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 Post subject: Aniquilation (XB1-X|S - PS4|5 - Switch - PC)
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 10:43 pm 

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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 654
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base

Lea presents "So bad, it's laughable".

Looks like we're gonna have to deal with trash shmups again.
Today's review is Aniquilation by R-Next and Gamera Games.

In the year 21XX, all the Mavericks have been neutralized
thanks to the efforts of a Reploid scientist named, "Dr. Doppler".

Co-Op Mode is the main game, although the name implies forced two player mode, this is the 1 player game where Player 2 can enter on any time on pure arcade style.
Before starting your mission, you have to choose 1 of the four starfighters available.


IR-Green: Piloted by a red-head boy, the IR-Green All-rounder with equal levels of speed, strength and resistance, making it a basic choice for beginners.


IR-Yellow: Piloted by a holographic woman (an AI Avatar I guess), this ship is the Speed type that tops on speed at the sacrifice of being the weakest in strength and resistance.


IR-White: Piloted by a cyborg-esque man. This is the second All-rounder which has uneven, yet higher levels in all the categories compared with the IR-Green, making it an even better option for starters.


IR-Red: Piloted by an extraterrestrial woman, this is the "Power" type ship featuring the highest levels of strength and resistance, but at expense of being the slowest of the group.

All the ships have the same default weapons and IQ-Metal skills, the only difference between them are the status mentioned above, which is kinda disappointing since this had potential for unique capabilities and weapons (Blazing Star's ships for instance).

Aniquilation's Guide for the IR-Galaxy

Once you've picked your favorite starfighter, it's time to select a world. Since the game has a "battery" like backup, you can select the stage where you left off, or revisit a previous level.

Like Cat Stevens said "It's a Wild World".

The main gameplay structure of Aniquilation is the "Micro-World" exploration just like Nano Assault NEO-X, the main difference is that you're exploring a small planet and there's objectives to accomplish kinda like in Desert Strike and Thunder Force II. Your ship weaponry is based on the classic Twin-stick shooters as the Right Analog Stick is the "fire on any direction" while the Left Analog moves the ship. Along with your basic shot, your ship has a short ranged melee/sword attack. This is very important to use since you can use it to destroy buildings with anti-bullet shields, bounce shielded enemies away and even to throw them to shielded fortifications. Your special skill is the IQ-Metal Skill, which triggerd a unique skill depending on the stage you're playing. Believe it or not, the game decides which special attack you'll have. Also, you have to fully charge the gauge to use it, kinda like the Dose in R-Type Delta/Final. You have also a few additional features for your mission: The first one is the Shield that lasts as long as you re not touched by an enemy or bullet, otherwise, its energy lasts forever. There's also the throttle that moves your ship faster, and a zoom out option to zoom the camera away to see the planet and find any enemies and targets that escaped. On each planet you'll find crystals that will drop weapons which can be powered up twice. Some of them have special capabilities like destroying boulders or temporally freezing lava oceans so you can cross unharmed. Scattered across the planet there's bases where you can refill your energy. But with all these features known and learned, it might not be helpful enough once you realize how cruel this game will be.

Graphic description of "Abusive Difficulty".

As you progress on the game, the game will be throwing you random difficulty spikes: Some levels are gonna be easy and fun, while others (and VERY OFTEN) are a nightmare. The worst of all instances is going to be the fast, shielded starfighters which can only be destroyed with your shots because if you use the sword they'll be bounced back, to make things worse they will attack you in large numbers at the point of moving fast and shooting won't be enough and you'll be taking a hit or even losing a life. A direct contact/collision with one of them is fatal as they can drain almost 1/3 of your health or more depending of which ship you're using, but regardless of that, the game throws you the infamous Turridamage. Yeah, like in Turrican, you can lose all your health without having recovery times after a hit. Stage Hazards are at the order of the day with lava lakes and radioactive environments which are revelaled by your sword attacks as they also remove the safe ground where you are (downright unfair), other levels have asteroids slamming the planet, revealing the magma oceans below its crust, forcing you to a race against time in all the senses because ALL the levels are timed. Combined with enemy spam, this means unplayability to the point that the three R-Typer difficulties of R-Type Final 2 look tame. Also, you will be unable to use the weapons you may find constantly because you will lose it at the first hit you take. Basically the game will be "New Weapon *gets hit* Weapon Lost *finds another weapon* New Weapon *gets hit again* Weapon Lost" ad infinitum until you clear the stage or you are finally defeated after losing your three ships. Also, this is one of those games where the Super Mario Bros. rule of "1 is the zero" hits you as you'll be on the game over screen after losing your 1 life.
By the way, one of the missions you'll be playing will be picking energy cubes within the time limit and this is where most of the mentioned problems will be converging, making the shmup experience unfun beyond belief.

I guess this means "Experience grinding" in order to survive.

After clearing a planet, you'll be gaining experience points to level up and increase your HP and ship strength, like an RPG game. This is where the stage revisiting thing makes a whole lot of sense, as you'll be repeating levels to power up your ship. I feel sorry for you because you might be stucked in Chapter 4 before progressing further in the game.

