Sometimes you stumble across a nifty little arcade game that has a basic and simple idea but executes it extremely well. Repulsor falls into this category as an arcade shooter (with co-op if you want it) that revolves around protecting an energy core at the centre of the screen. Revolves is the right word to describe it too as you’ll be revolving around it in 360 degree movement as you can’t leave its perimeter.
Its a simple idea but plays out in a really interesting way as you spin around the outside of the energy core shooting your bullets directly outward from your ship. You have two bullet colours and two enemies of the same colour. Similar to games like Ikaruga, you’ll need to swap colours to stay the opposite of the enemy to shoot and kill it. Enemy patterns are designed to take this into account as you’ll spin around the core, flicking between colours to kill as you go. Doing this successfully increases the power of the core and triggers a special move called a nova. Nova’s are like giant screen clearing rings of energy that will kill everything on screen – use them wisely.
One key mechanic of Repulsor is that if the enemy hits your ship, you lose a life. If it hits the energy core, you don’t die but the core expands and gets larger. This now means you’ve got more distance to travel to shoot enemies but also less time and space to react to what’s coming. The core does shrink slowly over time but there is a tactic here around knowing when to let a collective barrage of enemies hit the core and you take some damage for it rather than try a quick dive bomb shot and potentially lose a life. If the core gets too big it expands out and squashes you to death so you can’t rely on this too often.
Between levels, Repulsor does a Super Hexagon. As the world you live in has a hexagonal border, killer hexagons zoom into the core and you have to survive them like a dodge em up. These get trickier as you progress through the game and are also available as a standalone challenge mode. Repulsor is a relatively short game but the difficulty is high. If you enjoy score attack games, the endless challenge of the Super Hexagon mode will keep you entertained when not wracking up a high score on the leaderboards. Controls are great, as is the collision detection. One area I did have to fiddle with was the colour blind option though. I’m not colour blind but I found the purple and cyan hues of the original bullets and enemies too similar and so I switched colour blind mode on for a more obvious colour contrast.
Repulsor is a little gem. Delightful, addictive, tricky and fun. It’s a decent budget title that you’ll get a few hours out of. It’ll be staying on my score attack challenge events for the super hexagon mode alone.
Review copy provided by developer.
Repulsor is simple to understand, tricky to master and offers some quick fire arcade fun.
Great premise and gameplay loop.
Additional challenge modes add replayability.
Difficult but not needlessly so - you need precision and patience.
Quite short if you click with it immediately and do well.
Some graphical slow down in big explosive moments.
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