Chaos Shift #XBLIG VVG Indie Verse Review
VVG Indie Verse Review
By: Mr. Deeke
Thanks for joining us on this installment of VVG Indie Verse’s XBLIG Reviews. Today we’ll be taking a look at a 3D sci-fi space shooter called Chaos Shift by Chaosoft Studios. This game is fun and addictive, and has nonstop action that’s ascribed to many space-themed shmup titles—along with gameplay mechanics that provide for entertaining space combat. It also provides a new evolution of the classic space shooter that started it all in 1978, Space Invaders, created by Taito (1).
Chaos Shift 80 MSP
Chaos Shift is an enjoyable Xbox Indie space shooter that focuses on reaction skills, reflexes, and overall simulated flight skills. Players must dodge enemy fire and obstacles while returning fire and destroying waves of enemies all while collecting pickups along the way. Use the special Chaos Shift mode to defeat groups of enemies or powerful bosses, and utilize weapon upgrades and subweapons to vanquish enemy foes.
- Developer – Chaos Soft
- Genre – Shooter
- XBL Marketplace URL – Chaos Shift
- Release Date – 11/11/2010
- Try or Buy? – Try Before You Buy
- Price – 80 MSP
- Rating – 3.25/5
I. Story Line
Chaos Shift takes place during the year 2552 in a futuristic dystopia where Earth has been annihilated by a race of xenophobic extraterrestrials who want to reign over the entire universe. All of mankind has been eradicated except for one survivor who is kept for research by the alien monarchs. After years of being held prisoner and being studied by his captors, the survivor breaks free as a rare opportunity to escape is presented.
The only human survivor left in all of space makes his way through the alien vessel down to the ship’s hangar, finding a one-man ship that is equipped with the alien’s new experimental weapon–The Chaos Shift. Armed with the technologically advanced weapon, the survivor is motivated by one desire–to avenge his fallen race and destroy every last alien in the galaxy.
Can our hero survive the oncoming waves of enemy alien ships, or will he be destroyed and ensure the complete extinction of the human race in the universe?
II. Game Mechanics
Chaos Shift is a 3D space-shooter whose dynamics are similar to many other shmups in the Xbox Indies marketplace–such as Solar Struggle: Survival. The third-person view allows players to see the ship as well as the Heads Up Display’s parameters: Score, Lives, Weapon, and the Health/Chaos bars. The graphics are decent and the special effects and music reinforce the flair that is found in Xbox Indie space shooters.
Gameplay mechanics are pretty much your standard space shooter–fly through space, dodge obstacles while shooting enemies and collecting powerups. The alien ships come in waves, and players must destroy all ships before moving on to the next wave. Gamers will be reminded of Space Invaders in the way the enemy ships are always grouped together on a horizontal plane.
Players must also dodge enemy fire by utilizing barrel rolls and other evasive maneuvers to successfully avoid damage–the same is true for the many asteroids that pepper the entire universe.
The controls are a bit confusing at first–the right trigger RT is the instinctual “shoot” button, but in Chaos Shift players must press A to shoot, yet players can hold the button down for rapid fire. It takes a bit to get acclimated to the controls and it’s best to take a gander at the Controls section under the Help Menu before starting. Also the flight controls are set to default as Y-Axis Inverted–where down is up–yet players can change this as well under the Options menu.
With each successful enemy kill, players will fill the Chaos Shift meter depending on how many chains are earned. Chains form when players shoot enemies in a row, sort of like a combo that adds bonus Chaos points. Once players enter the Chaos Shift mode, the ship is invulnerable, speed is doubled, and weapons are powered up to their maximum level–in short you become a total badass and destroy everything in your way.
There is an assortment of powerups to collect while eliminating hostile alien forces in space: Life Pickups, Weapon Upgrades, and Subweapons. Each category of powerups have their own selection of pickups–Health and 1-Ups, Four types of Weapon Upgrades, and three different Subweapons like Rockets and Grenades.