Don't be so "Psygnostic" or you'll be wiped out.

Throughout the campaign chapters you'll be in this After Burner/Wipeout like segments where you'll be doing nothing more than dodging obstacles while getting the IQ-Metal scattered across the area. You can dash, but that's a bad idea because that will increase your chances of crashing. Besides, there's no enemies to attack or dodge, making this function useless.

There's no "Surf's up" with these waves.

"Waves" is another of the game modes. Like its name implies, you'll have to defeat five waves of enemies to complete the level. On each wave, the required number of enemies will increase, but this one is by far, the easiest of the levels since you'll be facing "popcorn" (more like spam) enemies and shielded ships, and there's no time limit pushing you.

The first step of "Operation Spheromancer"

Looks like the game also pulls CrossCode-esque puzzle elements. There's levels where you have to climb on the dome so you can reach an energy ball and place it on the indicated place in order to deactivate shields and destroy the buildings. Lava and time limit are going to be the major enemies here, but the difficulty here is more tolerable.

The shmup equivalent of Alia's interruptions.

Before continuing with the level variety of this game, I'll ask you a small question: ¿Remember Megaman X5?, ¿Remember how annoying Alia was throughout your gameplay?. This "Alia Hints" premise is back at the beginning of each level, While it work when you face a stage hazard for the first time, it becomes irritating everytime to enter a new, and later level. Combine this with unfair spamming, stupid weapon loss and Turridamage, it becomes infuriating.

Clash of the (Planetary) Titans

The boss battles are present at the final level of each chapter. Some of them require more than just shooting. For instance, there's a boss that shoots you blue bubbles that you can shot until they turn green and then bounce them back using the sword. In others you have to avoid the sudden attacks that the boss summons from below the planet's surface, fortunately you have quite enough time to move away from the potential danger. These fights are time based, but you're given plenty of time to complete them. Thus, your major problem will be the enemy spam as they will effectively prevent you from using your recently acquiered weapons for the reasons mentioned above.

Believe it or not, he's the secret, the weapon and the key.

There's a couple of stages where you can find hidden characters: A baby chick called Pollito and a panda cub called Xiang-Xiang. Finding them will not just grant you new powers and their respective achievements/trophies. They're also part of the game's True Ending, making them crucial to find them before reaching the final boss.

Ninmu Kanry-wait a second!!

After defeating IQ-Metal Bojat and find both Pollito and Xiang-Xiang, the last two will turn into large mecha-like white silhouettes that destroy Bojat, but the game shows a glimpse of a large purple monster and our heroes witness how the planets are in war again. Like the "Furmanism" said: IT NEVER ENDS. Yeah, they're hinting an Aniquilation II.
Once the cutscene is over, the game rolls the credits showing the photos of the bastards who've made this unbearable game, and close the game with THE PROMOTIONAL ART OF THE GAME!. Artwork is good, but when the pic used is the same promotional stuff you find in the console's store, then what a letdown this turned out to be.

Introducing "The No-Names"!

While the graphic aspect is your average XBOX One-indie shmup and talking about graphics will be like repeating myself from the previous indie shmup reviews, I'll go straight to the cutscenes, which are the oh-so-common hand-drawn illustrations where characters are "slide-placed" in the image as they appear on the background as the text explains the story and what the characters say. For some reason, your characters are a bunch of No-Names 'cos they don't have names of their own.

Admit it, the navigator is a sexy lady.

The character art is mostly based on western styled art with some anime influences on the costumes they're wearing. This is mostly notorious on the blonde navigator with a mecha style bodysuit. Aside of that, there's nothing more to talk about the game 'cos the illustrations are the only good thing about this game.
Now let's talk about the music. Which is just two songs, two instrumental songs that combines Electronic and Sci-Fi score styled elements which are repeated throughout the game: The "Overworld" one and the other for the "Hyperspace Tunnel" segments of the game which after hearing them across 30 stages or so, they became immediately repetitive. There's very little voice acting: A male voice that says "Ready" when the IQ-Metal Skill is used, and a female voice that says "New Weapon", "Weapon Lost" and "IQ-Metal Skill Ready". All of them are done in a lazy, uninterested way as if the cast only wanted to go home after doing their job.

- The game's name is a wordplay of the words "Aniquilación", which is the spanish for "Annihilation", the second word used in the title.
- One of the mecha enemies resembles a Loki from MechWarrior 4.
- Gamera Games appears on the startup screen as "Gamera Game".

I have to agree with Shizuka this time.

This game had plenty of potential, but in the end, R-Next and Gamera Games screwe up. Badly. Aniquilation is an attempt to be the next Nano Assault NEO-X but with all the mentioned flaws is more like a total miss that only the hard difficulty loving gamers will enjoy.
The only comforting things are that the blonde navigator is a cute lady, there's achievements that justify the waste of cash and the most important: THE GAME IS NOT A BREAKTHROUGH GAMING ABOMINATION.

That's what we've get on our quest for a great shmup.
Consequences sometimes hurt.
Fan of Transformers, Shmups and Anime-styled Girls. You're teamed up with the right pilot!
Bringing you shmup and video game reviews with humorous criticism.

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

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