Day 215: Bullet Trap

Posted: 2011/06/12 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #215, and today’s game is “Bullet Trap”.

Remember those classic tank games of old, where you bounced shots off of walls trying to take out enemies? What if that simple concept was expanded into a multiplayer experience (both co-op and competitive) for up to four players, and the goal refocused on puzzle solving by planting the turrets in place (mostly) forcing you to find the angles from your stationary turrets where you can hit your targets? And what if the strategy and challenge were amped up with the addition of shields? That’s Bullet Trap, and it’s awesome.

First, from the developer (Zenorf):

“Movement is restricted but weaponry is not. Bounce bullets off walls and use your shield to deflect incoming projectiles, but be warned, every bullet that you fire could bounce around and kill you. This is Bullet Trap. Take on 50 levels yourself or try working co-operatively with a friend. Try not to kill yourself, or each other, unless your playing one of the 12 Vs arena’s of course.”

Firstly, you really must play this game past the 8 minute trial to fully appreciate it, as the level design gets progressively harder, and with it both the challenge and the fun factor. The tension, and the ultimate rush of success, are both significantly increased in the later levels (and there are a lot of levels).

You could call Bullet Trap a dual-stick shielder, as you control your shield with the left stick (it can only face one direction at any one time). You fire with the right stick. You have some movement, but only from one predefined node to the other.

And your shield absorbs incoming fire, right? Wrong, it simply bounces it back, making the matches crazier and crazier as they go on (the whole thing reminding me of the shield mechanic in the recent “Shield the Beat”, which itself reminded me of the Pinpoint Barrier System from the Macross Saga). Bullets can be redirected a set number of times, but there are different kinds of bullets with different properties which adds to the tactics at play. The puzzle element of the game has you trying to find the right node to attach to, the right ordinance to use, and the right angle to fire from.

This game is fun in singleplayer, but the multiplayer really lets it sing. The co-op mode is predictably fun, but expect some good-natured ribbing to go on as you are vulnerable to the crazy bounces of friendly fire. And you don’t know satisfaction until you manage to time two shots to hit an enemy simultaneously in deathmatch mode, with them unable to defend two directions simultaneously, and the game being based around one-hit kills.

You can’t go wrong with this game at 80 Microsoft Points. It’s a refreshingly original take on proven gameplay, and criminally overlooked in the indie games catalogue.

Click here to download “Bullet Trap”, and then please come back after playing to rate the game.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? “Share This” and invite them to.

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