A game more akin to the days of R-Type on the Super Nintendo, Astro Aquakitty is an indie gem that just begs to be played for hours and hours. R-type has been the king of 2D side scrolling shooters for many a generation and from time to time you see devs trying to replicate the magic of taking on an overwhelming enemy force with a little ship. Starting off with a pretty lacklustre arsenal, over the course of these games the player gains access to incredible firepower in the form of powerups and pickups.
This is where Astro Aquakitty deviates from that design and adds RPG elements to the fray with a plethora of weapons, health and devices that have many different additions to your otherwise simple little sub. As you level up from destroying your enemies, the items you gain are of higher quality, each becoming more powerful. Now, there are many different weapons to choose from but personally I stuck with the sonic gun, a tall shot which passes through enemies, and the good ol’ reliable torpedoes. But believe me when I tell you, there are many more absolutely incredible weapons at your disposal, ranging from huge laser beams that absolutely eat your energy but pack a hell of a punch to a more close ranged focused blade that rotates close to your sub for absolute dominance in close quarter battle. The devices you obtain as you venture through the game can help you maintain your energy levels or make your sub much faster. All of these can be obtained from either destroying your enemies or visiting the shop which doubles as a save point – which I would highly recommend visiting often, as I found myself dying from time to time having to restart an entire section as there is no autosave function.
Astro Aquakitty also has many characters to choose from, each with their own skills you can unlock by levelling your sub. I chose the fighter pilot and the gadget engineer. I was able to place turrets down with Fighter’s skillset, and Gadget increased the value of the gems that I collected from the enemies I destroyed.
The environments are rather plain with very little difference between each subsequent level, although its saving grace is the sheer size of the levels and many side missions you can choose to complete – or ignore. The enemies also vastly vary in design which is very much needed for a genre such as this. Astro Aquakitty can be very difficult if you don’t destroy plenty of enemies to farm for experience points levelling up your sub, and gems which are the currency used in the shop to obtain better weaponry and devices. You will have an incredibly tough time with the bosses on this game if you are a newcomer to the genre, but finally taking down these incredibly satisfying bosses after playing around with a build that suits you is a great feeling – but of course there are difficulty levels to choose from including a permadeath option which I personally would not recommend.
All in all Astro Aquakitty is great take on the arcade 2D shooter genre with plenty of customisable options, enemy variety and sheer scale of the environments. Each death leaving you saying “just one more go”. I had an amazing time playing this game and urge those who want to scratch that itch to pick it up and give it a go.Become a Patron!
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.