Indie

Published on May 6th, 2013 | by Scot Mackay

0

Review: Pester

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be able to move your eyes independently of each other?…. Imagine the benefits for a moment. You could check out the blonde hottie walking past you as you casually walk along the street with your missus and not get caught or you could watch the big match whilst maintaining a conversation that is inevitably bound to start as soon as the game kicks off. The only reason I ask is because I only recently discovered this evolutionary skill due to an indie game called Pester.

What starts off as a simple looking top/down space shooter, gradually progresses into something similar to Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix. Within minutes my eyes have forgotten how to blink and my thumbs are twitching like a 3yr old on a sugar rush and I have suddenly worked up a sweat. This 80’s influenced arcade shooter has truly reeled me in and spat me back out.

Let’s start from the beginning, it costs…wait for it….a paltry 80MPS, and offers you a glimpse into all that was good about an 80’s childhood. As long as that childhood included big hair, suits with shoulder pads and Gremlins. Being a small download at just 37.75 MB, it will be downloaded and ready to go in no time.

A bullet frenzy

As soon as the game boots up, the 80’s vibe pushes its way into your living room, with pumping techno beats that would make Mr Motivator proud and vibrant colours which makes the 8-bit graphics look alive and fresh, it really is a testament to Flump Studios who have managed to create such an addictive game whilst maintaining simplistic controls. The left analogue stick maneuvers your ship through space, whilst the A button allows you to shoot the incoming enemy. The B button allows you to use a bomb, which wipes out all the enemies on the screen. This is particularly useful at certain stages of play as the enemy attempts to overwhelm you with sheer numbers. The X button allows you to go Hyper, which is an effective way to turn your space craft into an all-encompassing murder machine for a limited time period. The left trigger can be used to Focus your speed, which is effectively just slowing the ship down to allow you to aim, it could be useful although I don’t recommend using it as the bullets come thick and fast.

With a selection of game types to take your fancy ranging from Arcade,  which sees you taking on the alien hordes with three lives, a  handful of bombs and an itchy trigger finger. Boss Mode which is exactly what your thinking it is and Asteroid Belt, where you have to survive an onslaught of hurtling asteroids by avoiding them using your seemingly Jedi like reflexes.

There is plenty of variety on offer especially when gameplay modifiers are thrown in.
For a chance to earn extra points and push your name up the leader board, different options are available to multiply your score…

Duo – This forces the player to control two separate ships using each of the analogue stick and believe me when I say it’s a big step up from patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.
Expert mode – If you don’t think it’s hard enough evading hailstorms of bullets and kamikaze asteroids then Expert mode is for you. Boosting the difficulty to epic proportions, this makes Pester an eyeball popping, rage inducing bullet fest.

Reverse – I don’t know why you would want to do it but reverse does exactly what it says on the tin, reversing your controls and creating the ultimate confusion between brain and fingers.

Expert mode – If you don’t think it’s hard enough evading hailstorms of bullets and kamikaze asteroids then Expert mode is for you.  Boosting the difficulty to epic proportions, this makes Pester an eyeball popping, rage inducing bullet fest.

Even without using the modifiers, Pester can offer a steep challenge to anyone who dares to have an attempt. I spent most of my time in the Arcade mode and found that there is a steep difficulty curve that could have some players throwing hissy fits in frustration. With Pester, I believe this to be a beautiful thing. You see, Pester clearly thrives on an 80’s vibe and if you were around in the 80’s you will remember that games back then, didn’t have unlimited re-spawns or giant arrows pointing the way for you. Video Games in the 80’s meant for you to work and become a master at the game in order to complete it. This is exactly what Pester does. You have three lives in order for you to get through this bullet swarming, stress inducing shooter and that’s it. Man up and take the challenge or give up and cry yourself to sleep whilst hugging your favourite teddy bear.

With plenty of power-ups to collect and upgrade you ship with improved speed or supercharge your weapons, there are little bits of help along the way. By killing the incoming enemy ships, some drop coins which can be collected and used to build up your energy bar allowing you to go into Hyper-mode. For a set amount of time, your ship becomes a massacre magnet and anything remotely close by can be wiped out under the sheer hulking strength of your attacks.

Now with any game, there is always a downside, and sadly with Pester there are  two things that caught my attention.

Firstly there is a lack of multiplayer.  It would be nice to be able to take on such a challenging game with the aid of a friend or even split screen and have score challenges. This would make things just that little bit better and improve the replay value (Pester 2 maybe?).

Also Pester really needs a story, just a short picture sequence or text letting me know what’s going on. I know I’m a little spaceship flying through various hazardous points in space, slowly killing my way up the technological food chain but what I want to know is…why? The entire point of this game could be a rogue space fighter pilot out to save his damsel from the evil clutches of a villainous monster who controls a vast army….or….it could be I am on a genocidal mission to wipe out a peace loving race of space monkeys.



Final thoughts:
Pester offers a great opportunity to drag you back to an era when games kicked everyone’s ass and created stories of the legends that could beat them.  If you have ever played Arrowflash or Xenon 2 Megablast and your looking to re-capture that feeling you had shooting your way through an army like Han Solo in a fit of Wookie rage, then this is the game for you.  I can see myself playing Pester for at least the next week or so before moving on but for 80MPS (about 70p), this is a title that deserves attention and the £1 you’ll spend will not be a waste!

We also must give a shout out to FlumpStudios who were kind enough to provide us with a review code! This is also our first Indie game review and we plan to do more!

Review: Pester Scot Mackay

Pester

Graphics
Gameplay
Presentation
Challenge
Replay Value

Summary: An old school shooter with some repetitive gameplay but enough difficulty to keep you grinding through. A good purchase for 80MPS - give it a trial at least!

3

Worth a trial


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About the Author

A 33 year old father of three from Inverness who has a deep rooted passion for the noble profession of gaming. As a child he explored dungeons, defeated Dr. Robotnik, explored space and even managed to help Mickey and Donald escape the World of Illusion. He is currently the Charlie Sheen of Titanfall and Is looking forward to The Division. He is known to obey Wheaton's Law 60% of the time. GT: RayzingKane



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