Developer(s) – Schell Games
Released on Steam following an immensely success Greenlight campaign, Enemy Mind is a 2D side scrolling shoot ‘em up developed in the same vein as games such as R-Type, Gradius and Abadox. It received critical acclaim upon release from both reviewers and gamers alike, finding much favour throughout the Steam community, and being hailed as a classic in the genre for its unique gameplay, and beautiful visuals. To me, it’s acclaim is well earned, as I’ve played a lot of these kinds of games, but few have managed to impress me as this title has.
Graphics – 7/10
Enemy Mind makes use of 8-BIT graphics reminiscent of the NES days, along with conceptual design, which is interestingly reminiscent of the Alien saga, along with a intricately composed soundtrack put together by renowned Internet composer Rainbow Kitten. More than the 8-BIT art style, I was most impressed with the great amount of effort the developers evidently incorporated into the title, and the narrative going on in between each level corroborates on this. It’s the kind of game that could eventually have an extremely extensive mythology behind it if the developers chose to build on what they already have with a possible sequel.
Gameplay – 8/10
The game is a 2D side scrolling shooter with a difference. In it, players can switch between other ships on the battlefield in order to either replenish ammo depleted from previous ships, or to clear the field more efficiently. There are over 20 ships to take control of, and 8 levels in all constituting to 70 waves of enemies. In addition, alternate game modes can also be unlocked, such as a Flappy Bird style game mode, which give the game virtually unlimited playability. To have this much variety in a game like this is extraordinary, yet most welcome. It provides an accessible amount of challenge throughout all game modes, as well as a multiplayer mode, which adds even more.
Controls – 10/10
The game’s control scheme presents no problems unless playing it on a keyboard, which the developers strongly object to from the main menu with a disclaimer. Of course, with the added features in this game that have never been seen in any other game like it beforehand, additional control options of course had to be devised to make it work, and the developers did a seamless job of doing so. They added their own set of features without presenting any unnecessary complications to players, and for that I have to commend them. It can be a risky process to innovate in gaming, but Schell have managed to do an exceptional job of this in Enemy Mind.
Originality – 7/10
After first impressions suggested to me that a series and/or mythology could evolve from this game, I began to see just how unique it is the more I progressed into it. It has it’s own unique visual style, mode of gameplay, and an unprecedented amount of variety. Certainly, if Konami don’t release another entry in the Gradius series, which seems unlikely given their current financial situation, then a game like this could easily eclipse the popularity of it if worked on further; which indeed, I hope happens.
To sum up, Enemy Mind is the first in what I sincerely hope is developed into an entire series of games. It’s unique, enjoyable to play, excellent-looking, has a stellar soundtrack and is guaranteed to keep players busy for an extraordinarily long time.