Galactic Bulwark Strike Review
Arkanoid was made famous for its accessible gameplay, but what would it be like if players were given more control? Josep G. Camarasa answers that question with his new title Galactic Bulwark Strike. Combining ball bouncing with shoot-em-up and even roguelike mechanics, these wildly different styles work far better together than you’d expect them to.
Galactic Bulwark Strike Review
At first glance, Galactic Bulwark Strike is a spitting image of Arkanoid. Players will still control a paddle-like device at the bottom, moving to the left and right to prevent a ball from falling into nothingness. A number of enemies and bulwark bosses stand in your way, and can all be taken down with the ever-bouncing ball. There might not be any multi-colored bricks to take down, but there is certainly no shortage of things to destroy. Players can also take advantage of multipliers by taking down multiple enemies before the ball hits the paddle once more.
However, a number of elements have also been taken from shoot-em-ups. At the start of every playthrough, players can choose from one of three weapons to add to their arsenal. Variety is certainly the spice of life here – kinetic guns, lazer beams, and electrified balls are just some of the weaponry people can take advantage. Some are clearly better than others – the homing missiles can be seen as a glorified easy mode – but there is enough variety here to make each playthrough fresh.
Those that complete each level will be able to net themselves an Artifact. These talismen can help give players an edge, increasing the size of your paddle, spawning additional balls every 15 seconds, and providing a reprieve when all lives are lost. Those looking for a challenge are covered too with Galactic Bulwark Strike’s Cursed Artifacts. The perks provided are certainly tempting, but they often come at a steep price that adds to the difficulty. Whether a seven minute lifespan for a strength boost is worth it comes down to how confident the player is.
For better or worse, players can upgrade both their offensive and defensive options between playthroughs by spending points. All weaponry can be upgraded two levels, and though these tweaks make the game considerably easier, they can also be seen as a handicap. However, those who would rather test their might with the stock options can safely ignore this content.
The average playthrough of Galactic Bulwark Strike is a bit on the short side, clocking in at a little more than 10 minutes. Nine levels and three bosses round things out, though there are a number of achievements players can unlock for completing the game within certain parameters. There are also Daily Challenges that players can partake in, along with leaderboards.
Combining the worlds of shmups, roguelikes, and brick breakers sounds like a recipe for disaster, but Galactic Bulwark Strike deftly handles all three with ease. Though it is a little on the short side, players will appreciate the variety each playthrough offers.
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