If you have ever dreamed of being a space bug exterminator that kills giant bugs by shooting upwards, then The Bug Butcher has finally delivered your dream, in all of its hectic glory.
The Bug Butcher is the first indie title from Awfully Nice Studio and it is certainly one quirky title. The premise is you are a space exterminator (the Bug Butcher) who is called to a lab that requires your set of skills so they can decontaminate the facility after an infestation by space bugs. But take too long to destroy the alien DNA and the room will kill everything inside.
The gameplay is very simple in that you can run left and right, you can dash and shoot directly upwards. Fortunately the bugs either crawl on the ceiling, fly or move by hopping so your limited shooting direction is not a death sentence. It sounds simple and it is simple, which is not a major issue as it does make it very easy to pick up.
The fun of the game comes by the way of a wide variety of bugs that react differently and a selection of power-ups that allow you to temporarily fire different shots, fire at different speeds, be invincible etc.
While the gameplay certainly is very limited, the variance of different shots and different bugs and the way they act gives it a little diversity and certainly varies a match each time you play it. But not by that much.
The Bug Butcher has three game modes. The first is Arcade mode which is the story mode as you make your way through the facilities clearing bugs for the scientists, which consists of 30 stages (with multiple waves of enemies per stage). Second is Panic mode, which consists of more intense waves of enemies. Then thirdly there is Co-op Panic mode which is the same as Panic mode, but two player. After smashing out the story fairly quickly, I found myself engrossed in Panic mode for a lot longer. You need to pick up timer boost drops as you kill bugs and with a considerable amount more bugs I found it highly addictive which certainly makes for a lot more entertainment.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the art style and music. I thought the soundtrack was really great and certainly suited the game, in its frantic electro style. But the art style is the real winner. They are quirky hand drawn characters (while I love pixel art it is nice to have some variance) which just looks fantastic and the animations run smoothly. On top of that is the silly “fart sound” and squish effects when bugs bounce, die and produce new enemies. This is crucial to the experience as it sets the tone as a silly but fun game.
Glitch wise I did not encounter any for a while. However I found a couple of times when I had to restart a Level it would load the background but nothing else, which was easily fixed by restarting. More importantly I lost my save once too so had to start again from the start, which was a mild annoyance.
Ultimately The Bug Butcher is a quirky and fun game, which while it lacks in depth, it makes up for that in complete silliness, beautiful art, and fun gameplay and plenty of replay value. While it may not be the best game this year, for the price it is certainly well worth a look and should easily provide plenty of entertainment.