Day 230: Nasty

Posted: 2011/06/27 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 #230, and today’s game is “Nasty”.

Kris Steele of FunInfused Games has released several games on the indie games channel including Day 1’s game (“Hypership Out of Control”), Day 114’s game “Abduction Action!”, and two I have yet to review. I make amends on one of those today with the review for “Nasty”, a game that Kris described as a “mashup of Contra and Bubble Bobble,” with “lots of shooting, lots of enemies, lots of levels,” in the first of a three part interview he granted Mass Deduction. He wasn’t wrong, the description was apt and the game well worth the 80 Microsoft Point asking price.

First, from the developer (Kris Steele):

“The world is under siege by evil forces. It is up to you alone or teamed with a partner to save humanity in this fast-pasted, action/platform shooting extravaganza. Do you have what it takes to complete 100 levels of non-stop excitement and prove that good can triumph over evil? And when you’re done saving the world, relax with up to 4 players in all-out battle mode for galactic bragging rights.”

I preferred Bubble Bobble on the Commodore 64 because the controls felt tighter than in any other version I played. Nasty is in this vein, with you jumping and shooting precisely. The level design of the game is clearly Bubble Bobble inspired, but the characters and the shooting are clearly straight out of Contra (a game, that I must confess, I have only played the arcade version of, not the reportedly superior NES game).

Bubble Bobble had you trapping enemies in bubbles, then popping the bubbles to destroy them. The level design was vaguely platform-game inspired, and falling through the bottom of the level would warp you around to the top rather than killing you. Nasty starts with that, then upgrades it with the ability to shoot in almost any direction (rather than just straight ahead) by fixing your character and moving your gun instead of your soldier, adds levels with destructible elements (such as a floor you can shoot out, to allow you to shoot up through the platforms at enemies you’ll otherwise be facing later), and the ability for your shots to travel much further across the screen than the bubbles ever did.

Weapon upgrades and other power-ups also make an appearance here, a dozen by my count. They will help you shoot faster, fire a scatter shot, jump higher, and much more. Controlling time is even possible with the right power-up, so there’s a lot of variety there. The variety extends also to the enemy types, which have a lot of personality to them and a wide variety of opponents to contend with.

As with Bubble Bobble, two player co-op makes an appearance here, and predictably enhances the game’s fun factor. Whether solo or co-op, though, your goal is to clear the enemies to unlock an exit, then make your way to the exit, all within a strict time limit. Miss the time limit and a huge boss character appears who will attempt to what its underlings could not.

Through 100 levels (with checkpoints every tenth level) you’ll contend with a tremendous variety of weapons and opponents, and just when you think you’ve run out you might discover the up to four-player competitive mode which has Score Attack, Last Man Standing, and Deathmatch modes just to really ramp up the value you get for your 80 MSP. Now updated to v1.5 (it’s nice to see strong after sale support from Kris), this game was worth its 400 points asking price at launch and is now an absolute must buy at its current price of 80 MSP.

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



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