Another Game Where Anime Girls with Guns Meet Mecha
Game Review and Details
Blue Gunner is a short shooter from Japanese indie developer Indie-us that draws from various pools of Japanese popular culture. While the game has some design issues that need addressing, the overall implementation of the game functions as intended and gives a good feel for where it might go in future updates.
The influence of Japanese popular culture in the game is fairly obvious. The overall atmosphere of the game is a combination of popular anime tropes: anime (school) girls, guns, and mecha. The character deign and color scheme, though, draw from J-pop, with the protagonist's deign reminiscent of the AKB48 uniforms.
As this is a demo, there's not much to play yet, and speculating on the overall design of the final product guesswork at best. But based on the two stages in the C92 demo I played, it appears that the game will unfold over a series of stages framed as "missions." There's not much story at this point, but what little there is appears during the course of missions like the mission updates from various Metal Gear games.
While the demo technically consists of two stages, in practice there's only one because the first is spent orienting the player to the controls. Framed as a "training" stage to prepare the player for the game's future "missions," this aspect of the game works as intended as by the end of the obstacle course the player has a firm understanding of the game's basic actions.
In that regard, there's really not much to memorize. The player has access to two guns (a standard handgun and an assault rifle) and can shoot, reload, and change between them. Movement is limited to walking, running, and kneeling.
At this stage, game functionality is limited. The game lacks basic movement options such as dodging or rolling. It also lacks the function to lock-on enemies. The lack of these functions, core to most games of this genre, becomes an increasingly significant problem as the player encounters more varieties of enemies where these features would be useful. Being able to dodge would be useful in avoiding charging enemies, rolling would help evade Gatling fire, and lock on would facilitate tracking those mechanical dogs with rockets on their butts.
That said there is a lot that works. Reloading time is short and fluid, and movement speed -- while at time slow for my tastes -- is generally fine compared to that of enemies. While I wish ammo was easier to find, the demo can be completed as currently designed with no major problems.