"ARMED SEVEN" is a futuristic side-scrolling schmup (shoot them up) set in the far future of the year 1989. Twelve years have past since the invasion of the Gogoh Army... Yeah, that's all the attract mode tells you about the story but thank goodness there's a description of the game (found on the game's Steam page) that tells what's going on in greater detail. The year is 1989, it has been twelve years since the Gogoh Army tried to take over Earth. Earth's war technology has advanced a great deal since being exposed to alien technology from the war but that's not all as Earth has also found peace within it's people, so they have formed a new united government called the Earth Federation. Sadly the peace is short lived as there is a group hell-bent on taking over Earth and creating a new world order. This group is called the Neo Loran Order and they've got some heavy duty machinery that can give the Earth Federation a run for their money. The most devastating machine the Neo Loran Order has is a crazy doomsday machine called the Armed Seven. You are playing as a soldier of the Earth Federation and your goal is to fight wave of Neo Loran Order machines of many sizes and take out all of their doomsday weapons (AKA bosses) and bring peace to the world. (Click "Read More" to read the full review).
The story in this game has a classic science fiction feeling and feels like something ripped from an old arcade game and will give you a nostalgic feeling. The downside about the story is that you don't get much of it as you only see a smidgen (and even that is stretching it) during the intro and a pretty cool cut-scene during the middle of the game. The only way to truly know what the story is about is to read the official description from the store page or the developer and publisher websites. Once you do find out what the game is about you will find it to be pretty neat. While I liked the story I wouldn't say that it is a necessary thing as it isn't all that important to the game as this game is all about the action over telling a story.
Gameplay is very simple as it is a side-scrolling horizontal space shooter where you trying to shoot down everything that comes in your way. The weapon system is very customizable and easy to understand as you get to pick three kinds of weapons including your main weapon, secondary weapon, and a special weapon. The reason why it is customizable is due to that you can pick different kinds of main weapon, secondary weapon, and special weapons and it help makes each playthrough of the game feel very different and fresh. There are also power-ups you can pick up by destroying certain enemies and those power-ups will add on to your health bar and add more power to your fire power.
Each level in this game uses a very simple formula and that is you are blasting at smaller enemies until you get to the end where you have to take on a big and powerful boss. The boss fights are simple as all you have to do is avoid their fire and just keep shooting them until they are destroyed. Not every boss can be taken down so easily as some of them will require you to hit a weak point instead of hitting them at any and every part of their armor. You can also destroy certain parts of the scenery on certain levels to snag some neat bonus points.
I like the difficulty settings in this game as each difficulty actually feels different from each other and really make the terms easy, medium (marked as "Normal" in this game), and hard actually mean something. Normally when I play a space shooter on the easy setting I still find those said games to be hard but playing on easy mode on this game actually makes the game beatable without taking away any of the fun factor. The game is still very beatable on medium but it will require a bit more skill and anything above medium is where it's going to get real tricky. The difficulty settings are also good because it helps makes this game a perfect space shooter for people who are new to the genre and also perfect for veterans of the genre.
The length of this game is very short and you can beat it in around twenty minutes but this is a game that is designed to be played over and over again. This is defiantly a game that you will be playing over and over again, the gameplay is so much fun and very addicting to where you will be playing this game every day just for the heck of it and to also try to work your skills until you have beaten this game on the hardest setting. The downside to this game is that once you die you won't be able to continue and will have to start the game all over but the games length and difficulty is fair enough to start over and try again. Once you get game over via loss or win you can save a replay of that run and watch is later. You do have the option to select any of the stages from the main menu but you must beat those certain level first before you can do so.
Controls in this game are simple as you can move around by using the arrow keys on the keyboard and you can fire your main weapon by pressing the Z key, you fire your secondary weapon by holding down the Z key and you do also get to use both main and secondary weapons at simultaneously while doing so. The special weapon is quite powerful indeed and to use that you must wait until a special bar to charge up and you can see that on the bottom of the screen, when it is charged you can hit the X key to unleash mayhem. The controls are very smooth and responsive but my complaint is that there is no pause button but you can reset the game completely by hitting the R key.
Graphics in this game looks like something right out of a late-1980's Capcom arcade game just like "U.N. Squadron (1989)" and that is a very awesome thing to see. The designs for the characters are very awesome and so are the backgrounds and you are sure to have a nostalgasum (orgasm from nostalgia) when you see them. Animation in this game is good and it defiantly helps capture the feeling of playing an arcade game. The music in this game has an epic heroic feeling that really captures both the space shooter and arcade vibes very well. The music in this one reminds me more of an SNK Neo Geo game rather than a Capcom game and that's not a bad thing at all, that's actually a great thing.
Overall this is a really fun arcade-esk neo-retro game and it did take me back to the times of going to my local cinema just to play the arcade machines. Would this game work as an arcade release today? Sadly not but this game does make for a very neat PC game. I am finding it very hard to not recommend this game and you are bound to have a lot of fun with this one. Good game.
Game: ARMED SEVEN
Developer: ASTRO PORT
Publisher: Nyu Media
Genre: Action, Schmup
Price: $4.99 (Steam)