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Laserpitium – Review

Eastasiasoft usually take PC shoot em ups and port them to console with easy achievements and trophies to draw in an audience. It is a great business model that shines a light on a lot of interesting indie shmups. Laserpitium is the first game I can see that’s launched on console first – an original if you will. However this seems to have opened up an interesting question for me as a gamer…

Two ships have multiple shot patterns to choose from but the shots are always quite narrow.

Laserpitium is a totally playable, competently made shmup. Everything you’d expect is here. Three ships, with different weapon fire spreads. Ten levels, with bosses in each. You can move around quite easily and shooting feels quite responsive. Yet the entire experience feels very safe and by the numbers, with very little personality or charm to it. There is no unique selling point, gameplay mechanic or quirk that makes it stand out. There is barely a combo system in place and the only other way to boost your score is to collect medals, gems and trophies scattered around the edges of the levels. It lacked a hook to made me remember the game at all and as soon as I was done with its 1 hour playtime, I’d almost immediately forgotten I’d played it.

This begs the question – if something does exactly what it says on the tin competently but without any bells or whistles at all – should I recommend it? Kind of. You see, there were no bugs or issues playing the game. The background graphics had moments of beauty to them. Bosses were varied even if I could feel they were a tick list of 90’s shoot em up boss tropes. Everything worked as intended. I did have some niggles with the ship hitboxes being bigger than my actual ship and the fact that ship 3, the lightning bolt ship, is overpowered because its on auto lock at all times. I found that weapons could be powered up in strength but never width slightly annoying on harder difficulties. The other two ships had two bullet formations, with one offering a handy backwards shot – useful since enemies fly in from all four screen edges.

Bosses only have one hitbox area which is highlighted on the loading screens. Graphically, Laserpitium has some lovely hand drawn enemies and backgrounds though.

The game did offer a decent challenge on harder difficulties but sometimes death felt inevitable because of how big the enemies lasers and bullets were and how big your actual ship is considering all of it is a hitbox. Co-Op is available but I didn’t personally try it out as I was already zoning out through familiarity. It just left me feeling cold throughout and I think its because Laserpitium feels so safe and by the numbers, I felt I’d played it a hundred times before.

Genre fans will get something out of Laserpitium and I would never say this is a bad or poor game. It is just uninspired and lacking a certain charm that makes so many other indie shoot em ups releasing at the moment stand out better. I hope this is a tester for more daring designs to come from the new developers as they have solid technical ability. I’d just like something more going on next time around please.

Review copy provided by publisher.

Final Thoughts
Technically competent and fine to play, Laserpitium simply didn't offer me any personality or unique selling point to make it stand out. For genre enthusiasts only.
Controls are easy to pick up and undestand.
Some pretty hand drawn enemies and background parallax scrolling.
If you are looking for a simple shoot em up, this will have you covered.
Actual hitbox for your ship is bigger than your visible ship.
Lacks any unique selling points, personality or charm and feels emptily familiar to play.
The lightning bolt ship is clearly overpowered compared to the others.
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