Grand Brix Shooter : This new ship fits like a glove.

Shoot 'em up games, also know as shmup's, have been a part of the video game action genre since Spacewar! one of the first video gam...

Shoot 'em up games, also know as shmup's, have been a part of the video game action genre since Spacewar! one of the first video games made. Though perhaps no longer the most popular genre, it has not been void of some excellent content over the years. Intragames brings its first in-house developed game Grand Brix Shooter to the mix.It might be another entry into the genre but it also brings a new twist.
The opening of Gran Brix starts with a young boy who is awoken by a mysterious robot who claims the boy is a prince of some sort and transports him from what looks like the boys bedroom to outer space in the middle of a space battle. So as Prince Brix you pilot your tiny ship known as the Brix core. This core has some firepower, but its real potential is in the ability to merge with other spacecrafts. Once you combine your core with an available new shell, you can then collect crystals that are released by destroyed enemy ships to level up your firepower and special attacks. 

Each ship has 3 available levels, they are fairly easy to achieve but they can only take about three hits before they are destroyed, and with it your Brix core. The only way to save yourself is to switch into a new shell before that happens, if one is available of course. And here-in lies the tactical approach of Grand Brix Shooter. Do you keep hanging on to your fully leveled up ship or move on to a fresh new coat, one with full health ready to take on the next wave of enemies, but with weaker weaponry. At least until you level up again.

Ships never recover health, the only option is to switch before you parish or to get into a groove and take out all the enemies and end boss of the level. But even when you move on to the next part, your health stays where it was, so eventually you will have to switch. The ships you can combine are random and change each time you replay a level, which means your tactics must change each time.

The graphics have a blocky look, almost like voxel graphics at times and definitely stand out from the crowd with their 3d look.The enemies sport some crazy designs, coming at you wave after wave while the boss battles are often sweat inducing, hand cramping, multi-layered challenges that will take luck, skill and determination to complete.

Grand Brix Shooter has a high score list to compare and compete with your friends and online leaderboards to challenge yourself against the world. When you die you can restart the level you are on as well as continue where you left off you log out of the game completely and return later. Though there is not a lot of hidden content, the game sports a catalog to record encountered ships and throws some achievements in the mix to offer you just enough to keep coming back to the game for some time.

With all the great stuff Grand Brix Shooter brings, there are some issues as well. For starters the cut scenes and tutorial suffer a bit from translation issues though nothing that is going to break your enjoyment of the game. Level and boss names feel uninspired, especially in contrast to their design. The games vibration feedback is extremely strong, even at level 1 the noise coming from the Switch controllers and even the pro controller are noticeable by everyone in the room and could stand to be a bit softer. In the end I turned it to zero and relied on visual feedback during gameplay.

As a fan (but not an expert) of the genre it is always nice to see new additions to the world of SHMUP's and Grand Brix Shooter is a welcome addition that feels accessible for novices as well as seasoned veterans. The feel of total domination that a fully leveled up ship brings can quickly turn to anguish as you have to make the decision to let it all go before you perish all together and you get stuck in a weaker model while facing a dominating foe. For a small price of $9.99 you get good value for a small price. 

Game information:
Title: Grand Brix Shooter

Publisher: Intragames
Release date: August 29, 2019 
Platforms: PC(Steam), Nintendo Switch
Version Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
ESRB: E for Everyone


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