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 Post subject: Q-YO Blaster (XBOX One - Series X|S - Nintendo Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:27 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 430
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Avengers, Assemble!

The toon-themed shmup fest continues, this time is Q-YO Shooter.

Sometimes, to survive Hell, you'll have to unleash Hell itself on your enemies.

To begin with, you have to select one of three teams, but after playing with 7 of the 16 characters I've realized there's no difference with them, since all off them have the same weapon.
Anyway, here's the list of characters.

BLOOD PRESENCE: Their Assistant Attack summons a demon-like entity on the middle of the screen.

: The space jockey in his starfighter. Damage 2/3 - Speed 2/3 - Fire 1/3
NERÓN: A severed dog's head, It shoots bloody eyes as if it was a spoof of an Abadox enemy. Damage 3/3 - Speed 1/3 - Fire 1/3
CHOP: A kitchen robot with a spinning blade on its back that shoots knives. Damage 0/3 - Speed 2/3 - Fire 3/3
WEIRD-O-TRON: A Boombox stereo robot that shoots cassette tapes. Damage 2/3 - Speed 1/3 - Fire 2/3
KURISU: The Peter Pan-inspired flying kid with a magic sword. Damage 2/3 - Speed 2/3 - Fire 1/3

BOOM!!: Their Assistant Attack unleashes a volley of missiles in all directions.

The flying hamster. Damage 1/3 - Speed 2/3 - Fire 3/3
MESS: The flying Panda that shoots gray bullets, but is sluggish as hell. Damage 3/3 - Speed 0/3 - Fire 2/3
THE IRON CAT: A cat with armor and uses his tail as a propeller like Tails from Sonic The Hedgehog 2. Damage 2/3 - Speed 3/3 - Fire 0/3
ISAAKH: The Insect piloting an UFO. Damage 1/3 - Speed 3/3 - Fire 1/3
TOM TOOM: A humanized tomato in the style of Captain Tomaday. Damage 2/3 - Speed 2/3 - Fire 1/3
MOLTEPILLAR: A caterpillar in a flying leaf. Damage 0/3 - Speed 3/3 - Fire 2/3

MICROWAVE: Their Assisant Attack is actually a shield as they summon a robot that engulfs the player for a few seconds.

A Doll-Robot. Damage 2/3 - Speed 2/3 - Fire 1/3
HIMMEL 3: A Shark-plane mixup. Damage 3/3 - Speed 1/3 - Fire 1/3
SYLPH: No, not the XAV/FV-01 from Vapor Trail, this one is an eye-patched angel character. Damage 3/3 - Speed 2/3 - Fire 0/3
LEENA: A 3-eyed purple girl. Damage 0/3 - Speed 3/3 - Fire 2/3
BRIAN: An Astro Boy ripoff with a machine gun. Damage 2/3 - Speed 3/3 - Fire 0/3

Toys VS Bugs: The ultimate war will take place in your house.

The main mechanic of Q-YO Blaster falls on the basics: A Frontal shot when you tap the button and a dispersing shot as long as you hold the A Button. Since all the characters have the same weapon type, the game relies on giving them unique status making them fast, slow, strong or weak. We can think of this as the basic version of Blazing Star's ship weaponry.

DAMAGE: This one is based on how powerful their firepower is.
SPEED: How fast or slow your character can be.
FIRE: The name might be confusing, but this one refers to the fire rate of your character/ship.

To compensate this "Basic weaponry for everyone" issue, the game provides you with limited ammo weapons with their own properties and they also have unique effects by tapping the A Button.

BULLSTORM: A "Heavy Machine Gun" with average strength. Tapping the button provides full horizontal fire, while holding fires a rapid, dispersing rapid fire.
CURTSHOOT: The spread gun of the game. Tapping the A button fires 3 bullets and holding A fires a rapid straight shot.
HOMING MISSILE: The homing weapon of the game. Tapping the fire button launches a spheric projectile with a slow rate, while holding A fires small missiles with a faster rate.
LASER: Another homing weapon, tapping the button fires a three homing beams consuming 3 bullets, while holding A fires a rapid single fire.

Keep in mind, if you clear a stage with a weapon you'll start the next stage with your default shots regardless of how much ammo you had left.

This feels like a Cave shmup.

Along with the unique character status, you are granted with a few powers. The first one is the Pulse, which is a defensive bullet killer which transforms the bullets into medals. Medals power up the Special Attack and after the gauge is fully powered, they will grant you a 1up after racking 250 of them, So you'll prefer to use the pulse on very important instances where you can exploit its medal maker potential like the massive bullet bursts from bosses like Queen of the 6th Floor and Space Witch. The Special Attack can deal damage and absorb enemy fire as long as you don't get hit like using the Acid Guitar or the Super Laser. As you progress in the game you'll be unlocking different Specials like the Laser Shark or the Shield.

