The Bug Butcher - Recensione
The recipe, in reality, turns out to be a reinterpretation of a classic medium from yesterday, namely Pang (and related sequels) signed by Capcom in the 90s. Also in this case, then, the peculiarity lies in being able to shoot only vertically, with a hero with his feet firmly planted on the ground and the enemies ready to bounce around him in different and sometimes unpredictable ways, depending on the type to which they belong.
But Awfully Nice, the development team based in Kufstein, has rightly taken the opportunity to refresh the whole thing, trying to adapt the mechanics to the 2016 domain year. So come weapons to be upgraded thanks to the coins collected during the games, three different perks to unlock that modify the protagonist's abilities and above all a system of combos and multipliers that rely on the pace of the game, much more frenetic than that of the former Capcom series.
The Bug Butcher is first and foremost a beautiful game to look at, with a round and colorful style that relies on both excellent animations and sprites full of details. While not showing who knows what desire to experiment, he manages to field his own personality. Too bad, however, for the very little variety in the settings. Finding yourself in almost fixed screens, always around the theme of the underground laboratory or something similar, after a while tends to dilute the impact of the excellent work of the graphic designers. There is a reason if the old games of the 80s and 90s, from Pang himself, but also going back to a Bomb Jack, opted for the simplicity of the dozens of backdrops conceptually fished a bit from all the possible artistic cauldrons and geographic.
The game system, however, works quite well. The controls are precise and responsive and the collision detections between the shots fired and the enemies or the enemies and the hero are unassailable. Which is always good. The extra weapons that can be collected in special crates scattered on the ground and that last just a few seconds are also fun, as well as taking advantage of the special attacks that can be loaded by killing a certain number of enemies (above all the one that freezes the screen wins, enemies and the timer).
The problem of The Bug Butcher is in its duration and rhythm: with thirty levels available, you get to the end in a few hours and, despite this, the game tends to become too repetitive in the last stages. The choice to push with conviction on the accelerator, compared to the good old Pang, works for long distances, but at the same time takes away that feeling of imminent danger given by having few shots to fire and the looming of enemies, which was typical of the Capcom game. In short, Pang had a strategic dimension that was more difficult to sell today, but capable of holding out longer. For its part, The Bug Butcher responds with a greater variety of enemies, even if the not quite "bouncy" movements of some of these tend to bastardize the idea behind the game a bit.
The "package" ends with a timed mode and waves of enemies (Panic), in which to survive as long as possible, perhaps even in local cooperative mode. The price of the game is 7.99 euros and on Steam you can try it for free thanks to a demo version.
I played The Bug Butcher for several sessions, all lasting a few minutes. I reached the last level of the thirty from the main mode and tried for a few times to set a decent record in Panic mode, always playing alone.