Lock, stock, and where’s the barrel?
Anyone that played games around the time analog stick-based controls were introduced probably remembers when a little game called Turok: Dinosaur Hunter came out. Obviously suited for two sticks, Turok was released on the Nintendo 64, a single analog stick video game system. Everyday Shooter makes the same mistake: awkward controls. It is the main problem and the sin of its existence. It simply does not belong on the PSP.
[image1]Originally released on the Playstation 3, this independently developed game made by Jonathan Mak took inspiration from Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s works such as Rez and Lumines to create a twin stick hallucinating-inducing-colorful mind trip, with an incredibly crazy audio-visual presentation. Even though it uses a different aesthetic, it doesn’t stray far from the shmup formula of destroying all enemies on screen without any mercy.
Points are gained for each ship destroyed, with an added chance of a bonus in case a combo can be reached. These can be performed by shooting certain types of objects that provide explosions that engulf nearby ships – resulting in a combo. By hitting ships, sound is created, but similar to Rez, it’s your shooting that creates the backbone of the music or, in most cases, a cacophony of blips and bloops that combines itself with an almost imperceptible tonal track background.
[image2]How points are used, however, is done differently. They play a big role in Normal Mode, acting as currency in a sort of shop, where bonus features can be unlocked. These include a larger stock of extra lives per level, some variations of play, and new individual levels for single play.
Speaking of levels, the eight included in this game are varied both in terms of visuals and challenge. The graphical style used combines a sort of cel-shading finish with simple geometrical shapes, which allows the game to fill the screen with many enemy units with very little slowdown. The problem with this, however, is the size of the PSP’s screen. With such small enemies, it is sometimes hard to keep track of the mayhem and to keep of control of your tiny triangle… uh… ship.
[image3]Maintaining control is where the aforementioned "Turok syndrome" comes into effect. Everyday Shooter is a twin-stick shooter crammed into a single stick PSP, with the one stick controlling the ship and the face buttons delegated to aiming and shooting. If the enemy patterns followed the primary cardinal planes – up, down, left or right – this wouldn’t be much of a problem, but Everyday Shooter is as demanding as any other shoot ’em up, requiring combinations of awkwardly elevated button presses in order to make diagonal shots. Even then, it’s hard to keep your ship intact since there’s only so much maneuverability that a combined eight-way control radius can provide.
With all these problems in mind, it’s hard to recommend Everyday Shooter as it is presented on the PSP. It isn’t exactly a bad game per se, but it just doesn’t belong on a game system that only has one analog stick. If you absolutely have to play it, stick with the Playstation 3 version.