Day 633: Compromised

Posted: 2012/08/03 in Indie Games

Though he’s been quiet lately, one of the top commenters since Mass Deduction went up has been “Alan C with Tea”. He’s read almost every review I’ve ever written, and commented on his fair share along the way. Well, I’m returning the favour today by reading his blog and coming up with a game he recommended, and it’s a doozy: “Compromised”, a science fiction apocalypse-in-progress masterpiece for 240 Microsoft Points.

As Alan points out in his (more verbose than mine) review, that Compromised is a dual-stick shooter in control system only. It’s not a cramped arena shooter with neon-coloured targets, or even zombies, it provides a sense of exploration in a space opera setting.

One of my favourite movies growing up was The Road Warrior (being in North America, it wasn’t called “Mad Max 2” as the original Mad Max had sadly received almost no distribution. Pair that up with my love of space opera (Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and so many others), and the setting for this game has me written all over it.

I love, love, love the H.R. Giger-inspired presentation of the game. It has that creepy, pseudo-organic look to it that just makes my skin crawl (or perhaps that was a flashback to the movie “Alien”). Love or hate the presentation, it’s definitely not dripping “Geometry Wars”-neon at least. The story is solid, if uninspired, space opera fare. It doesn’t answer every question you might have, so hopefully a sequel will address things.

Speaking of things that are solid, the controls are rock solid, I had no complaints in that department whatsoever. Well, other than the fact that lasers fire the direction of your right stick, and missiles fire the direction of the left stick… what’s up with that?

The levels drip variety, containing everything from races down cramped tunnels, to wide-open battles against ridiculously huge bosses. The game throws ridiculously huge bosses at you, and sheer firepower isn’t enough to bring them down, careful observation and memorisation of enemy behaviour and weak points is the order of the day. If you hate that in shoot-’em-ups nothing here will make you love it, but if you have shmups then you’re not really part of the game’s target audience.

I like that upgrades carry over from one life to another, which helps you re-attack areas that killed you with every advantage you can bring to the table. And there are several upgrades to be had, many with nice visual effects. In the final analysis, this game is far too good to pass up. Everyone with an interest in shmups should at least play the free trial, and I’d hope/expect most of you to make a purchase.

Here’s what the developer (Super Soul) has to say about the game:

“You are Aero, a defender struggling to protect your world from invading forces. Stranded in the wastelands of Se-Da you must shoot through waves of enemies and battle massive bosses. Collect energy and upgrades to overcome the staggering odds and find a way home. Experience the stunning graphics, responsive controls, and the heart-pounding soundtrack. Learn more at”

  1. Compromised really is a top drawer shooter. It’s one of the rare games that makes me sit there while a smile on my face, thinking “this is what made me play games in the first place”. Way back in the days of yore, before playing games became a routine thing that I do every day, it was this sort of passionately developed game that drew me in.

    As to the missile question, it makes perfect sense to me and I find it amusing that several other reviews dislike it. They’re fixed missile batteries; they face the same direction as your ship. It seems logical in an engineering sense, and in my opinion it works in the game’s favour as it means that your more powerful weapons require more skill and forethought to use than just pushing the right stick towards an enemy.

    Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed it. A bargain at 240 points, I’d say.

    • Oh, and some of the bosses are magnificent. It’s a long time since I last played a 2D games with serious, heavy duty boss battles.

    • Randy Hukle says:

      Finally someone gets the point of the missiles being fixed to the direction of you ship, because they take skill in trade off for the extra firepower! (Randy H.- user experience engineer/SuperSoul volunteer)

      • I feel vindicated in arguing that point! It seems odd to me that several people have criticised the fixed missile direction on the basis that tying it to the stick’s direction would be easier. Well yes, that would be easier. It would also be easier if there were no enemies and the game consisted of one straight corridor, but easier doesn’t mean better. Too hard or unwieldy is bad, but using the missiles isn’t hard, it just takes a bit more effort. I applaud SuperSoul for giving the weapon design this much thought, and for refusing to be shackled to the twin-stick system.

      • It makes perfect sense now that you’ve put it that way. And I agree that it’s great that so much thought was put into it.

  2. David Loves Sandy says:

    Between you and Alan C you both keep hyping this games (as well as some others) and as I stated on his blog I didn’t really get into it. However being open minded as I am I decided to give it one more try (this being the 3rd time I d/l the demo) and see what I thought after this attempt. To my surprise I have changed my feelings a little. As you know I’m a big fan of twin stick shooters and you would think I would be all over this but this is the kind of game it takes some looking at a few times for you to get what is going on and stick with it. So to your readers I must say if you don’t get it at first give this one a few more tries. I’m not like 5stars out of 5 on it yet but I have moved it up my list of potential indie games I may buy. I was able to find some things to ‘hang my hat on’ about this game and I have a feeling this one may be in my library soon.

  3. Always great to read stuff about this super awesome game. Super Soul did a marvelous job.

    -Michael Hartman, Frogdice,

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m not a huge fan of stick shooters, normally, but I had great fun with this one! The controls are smooth and intuitive, and I love the graphics. Good job, Super Soul, and excellent article.

  5. Pang H. says:

    Oops. That was me!

    I also wanted to add that the UI is intuitive and super easy to learn. That’s always a sure sign of a good game.

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