I like Indie games so much...
Besides being an endless source of inspiration, in my opinion, the most innovative game titles these days are coming the indie game scene; an oasis in a desert of boring AAA games. I visit gaming sites every day, for reading reviews and looking for new releases on itch.io, Gamejolt, Newgrounds, Steam and I always find some good surprises.
Beat'em ups are the most fun and challenging games in my opinion. I remember, with great nostalgia, my evenings playing Double Dragon, or the old and good Streets of Rage. Some time ago, I played a title that caught my attention. It was Mother Russia Bleeds, which combined pixel art and savage brawling. I played MRB for some evenings with friends, and I finished it with a smile on my face. I confess that I liked it very much and the game entered my hall of the best Beat'em ups.
Recently, I've had the pleasure of learning about a new game, with a very nice/fun look and a different style: the Plasma Puncher. I had a chance to play it in its beta phase and, to my surprise, it is an addictive, fun game that makes you want to play more and more.
Developed by Tomatotrap, it is a game in which you are a white cell that must fight germs, microorganisms, and destroy a "bad" great mother cell. The theme reminds a mix of Atari's Fantastic Journey game and the Osmosis Jones movie.
In Plasma Puncher, the best spirit of Beat'em ups is present. The game has a great gameplay with a degree of challenge that will give both the novice and the experienced player many hours of fun.
The gameplay is very cool, and the controls are very easy ( basically: arrow keys, Z and space). Besides, you can set the play keys. There is even the gamepad option. In my case, I played both ways to see how the game works and both experiences were great. (I confess...I like to play with my old PC keyboard).
The game flows very well and the response to the character blows is perfect. Our hero beats, without any type of delay, with a fluid and perfect form. Access to game options, such as upgrades, visual differentiation, do not impact the gameplay at all. It's very easy to upgrade the hero and get more combos during game progression.
Graphics and Sound
The funny graphics (a cartoon style) put the player in the spirit of the game. I really like the look and feel of the hero and the enemies. In addition, the interface is very simple and highly functional. The sounds are great (I liked the punches!) and the cool music packs the rhythm of the game. IMHO, everything is functional and very well polished.
The game as a Beat'em up works very well. With a limited number of lives, you need to hit your enemies to collect coins and make upgrades as well as level up. The gameplay is very fluid, allowing you to move forward in a good and easy mode. With some jumps, dashes, punches, you kill your enemies. Some mobs like amoebas die very fast, but as the levels get more difficult, their spawn rate increases.
The progression is very fast and balanced, but I was a little frustrated with a number of powers along the game. So few. In fact, our hero needs more combos, attacks and special powers...
That does not make the game bad, but I think there could be more combos that would make our hero more powerful. It's a wish from a Plasma Puncher fan. For me, it's the only negative point for the entire game. Another thing I find to be very cool are the power-ups. They make the game very fun (I like the missile launcher and the flying spike balls), especially when the screen is full of enemies.
The game was very well made, with a solid and very consistent gameplay. I really like the characters. They captivated me despite their supposed simplicity.
Another noteworthy point is the hero appearance items that you will get to unlock, such as hairstyles, hats etc. They give an extra charm that really captivates you. Overall, Plasma Puncher's purpose is satisfying and gives to you a lot of hours of play.
Challenges and Game Balancing
I tried the hardcore mode and it's a big deal for all those who really like difficulty. Playing with one single life is very complicated, but the "hardcore players" will love this option. In other game modes (easy, normal and difficult), the game is well balanced, and as I previously said, the gameplay is very nice and fun. Some bosses may be a little more difficult, but nothing better than a good challenge in a game.
I don't like to be giving grades (I'm not a school teacher). I just like to say one thing in my reviews: whether I have played a good and fun game or a boring one. The purpose of Plasma Puncher is to punch and have fun! The game is good and follows a series of good practices, making it fun and, at the same time, very well resolved. It is an excellent indie game and it is been giving me some good relaxing moments during my work pauses. It was a good debut and it made me keep an eye for future Tomatotrap's releases. If you enjoy some good fight as you punch some amoebas, Plasma Puncher is your option.