Game Type DX
Here is a game that I was asked to review by the developer themselves. Looking at the gameplay trailer, the screenshots, and reading the synopsis I was morbidly curious. Game Type DX, as it was described to me, is a game that takes place in an "Xbox 360-style" dashboard. Minus the cool avatars, but when they first began making everything into squares. As someone with a Windows Phone in the past (yikes), I can resonate with how annoying the latest interface was. It seems I wasn't the only one. Solidarity in bad GUIs!
Upon doing research, the game was released originally during the Xbox Live Indie Games era, which was a starting point for many indie developers. I spoke more about it during my Overdriven Evolution review as it was another game that began as an XLIG project. Back then, it wasn't the easiest to navigate through the menus and one dev's frustration with the system gave birth to Game Type. Getting to where you needed to go to play your games was met with convoluted tiles littered with ads.
If you wanted to play a game, you had to go past the TV, Radio, and Movie section because obviously if you want to play a game on a gaming console, everything else takes priority. The "in-game dashboard" perfectly emulates the woes of the late-gen Xbox 360 dashboard but there are also some humorous, if not dated, jokes to be found. Exploring enough of the dashboard also nets you some easy achievements/trophies if you're one of those hunters.
I think the fact I was given a PS4 code was also part of the tongue-in-cheek meta of Game Type DX, like, "hey look you're going through a 'time capsule' of the rival console!" I thought it was charming, but aesthetics aside it's time to quickly discuss the meat that is Game Type DX. As the title would suggest, the "DX" refers to added content from the original. From what I found out on the website, there's a bonus mode and more power-ups added. The bonus mode, "Surprise!" is the game's 'roguelike' mode, offering randomly generated variations of the game's level.
I'm careful with my wording because it's not "randomly generated levels," but different modifiers to the one reoccurring level within Game Type DX. The "story," centers around Hoodie Girl who is tasked to fight the advertisements for the MediaBall (that happens to be Spherical). The game ends when you're defeated but as you play you'll enter loops. At certain loops, you'll earn Time Pulse, a huge part of Game Type DX's gameplay.
Hoodie Girl has two attacks, Slap Shot and Kick Beam. The "Slap Shot" is a multi-directional attack that shoots from all angles as the attack gets upgraded. Your main attack is the "Kick Beam," in which Hoodie Girl will obnoxiously yell "PARKOUR!" and shoot a beam that slows down bullets. Activating a Time Pulse will stop time, allowing Hoodie Girl to move freely. The biggest benefit is using Kick Beam will turn all bullets into money, the game's collectible as shown in many shmups that determine your score.
Collecting money not only adds to your multiplier and score, it also charges your Kick Beam which can only be replenished with money. Get it? You're fighting advertisers for money used to power up your strongest attack. EA was taking notes with the microtransactions from this game huh?
The caveat is that there's too much money and Hoodie Girl's speed is slowed considerably as she's attacking. When she's not attacking, she attracts all of the money on the screen. It's a sort of a dance as you have to stop shooting long enough to activate the money vacuum, then resume firing while earning more money. If you don't collect enough money your multiplier slowly goes down. After a while, the player will get the rhythm, fighting bosses in the form of the adverts that were shown on the dashboard.
Game Type DX is a great "meta" game that takes the various nuances of a developer's frustration and turns it into a masterpiece played in bursts. It's not the most difficult shmup I played but it's one with a high skill ceiling. With the game releasing on multiple consoles, various players from all platforms will get to experience one of the quirkiest yet most entertaining shmups I played this year.
Game Type DX comes out on November 17th for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.