Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: Rainbow Dash Shooter Project

Rainbow Dash Shooter Project

Ever since their release the Desktop Ponies sprites have been used in almost everything. Yes, they are good-looking retraux pony sprites but at times one likes to see developers do their own sprite work for a change. I can say from experience that the main problem seems to be that four-legged characters are rather hard to animate properly and simply using a standard set of sprites saves much time and lets the developer work on things other then character animation. The creator of the dully-titled Rainbow Dash Shooter Project claims that his game's graphical resources were created entirely by himself, and this may be either a good or bad thing depending on his artistic talents.

Of course, it is not the graphics that matter most as the gameplay, so how has this project turned out? Find out after the break.


Of all the sidescrolling shooters that I've seen come out of this fandom this one has to be the most ambitious. The player starts off controlling either Rainbow Dash or an OC created within the game itself (more on that later), and can eventually unlock Fluttershy and Derpy, the latter of which must be obtained by finding a special code either ingame or in the game's comments. Each character has their own special abilities but they can all fly, shoot magic fireballs and enter "overdose mode", which basically speeds up gameplay and enables the player to fire at an absurdly fast rate.

Overdose mode
At times one almost wishes that the entire game could be played in Overdose mode.

Unfortunately things get worse fast. Unlike other titles such as the splendidly-made Dash the Rainbow Dash Shooter Project lacks a sense of speed and the sluggish controls make you feel like you're not flying, but swimming in a pool of mud. There is also a very small variety of enemies, and until the first boss is complete the player is stuck fighting large swarms of parasprites. Thankfully once the player reaches Cloudsdale a couple new foes are added to the lineup, although you'll still be mostly fighting parasprites throughout the entire game. To be honest it gets boring quite fast, although the addition of a couple bosses helps considerably.

The game's first boss is Trixie, who is apparently too lazy to perform a levitation spell like unicorn OCs can and is being pulled in a flying cart by Fluttershy. She starts off extremely boring, just slowly firing bullets at the player, but it's once you start to damage her that things get hectic. The game practically switches genres from a plain old shooter to a fully-fledged bullet hell game, although the execution is rather sloppy. In the final stages there is no logic as to where the bullets appear from, and the sluggish controls make dodging the high-speed magical projectiles nigh impossible. As almost everypony realizes it is far more fun to skillfully dodge bullets at high speed, not soaking up damage as possible without dying and with the grace of an overfed seal that can barely swim in it's aquarium pool without sinking.

Cloudsdale
Thankfully Cloudsdale isn't quite as dull as the stages before it.
As for the graphics...I'll just say that the Rainbow Dash Shooter Project looks quite dull. The occasional passing cloud makes things slightly more interesting, but in general the scenery which you will be flying by is completely bare. It also seems that like many people the artist has a difficult time drawing ponies, and it shows. It's nice that he made the effort of designing his own puppets in Flash, but I really wish that he had just used either the My Little Pony Flash Resource Kit or the Double Rainboom puppets instead of his own work, as it would have improved the game's look immensely. Letting the player use  OCs in the game was a nice touch, although it seems that cutie marks do not import properly  after uploading them and they come out as a garbled mess. There also seems to be a distinct lack of manes and accessories to choose from although thankfully it seems that more shall be added to the game fairly soon.


Let me get this straight: the Rainbow Dash Shooter Project could have been a great game, but poor execution ruined it. Put simply, this game was boring. The game looked dull, the controls were sluggish, and fighting endless swarms of parasprites grew tedious quickly. I had high hopes for this project, but they were shot down as soon as I began to play and were so heavily damaged that they were unable to fly again. To make this game better one would have to loosen up the controls, entirely revamp the graphics, tweak a couple bosses and BAM! We'd have a must play on our hands. Thankfully the game is still under development so hope is not lost yet, so why don't you play the game for yourself and give the creator some feedback, eh?
5/10