombs are some of the power-ups you will encounter as you play. There is a strong variety here and with each ship feeling so different, certain ships will take better to certain power-ups.
The game’s art style and graphics work well. The game looks like the old Arcade Shooter games, while also maintaining modern resolutions and crispness in the graphics. Enemies blow up into tiny pieces and the sound of your ship’s weapon is satisfying. The music also does its job well and fits with the tempo the game offers. My biggest issue with Vortex Attack’s graphics is your own ships. Some can be a little bland in terms of design and color, meaning your ships don’t really stand out from the crowd during gameplay, especially the early ships. Thankfully, some of the later ships are a little better, but it’s nothing spectacular.
I played the entirety of Vortex Attack with a keyboard. The keyboard works surprisingly well, and I had no issues controlling my ship and dodging enemy fire. If for any reason you don’t like the controls for the keyboard, they are fully rebindable. The game does have partial support for controllers for those that want that. In terms of Multiplayer, Vortex Attack offers local Multiplayer co-op too. It’s a fun addition, and player two can control his own ship and help you out. For those that care, Steam achievements and trading cards are also available.
Vortex Attack is a great Arcade-style Space Shooter that can steal hours of your life. The different ship types change up the gameplay more than you would think, and the large amount of levels gives the game surprising depth. The first few levels can start out a bit too slowly, and the boss battles are a little dull. However, if you’re into Arcade Space Shooters, this is a no brainer. For anyone else, I highly recommend you to give it a try. The game is really cheap and those vortexes won’t destroy themselves!
Original Author: Zak Murkin