Oh what a curious game Bullets Per Minute is. Curious in a good way though. I’ve not really played many rhythm FPS games in the past, but Bullets Per Minute is a belter.
I’ll be honest, it’s a challenging game. Let’s not beat around the bush and say it’s extremely easy. However, there is a sense of achievement when you start to master the game.
What I really liked about it is that there is a random approach to the game with respect to level design and how the levels are generated. I’ve been a fan of this ever since I was introduced to that mechanic in Pikmin 2 where it wasn’t always the same layout.
It’s this level of organized chaos that does add to the challenge of the game.
In terms of the gameplay, it is, as you’d expect, based on timing your shots with the beat, and thankfully, the same mechanic is in place for the enemies attacking you as well. I wouldn’t care to add how many times I’ve been killed in the game. I did record a video of me playing through it, but for the first 40-60 minutes when I was still picking it up; my performance was so poor that I deleted the video out of embarrassment. The thing is though; it’s the same learning curve for everyone. Much like no one picked up Rock Band or Guitar Hero and mastered it right away (although there was always that person that was far too good for it to be their ‘first time’).
When you start building a chain though and begin obliterating enemies, it gets the endorphins going. The thing is, even when you get killed by a seemingly insignificant enemy like a worm, you’re so pumped up that you want to jump right back into the game again and destroy anything that comes in your path.
Much like it’s the case that shots are effective when they’re done on the beat, the same is true with enemy attacks. They’ll only attack in time with the music, which does help to curb the difficulty a tad, especially when there’s a lot of enemies in the same room.
It’s pretty flabbergasting that a team of two dedicated people at Awe Interactive brought together such a marvelous production. Granted, they have had help from friends in the industry, but they’ve been working on this full time. The attention to detail and the care that they’ve put into it really does shine though.
The different variety of weapons also brings its own challenges. It takes time to get used to how each gun feels, and the fire rate and reload speed needs to be factored in when you’re fighting off hoards of enemies. As you become more adept at the game and handling these weapons, you’ll be able to have a much better chance of beating the bosses. All in, there are 7 bosses that you need to defeat in order to reach the final boss. At times, it feels like an unruly struggle, but it’s also a highly rewarding one.
There is an automatic mode to help with the shooting, but to be honest I felt that this was cheating when playing the game, although your mileage may very on this one.
The sound track really is wonderful, which is a big bonus because if this didn’t live up to the mark, then it would impact the entire game. It’s totally over the top, but man alive does it sound brilliant. Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath fame level of brilliant. I’ve been a fan of rock and metal for years, and a lot of games don’t use this awesome music genre. Tied to this is when you’re battling a boss, it definitely has a Brian May vibe to it (which is a very good thing!).
Sometimes the weapons sound a bit flat, but it’s a small gripe and it’s something that could be readily fixed with a patch.
Visually, the game has a charming aesthetic with gold, black and red making up the majority of the colour palette. The enemy models look great, as do their animations. At times it does feel a bit dark, but overall the three tone effect in the game adds to the overall vibe given off by it.
I’m not knocking cutesy, bright coloured games, but Bullets Per Minute isn’t one that lends itself to an expensive colour palette. It would look out of place if a scheme like that was used. Just like Mario Odyssey would look odd if it only used red, gold and black. It works well, and when coupled with the music, it does have somewhat of a spooky, Black Sabbath vibe to the game. Again, this is something that is very much appreciated, and the fact that Awe Interactive has taken this bold step with the visuals is something that they should get a pat on the back for. Bigger companies don’t want to take a risk and put something that’s a bit ‘out there’, which means that sometimes as gamers, we’re left with the same bland looking games for the yearly installments.
Kudos to Awe Interactive in not falling into this trap and doing what they wanted with their game. It is available now on Steam.
Bullets Per Minute
Bullets Per Minute is really a game you need to play in order to appreciate how great it is, videos of it just don’t do it justice. It might be tough for a few players, but perseverance will certainly pay off.
A terrific challenge
One of the best gaming soundtracks this year
The difficulty might put some players off