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Today In Real Game Names - REVOLVER360 RE:ACTOR

Maximum overpew has been achieved. There are no more pews to be had.

Well, you're not going to be unable to find it from googling, at least. REVOLVER360 RE:ACTOR, which I'm bowing to the capitalised stylisation of because it's rad as hell, was brought to my attention by a comment in this weeks What Are You Playing? The ridiculosity of its name grabbed my interest, followed by its light-show visuals and thumping soundtrack. It's a standard bullet-hellish blaster, with the neat gimmick of being able to rotate the world to dodge bullets and flank enemies. Available for a while, it's just made the jump to Steam with the help of Playism, who seem to be the latest publisher cashing in on non-English indie games' lack of exposure. There's a demo available from developers Cross Eaglet's Japanese website. Some thoughts on that and a trailer if you can angle yourself right.

As well as its forward-firing guns and slow charging but devastating laser beam the Revolver "ship" - I assume that's what it is - deals damage to any targets in the background that it happens to be hovering over. This means that success comes from trying to keep the way clear of obstacles and hazards by destroying what's causing them as you approach. Unfortunately, to avoid hellishly complicated fields of fire you'll need to rotate your view to not always be facing that direction. Equally, some threats will come from above, below and behind.

It's brilliant. Similar, though less well introduced and coached through, to the physics-based mind expansion of Portal and its ilk. Suddenly you're thinking in a whole other dimension, considering new options. Immediately impossible-seeming roadblocks of enemies and firepower are immediately solved with some clever rotation. It's got the satisfaction roots of the genre down too, everything graced even slightly by gunfire exploding immediately, showering you with score and multipliers. Even poor runs end in the nine figure range.

Challenges form the tutorial. There's no instruction, though whether that's down to the lack of English translation in the demo or deliberate design I'm unsure. They're easily repeatable 20-30 second waves, accessed from the menu. Each teaches something new - how lining up enemies into a laser will kill them immediately or how most problems are two dimensional. They're entirely optional and have competitive leaderboards, making them useful before and after mastery as well as letting you just get on with the no hand-holding main game if you wish.

I'd definitely give the demo a shot if it looks even like a hint of your sort of thing. The download'll take some time, being hosted in Japan and likely on a not particularly robust server. Make sure to install the XNA Runtime that comes in the zip file too, or it'll totally refuse to load. It's 30% off to just under a fiver on Steam and possibly slightly less depending on exchange rates via Playism, if it's your jam.

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