There is a myriad of pickups and items to collect while fighting enemy vessels in Chaos Shift:
- Health – The only way to replenish the life meter is to pick up these powerups. They are found when players destroy enemy ships and can also be found inside of floating asteroids.
- 1UP – Dropped randomly by all types of enemy ships, this item grants the player an extra Life.
- There are four weapon upgrades each with their own unique strengths. The four types are based on four colors: Orange, Green, Purple, and Blue. If players collect a powerup of the same color as the weapon they currently have equipped the weapon will be upgraded to the next level–consequently, if players collect a weapon upgrade that is not of the same color, it will be reset to Level 1 of the corresponding type.
- Rocket – A direct hit from these will destroy most enemies, but they are best used against boss ships. Rockets are the second most powerful weapon in the game.
- Homing Rocket – Homing Rockets are not as powerful as the standard ones, but they have the advantage of seeking out the closest enemy.
- Grenade – If you manage to launch one in just the right spot, you can wipe out an entire squad of enemies with a single grenade.
IV. Unique Features
Chaos Shift Mode is unlocked when players earn enough kills in a row in a certain amount of time, enough so that the Chaos Bar on the HUD screen is completely filled. Once Chaos Shift mode is activated players will become invincible and have enhanced attack power and speed–this mechanic is very useful and changes the color-scheme of the graphics to a sort of polar visual effect.
The customization that this game offers is a very nice touch that gamers don’t normally see in space shooters. Under the Options tab players have the option to change their targeting crosshair to whichever reticule they favor most. Players can also modify their starting lives from 1 all the way to 7, and choose which game difficulty they’d like to play–from Easy to Chaos which is the hardest.
The mechanics of the Weapon upgrades in this game is a unique feature in its function and design. Players must use caution and strategy when collecting item upgrade pickups, especially when they are varied in color. The key is to focus on one color type at a time, picking up on same-color powerups and building the currently equipped weapon up to higher Levels. Once the weapon itself is a higher level players will mete out powerful attacks against foes.
The Graphics. Chaos Shift is in full 3D providing for decent graphics and visuals. The asteroids are realistic and the ship’s flight dynamics are very fluid, and the game gives players the sense of the perpetual motion that is associated with flying through space. All in all the graphics and special effects are an essential element of any 3D sci-fi space shooter title and this game does well for an Xbox Indie title.
Visual Flair. The color schemes used in this game are quite a nice touch in an Xbox Indie 3D shmup, especially the detail in the space backgrounds and the celestial bodies. The asteroids are even colored in a bright teal that brings a sort of life to the blank color of space, and of course there are the powerups themselves that are prismatic in color. This title makes use of color to differentiate between items, enemies, and obstacles like asteroids and mines so that players can identify each and respond accordingly.
It’s Enjoyable. I found Chaos Shift to be an enjoyable Xbox Live Indie title that delivered that classic space shooter experience while in a 3D environment with non-stop action. Maneuvering through asteroids while shooting down waves of enemies, collecting powerups and demolishing bosses–that to me defines a fun space shooter experience. The game gets more challenging as players progress and there are moments that require Chaos Shift mode to be activated in order to wipe out the overwhelming armadas of enemy ships.
Somewhat Awkward Controls. If a gamer decides not to look at the Controls pane under the Help section then they risk being disoriented as they try to figure out the controls. For one thing the original inversion of the Y-Axis comes standard, and players must quit to the main screen to adjust that setting under Options to change it. The A button fires instead of the Right Trigger, which rotates the ship to the right.
All in all Chaos Shift is a pretty good Xbox Indie that utilizes a few unique elements–like Chaos Shift mode and the Weapon Upgrades–as well as classic elements that gamers will recognize like the 3D third-person view, the flight controls, and the general flow of gameplay. Players must put their skills to the test and shoot down waves of alien spacecrafts while dodging laser shots, asteroids, and mines–all to exterminate the alien threat responsible for the destruction of mankind.