The Bug Butcher, courtesy of Austria based Awfully Nice Studios, is new to Steam this week. Awfully Nice consists of former Blizzard co-workers: Till Aschwanden and Rainer Zoettl. This is the only game listed on their website, so I assume this is their first release.
This game bears an obvious resemblance to the Capcom classic Buster Bros., which featured gameplay where you shoot balls in the air with a harpoon gun, each shot breaking the balls in half until there is nothing left. I always had a fondness for that game, and classic shooters in general, so I feel at home here with The Bug Butcher. Rather than balls, you’re firing at a beautifully animated array of ferocious bugs!
The game starts with your main character, Harry, landing in his spaceship to come help out with a bug infestation at a research facility. Having a big gun tends to land you gigs of that nature. A quick tutorial, in the form of shooting coffee cups out of the air, gets you familiar with the simple controls you will be using throughout the game. Nothing fancy here, you just move and shoot, and use a power-up when you have one. That’s it.
LOVE the character design and animation. All sorts of critters are out to get you, whether they be big, round, pink guys that shoot out smaller pink guys when you shoot them, or spiders that try to eat the scientists via a long tongue, or jumping critters who want to eat your face:
It’s a pretty easy-going affair early on, but as you get further in, shit gets real, as more and more bugs fill the screen, making it hard to keep track of it all. Time is NOT on your side, as a decontamination program kicks off after a certain period, killing everything in the chamber, including you, so you better blast as fast as you can. I can’t tell you how many times I lost with one or two little critters left. Makes ya nuts! As real as the struggle is, I just keep coming back, and that’s the sign of a great game. I bought this game for the purpose of reviewing it, but I got so caught up, that I often forgot this was “work” and I simply had a good time.
I didn’t realize the game was incomplete going in. “Vs.” and “Endless” modes are locked, and the game ends after level 18. It’s almost a relief, because by that time, the game is causing irreversible stress. Sure, there are some glitches strewn about the game, but so what, it will be fixed later. I’m excited to see a new studio cranking out some good ole quality shooting. I look forward to the future content of this game and any other projects these guys produce.
p.s. Every time the screen says “First Wave” or “Second Wave”, I think of the Skeet Surfin’ song from the movie Top Secret. EVERY TIME.