One of the problems of the unique status was the inclusion of the "Level Zero" on the attributes, making them absurdely weak like Chop, Moltepillar and Leena, despite having a fast fire rate or way too slow, like Mess' case which is a very easy target for the homing bullets in the second to final stages of the game even with the Speed upgrade equipped forcing you to burn the Pulse constantly in moments where you don't have to when you're using faster characters. Another problem is that the game doesn't explain what is the "Endurance", since most players will associate this word with resisting damage, but guess what?, Your character goes down with one hit like in Raiden or Aero Fighters. Well, I've figured out what's up: Endurance is the temporal invincibility after unleashing the Assistant Attack, for example, the Damage ones only clear the bullets without providing protection, the Damage-Endurance provides short but helpful protection while damaging the boss with missiles and the Endurance focuses entirely on providing protection to the player with a shield that lasts for a few seconds or until it is destroyed. You'll be tapping constantly or using the dispersion shot on fast intervals because holding the fire button also unleashes the Assistant Attack. This would be addressed by assigning it to the bumpers or triggers of the XBOX controller rather than using it as a charge attack of some sorts.

Losing in this game is not excent of problems, as if it was a Hyperion Corporation product from the Borderlands universe, continuing will take a 50,000 point penalty. I know its less arbitrary than resetting to nothing, but still is obnoxious like the money discounting from respawning in Borderlands. However, recovering from a Game Over is not too difficult since the first two stages are very short and the later stages are slightly larger, so in 15-20 minutes you'll be in Level 5 if you're skillful enough.

After clearing the game in "Hard (El Macho)", you'll unlock the "Expert (God)" difficulty and the Arcade Extreme option. Expert (God) is perhaps the most difficult of the unlockables, because the game relies on granting the bosses large amounts of health and reduces the default stock of continues to 4, requiring a professional player and using a powerful yet maneuverable character to dodge bullets and the annoying homing beams, Nerón is a good candidate to do the job.
Arcade Extreme on the other side is the bullet hell that will put your skills to the test. Ironically, it grants you 99 continues, making it very easily to complete despite its difficulty. This mode expands the list of stages from 8 to 10 as it adds 2 boss-fight levels exclusive for this mode. The Upgrade select screen also adds more items to pick when the game is played in this mode.

If you're looking for an achievement hunt from this game, then this game will give you a challenge, especially from the Expert (God) difficulty, since 0.00% of players had unlocked it, making this reviewer the lone shmupper (by now).

If you think the screenshot looks great, wait until you see it in-game!

The graphics are perhaps the best part of the whole game, as they rely on pixel art, but with the fluid, cartoonish animation inspired by Cuphead making them look unique with this blend of graphic and animation styles. There's bosses that they feel like they will fit on a Metal Slug game like the first boss and the Dragunfly boss which looks like a sprite of said game. A true accomplishment for Indie game standards. The same can be said for the quality of the cutscenes, that despite being still images, they're well illustrated and they look like a comic strip scan rendered on a mid 90's DOS computer. The "Cartoon" wackiness of the game also applies to the characters as they vary from spaceships to dolls, pandas and even cartoon-ish planes.

As for the sound, the game combines the retro-style chiptune with modern instruments, while this is more notorious on the first stage and the cutscenes, while the instruments take over the rest of the soundtrack as they become the electronic-ambient-synth mix we've got used to from many shmups. The synth part fits it well as if we're watching an experimental early-mid 90's cartoon.


Bad driver?
No, my navigation system suffered a "MEMORY_MANAGEMENT" crash.

- The "Bad driver?" message in the Game Over sign might be a nod to the "PILOT ERROR" Game Over message from Thunder Force V Perfect System ("Try to next chance" in the japanese version).
- "El Macho" description of Hard difficulty is spanish slang for "The Though Guy", mostly used on Mexico.
- "Bullstorm" is a portmaneu of Bullet Storm.
- "Curtshoot" is a wordplay on Curtain and Shoot.

Toon-ed up shooting.

Q-YO Blaster is an interactive cartoon that delivers a basic, yet well elaborated shooter that provides some serious challenge for those who are thinking "This is just another Gamerscore Milker" 'cos the Expert difficulty will prove to be a trial of toughness that will probably bring any casual gamer to its knees. So you've better give this game a try.

Continue the fight, for the war is not yet over.
One day, peace will return again.

Looks like the game has a sequel threat looming in the horizon, regardless of which mode you play you'll get this ending.
Well, who knows if such sequel threat will be fulfilled, but fortunately the game is good enough to stay on your consoles for the reasons mentioned above.

A positive mark on the "Lea Scale".
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

STG Wikias: Thunder Force Wiki - Wikiheart Exelica - Ginga Force Wiki

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