The Bug Butcher is a side-scrolling, shoot em up game developed and published by Awfully Nice Studios. The name of the developers can pretty much sum up how I would describe this game: awful and nice. This game is the definition of "hard core". I mean….it is really challenging. It pits the player against swarms of aliens that attack only by bouncing back and forth, shooting out projectiles as well as smaller aliens. You, as the player, are tasked with destroying each and every one, while protecting a helpless scientist on the sidelines. Never before have I had to juggle so many variables at once while playing a game, especially one that sticks to a 2D format. I found myself constantly having to focus on where I was standing, the positions of each alien, and whether or not the scientist was being attacked. Luckily there is only one kind of enemy that can kill the scientist…for now. With a vast variety of weapons, upgrades, and bugs to butcher, this game offers one of the most entertaining shoot em up experiences to date!
The story for this game is set in the distant future, where humans have reached a technological golden age. Peace is achieved with other humans and even some some alien races…well….not really. All kinds of ugly, primitive, bug-like aliens attack and begin to cause quite an issue. That's where Harry comes in. See, He's a bug butcher. It's his job to hunt down and slaughter these creatures and protect humans from a most painful death. (Watch the trailer below to get a better idea.)
From what you know about the game already, or from what I've explained thus far, you can pretty much tell that this game is insanely difficult and requires nerves of steel, as well as some epic reflexes. Being a side-scrolling game, the player only has to worry about enemies emerging from the left, right, bottom, and top parts of the screen. These bugs will bounce back and forth in a rather predictable manner. Unfortunately there are a lot of them, especially when you get to the later levels and higher difficulties of the game. When I first started, I will admit, I was not so good at this game. But, being a pretty simple game, its easy to get into, but at the same time difficult to master. The gameplay revolves around running from side to side, shooting bugs that come out from the walls, and protecting a scientist, and if the scientist dies, it's an instant GAME OVER, which is kind of annoying, but I get that it adds another layer of difficulty. There is also an enemy type that can kill you in one hit, but they don't show up for some time. The alien type that kills the scientist crawls up on the walls to eat him, and, strangely enough, the only way Harry can shoot aliens is if they're directly above him, because for some reason he only aims upwards. (I mean….he's probably been doing this for a long time, so I'm not gonna judge). Anyway, there are only a few controls. There's running, dashing, and shooting. I know, this sounds easy in theory, but it's still surprisingly challenging. The player will start out with, a basic machine gun and three points of health, one being removed for each time the player suffers damage. In story mode, or arcade mode, however, the player will be given one extra point, on the medium difficulty, that is.
Power ups can be accessed depending on how many combos are achieved, and will be dropped on various positions on the map. Heated laser bolts, faster shooting, and even a laser beam (which is a my favorite), as well as health drops, which are very important if you are not so good at dodging, are just some of them. I'm sure there are still some that I have yet to pick up. The player will also be able to upgrade themselves at the menu before playing, enhancing armor, weapons, and how effective certain power ups will be. I think These upgrades are carried over from each mode, but It's probably primarily for the arcade mode. Speaking of which, there are three modes of play: Arcade, Single Player Panic, and Two Player Panic. Arcade mode acts as the story mode, having some dialogue and starting off with some control basics before sending to player off to die, while the panic modes are a collection of stages with different aliens and environmental hazards that become more and more difficult as the player progresses. This mode can also be played with another person. Well, kind of. It's like a contest to see who can survive the longest and kill the most bugs. It's not too big on the co-op aspect, but at the same it basically is co-op. I Despite that, this game's style of play and intensity alone carries it.
The art in this game is just straight up hilarious. The crude and absurd designs of the characters, aliens, and weapons brings some much appreciated humor to the game. Also, the dialogue sound a lot like how Sims talk, just saying, but I'm pretty sure it was intentional.
Okay, so in conclusion, I would say that this is a really good game. Though relatively simple in concept it provides a challenging experience, like, Pac-Man on insane mode challenging. I became frustrated, I laughed, I screamed, but most of all, I had a blast (literally). The Bug Butcher will please hard core players for sure. It's gameplay is very old-school, being similar to arcade shooters like asteroids. The game is available on Steam now! Check it out Here!