Reign of Bullets
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 7

With tons of weapons and even more enemies to use them on Reign of Bullets is certainly not lacking in the action department. Levels are short, but intense and looting enemies in order to customize your own ship is quite addictive. It also features a striking visual style and offers enough replay value to make it well worth the asking price.

Gameplay: Action packed shooting and addictive ship customization.

Graphics: Bright, colorful and the further you progress the more chaotic things become.

Sound: Decent music and great sound effects

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Reign of Bullets

Developer: Critical Bit | Publisher: Critical Bit | Release Date: 2015 | Genre: Action / Side Scrolling Shooter / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When the sinister Titan Corporation builds a highway right through the middle of his small garage, Troy takes the news rather well. Of course, by well we mean that he grabs an old jet, bolts on as many weapons as he can find and takes on the entire Titan Corporation armada. It is perhaps not as noble as saving the galaxy from an alien threat, but that doesn’t make it any less fun turning the corporate fleet into scrap and loot.

Reign of Bullets is a 2D side scrolling shooter that follows the “Borderlands” approach to weaponry. This means that blowing your opposition to bits rewards you with random weapons that range from missile launchers and lightning guns to energy blades, flak cannons, acid spitters, rifles and much, much more. Even more fun, you can place these weapons anywhere on your ship, so if you want a flamethrower shooting backwards to take care of threats behind you there is nothing stopping you from doing so.

Obviously, you have to earn the right to turn your jet into a harbinger of doom that is bristling with weaponry and that is where the scrap comes into play. You start out with only one weapon slot and adding additional ones requires payment in scrap. Scrap is earned based on the amount of enemies you blast, difficulty level you play at, amount of life left at the end of a level and a couple of other factors. Each time you add another weapon slot the cost increases exponentially though, but flying around in something that looks like a mini Deathstar makes it worth the effort. Scrap can also be spent on upgrading your autogun, upping your hitpoints and improving your shield time as well as boosting your luck. The latter increases your chances of finding better weapons during the levels.

As if this wasn’t enough, each weapon also comes with a number of slots that can be used to upgrade them further using enhancements you collect during levels. These enable your weapons to shoot harder, faster or further along with features such as targeting, splitting and more. Suffice to say the time spent between levels, upgrading and improving your craft, is almost as much fun as the actual shooting.

Reign of Bullets features a campaign mode consisting of four areas with ten levels each. The fifth level of each area pits you against a mini-boss while the tenth throws an enormous boss at you. If you make it through all of this you can try your hand at the survival mode, which not only features randomly generated levels, but offers no health regeneration between rounds and drops you back at the start if your craft is destroyed.

Despite how hectic things can become Reign of Bullets is actually a very accessible game and with ten difficulty levels anyone has a fair shot at completing it. The difficulty can be adjusted before each round, so if a particular level is giving you too much grief you can simply lower the challenge a bit for a better chance. The difficulty influences the health and damage of enemies as well as the amount of scrap you receive, so veterans looking for a real challenge should definitely stick to the higher settings. We also recommend not dropping the difficulty too much for the boss battles as they are quite epic and without the challenge you really miss out on the thrills of some of their more intense attacks.

While pixel art has almost become the norm for scrolling shooters Reign of Bullets instead opted for a more comic book style approach. The visuals are bright and bold while the sprites are large and detailed. The backgrounds are a little sparse, but once the action ramps up and the bullets start flying your way you’ll hardly notice. Things can become a little cluttered at times, but stuff like the damage text, camera shake, health bars and even weather effects can be disabled if you find them too distracting. Since the playing area is slightly larger than the screen when moving up or down you also need to stay on your toes to avoid enemy projectiles. Rounding out the visual options is the ability to set the resolution, toggle v-sync on or off and turning up anti-aliasing up to 8X.

Although the audio isn’t exactly catchy, the tunes fit the action and never becomes too repetitive. The sound effects for the weapons and explosions are also quite good. The game can be controlled via mouse or keyboard, but a good old fashioned controller felt the most comfortable to us. There aren’t a lot of button combinations to worry about as you can only move your craft, shoot and activate a shield. It only took us about three hours to complete the campaign mode, but thanks to the excellent upgrade system and survival mode the game offers plenty of replay value.

Reign of Bullets is a great side scrolling shooter that is made even better by the addictive loot system. We would have loved to see some more variation in the level themes as four feels a bit limited and obviously a few more boss battles would also have been great as the ones in the game are awesome. These are minor complaints though, and we have no qualms recommending Reign of Bullets to fans of the genre or anyone looking for a shooter with plenty of customization options.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP or higher
  • Processor: Pentium® Dual Core T4400 2.2 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 2.0) capabilities; generally everything made since 2004 should work.
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • OS: OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Processor: Dual Core; 2.2GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel® HD Graphics 3000
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space
  • OS: Debian 8 or higher
  • Processor: Dual Core; 1.6GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® ION™ Graphics
  • Hard Drive: 2 GB available space

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