Developer: Charlie’s Games
System Requirements: Mac OS X v10.4 or later, 2GHz Processor, 128MB Dedicated Graphics Card, 512MB RAM, 100MB Disk Space
Review Computer: 2.53GHz Macbook Pro, 4GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM
Network Feature: No
Processor Compatibility: Universal
Price: Any donation greater than $1
ESRB Rating: N/A
Availability: Out now
Demo: 15 levels
Bullet Candy Perfect is a 2D based shooter game with 3D graphics involved in the gameplay. It can be played on either a Windows or Mac machine, and the developer is only asking that you donate anything greater than $1 to help support it. This is pretty generous considering the amount of time I’m sure was put into it. In my experiences with Bullet Candy Perfect, it was extremely stable and reliable while still being easy to navigate and use. However, while the gameplay certainly had a lot of facets to it, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.
When first launched, the game takes about 10 seconds to load, which isn’t bad. It comes in a folder with various types of media that the game uses, so the actual .app file can’t be moved out of that folder, otherwise it crashes upon loading. From there, the user is greeted with a screen much like below. This screen allows the user to start a new game, check the scores of previous games (which are based on the name you enter once you get a game over), or change settings. The game does support joysticks (which I wasn’t able to test), but the default controls use the arrows or WASD on the keyboard to move and the mouse or trackpad to aim and fire.
When you start a game, you have three options from which to choose: normal, hard, or insane. Before you begin, though, I would recommend taking part in the tutorial. It does a great job of explaining the gameplay as well as how various power ups and weapon upgrades affect what you can do to the enemy and yourself. It has some helpful tips, too, and only takes about five minutes to complete.
The gameplay begins with the user as a ship in the middle of the screen (see the blue ship in the image below). You move the ship with the keyboard and aim/shoot with the mouse. The game consists of different “waves” of enemies which are basically just another name for levels as each wave brings on more enemies with more difficult weapons. In order to remain alive, the user must dodge the enemies’ weapons while at the same time killing them and gaining points. It is based off amount of lives, and these can be gained through points as well as items that can be collected during the play.
As explained in the tutorial, various power ups come on the screen through the gameplay. They are collected by simply maneuvering your ship over them. Some of them give your ship the ability to shoot three bullets at once, while others simply give you another life or invincibility for a set amount of time. There are also some collectable items that will give you hundreds of points, and if all are collected in a level, it will kill all the enemies present on the screen.
As far as enemies go, they come in all shapes and sizes. As expected, the earlier waves of enemies are more primitive and easier to battle. However, as the game progresses, they become more deadly and intelligent. Yet, this lead to one of my major gripes about the game. As I mentioned earlier, more enemies come with each wave. Therefore, once I got to some of the higher waves, there was quite a bit going on in the game. Between me trying to shoot the enemies and them trying to shoot me, there were bullets and explosions everywhere. At times, this made it very difficult to see what was going on. To see what I mean, look at the image below.
Lastly, the game records your game results based on the name you enter at the end. It then takes your gameplay data—such as number of points scored—and makes an interesting little graph to see your performance in the game over time. As you can see in the screenshot below, you can also collect achievements throughout the play of the game. Furthermore, you are able to share your scores online with users from around the world.
Another thing I didn’t like about the game is how it is managed as an application in OS X. When launched, the application can only be played fullscreen, covering up all the other windows. While I’m sure the developer did this on purpose to make the graphics work correctly, it would be nice to be able to play it a little less than fullscreen. This would allow the user to perhaps check an email between levels or something instead of having to exit the entire game. Furthermore, I found the game a little hard to play if you are using a laptop with a trackpad. Over time you can grow used to the controls this way, but it surely isn’t an easy as using a gamepad would be.
That said, there were some parts of the interface/gameplay that I did like. For instance, the soundtrack that goes along with the gameplay is rather well put together. Furthermore, although I mentioned all the graphics and explosions can be overwhelming earlier, they fit the futuristic style and appearance of the game very well. Also, I didn’t run into any bugs or errors during my use of the game.