For those of you who have never heard of Assault Android Cactus, it’s about a team of androids trying to rescue a spaceship by fighting back against a robot uprising. Over a 25-level campaign, the androids will face screens of enemies, brave bullet hell style bosses and environments that switch, shift and transform around them.
These androids are pretty tough, getting knocked down clears their powerups but they can get right back up again. The catch is they run on battery, and when that runs out it’s game over! Putting the onus for action on the player turns typical twin stick pacing on its head – it’s not a game you can beat by playing cautiously, the only way to make it out alive is to careen recklessly through the stages and to tame the chaos from within it.
We wanted to create something that captured the spirit of what arcade games meant to us when we were growing up, being tough but fair and the kind of game you could come back to again and again and express yourself through skill. In Cactus, at first it’s a buzz just to survive, but the heart of the game is finding ways to master stages, and to do that you have to manage your score multipliers by keeping chains alive and shave precious seconds off your clear times.
We thought letting characters grow more powerful over the course of the game would undermine what we were trying to achieve so instead we went broad. There are eight playable characters and we treat them a bit like ships in a shoot ’em up – each has a different primary and secondary weapon to give them a unique playstyle.
Cactus, our heroine, is an all rounder with a Machine Gun and Flamethrower, while reluctant combatant Holly is great for beginners with a slightly weaker Homing Shot, but she is packing a Cannonball Launcher that will decimate a line of enemies with a well aimed shot.
Visually, I wanted to combine sci-fi with colorful characters and bright appealing environments. As small indie developers we set our sights on PC but we’ve always known the game had a console heart. Thankfully we weren’t the only ones that thought this way and with Sony’s support we’re on track to bring Assault Android Cactus to PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4. We’re aiming to release on both platforms near the start of next year as a Cross Buy title.