Enemy Mind
Gameplay 8
Graphics 8
Sound 8

Enemy Mind makes good use of the ship changing feature to offer an experience that is not only challenging, but extremely addictive. There is a lot more strategy involved than your typical side scrolling shooter and the local co-op mode makes it even more fun. Rounding off the package is some nice retro style visuals and a brilliant soundtrack. Depending on your skill with shooters, this game will keep you busy for a while and packs some nice bonuses to boost the replay value.

Gameplay: The ability to take control of any enemy ship complements the old school gameplay nicely.

Graphics: The visuals are a nice homage to the 8bit era.

Sound: Great sound effects and an awesome soundtrack by Rainbow Kitten

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Enemy Mind

Developer: Schell Games | Publisher: Schell | Release Date: 2014 | Genre: Action / Shooter / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

In enemy mind you are not a lone hero taking down an armada of hostile enemies by yourself in order to save the universe. Instead, you control a being of pure psychic energy that is able to take control of anything in close proximity for survival. As the game is a side scrolling shooter this adds a rather interesting twist to the genre and ensure that retro fans and newcomers alike will find the game enjoyable.

Enemy Mind doesn’t bore you with a lot of story details, but instead delivers little tidbits between enemy waves. As there are more than 70 waves spread across 8 levels, it all builds up to quite an interesting conclusion which I am not going to spoil here. As I already mentioned, the game is a side scrolling shooter with a retro feel thanks to the 8-bit inspired visuals and chiptune soundtrack, but the ability to hijack any ship you see on the screen makes for a different kind of challenge.

In traditional side scrolling shooters you face progressively tougher enemies while simultaneously upgrading your own ship using power-ups. However, in Enemy Mind this approach would not have worked so the developers came up with some interesting alternatives. There are more than twenty different ships in the game and each of them have their own pros and cons so it is not just a matter of taking over the most powerful one and laying waste to everything. Instead you have to assess each wave and determine which ship is going to give you the biggest advantage in regards to bullet spread, hull strength and speed. Some ships are just better suited to certain situations and figuring out where to use which one is a lot of fun. This also means that you can’t just indiscriminately shoot everything in sight as you might inadvertently destroy a ship that would have been more useful to you to take over. Thanks to limited ammunition you won’t be able to continue spamming the fire button either like in traditional shooters, so conserving your ammo and making each shot count is very important.

The ability to take control of enemy ships is surprisingly intuitive and once you get the hang of this feature you will be jumping from one enemy to the next while simultaneously weaving through bullets and retaliating. A warning sounds if your ship is low on health, which gives you the chance to jump to safety. If your ship is destroyed you lose a life and it is back to the start of the wave to try again. Eight levels might not sound like much, but the game kept me busy for more than four hours and that is barely counting the time spent on the various bonuses such as a boss rush mode and the original prototype that you can unlock. The version that I played didn’t have any Steam achievements, but it is something that the developers are planning to implement in the future (note: achievements along with a host of other features have since been added to the game).

While not being able to upgrade your ship or collect power-ups feels strange at first, especially if you are used to the side scrolling shooters of the eighties, the ability to take over other ships more than make up for this. Despite the modern twist on the genre the game still has that classic R-Type/Hellfire feel that retro junkies will love. While the game is playable with a keyboard the whole experience is just so much better with a decent controller. In fact, you might want to invest in a few controllers as Enemy Mind supports co-op for up to four local players. There is no friendly fire, but it is still a chaotic experience and will leave you wrestling with friends for the control of ships.

The visuals are nice, but the backgrounds are kept rather basic in order to make the enemies and bullets more visible. I really liked the ship designs, though, which range from traditional craft all to way to more exotic organic style stuff. The highlight of traditional shooters is usually the boss encounters, but once again this game couldn’t go the usual route. Instead of bosses being huge enemies that rain down destruction on you, they are made up of enemy formations or multiple parts that you can take over to retaliate. It works well, but I did miss going toe to toe with a traditional shooter style boss. The audio is excellent with some very solid sound effects that wouldn’t sound out of place coming from an arcade cabinet and a nice chiptune-inspired soundtrack by Rainbow Kitten that fits the action perfectly.

I have played plenty of side scrolling shooters over the years and while my taste veers more towards the bullet hell genre these days I still had a lot of fun with Enemy Mind. Instead of just being a traditional shooter with a new feature tacked on the whole design of the game is based around the enemy controlling ability. This ensures that it is more than just a gimmick that you can almost ignore, but instead turns it into something that you have to master in order to survive. Casual players will find the game challenging, but not impossible, while hardcore players can use the multipliers which increase from making kills without getting hit and scoring kills in the same ship to rack up huge scores and climb the leaderboards. Unfortunately, there is no way to select the difficulty of the game, but by default it is challenging without being unfair.

Overall I was very impressed by what Schell Games were able to achieve with a genre that is not really known for innovation. The game is addictive enough that you will want to complete it a few times in order to piece together the whole story and of course the co-op mode will also eat up a lot of your spare time if you have friends nearby. While shooter fans will obviously enjoy the game the most I urge anyone that has an interest in polished, unique titles to try it out as it is definitely worth the effort.

*Review originally published June 2014.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.66Ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: 256 MB Graphics Memory and Directx 9.0c Compatible gpu
  • Hard Drive: 200 MB available space
  • Sound Card: Onboard sound card
  • OS: Windows 7
  • Additional Notes: USB wired Xbox 360 controller recommended

Related posts

Journal

Journal

Journal is an enjoyable experience as long as you don't expect too much from it. There are no puzzles or interaction, but the storyline was engrossing enough to keep me hooked to the end. While Journal is quite a short experience it does cover a lot of topics not usually found in a game. It is hard to recommend this title to players looking for a traditional game, but personally I found it to be thought provoking. Gameplay: Very little interaction beyond talking to people. Graphics: The hand painted visuals fit the style and the story of the game. Sound: The soundtrack is pretty moving and the voice acting decent.

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure

Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure

It might be just as short as the lifespan of a real mayfly, but Ephemerid definitely lives up to its claims of being a musical adventure. The handcrafted visuals are charming and the soundtrack is something that you will want to listen to again and again. Don’t let its length and the fact that it was originally an iOS title deter you from experiencing this captivating title. Gameplay: Not very challenging, but it will put a smile on your face and is very relaxing. Graphics: Beautiful handcrafted visuals and plenty of unique scenes. Sound: The soundtrack is filled with some exceptionally good tunes.

A Butterfly in the District of Dreams

A Butterfly in the District of Dreams

A Butterfly In The District of Dreams doesn’t quite live up to its mysterious premise, but as far as visual novels goes it still has a lot to offer. The pace of the story is very slow and relaxing, which is great for players in search of a calming experience. It is refreshing to play a title that doesn’t rely on fan service as a crutch, but due to the slow pace it is also a title that some players will find a little boring. With three main heroines, each with multiple routes and different endings, this visual novel is definitely not lacking in content. Gameplay: The pace is fairly slow, but the slice of life drama still manages to be captivating once you get hooked. Graphics: Beautiful character sprites, but the backgrounds are fairly limited. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting and a great soundtrack.

The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom

The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom

Although The Secret Order 5: The Buried Kingdom ditches the time traveling elements of the previous titles, it still offers some solid puzzles, mini games and hidden object scenes. This time the adventures of Sarah Pennington take her to a legendary buried kingdom on a quest to save her friend from the sinister Dragon Clan. The setting for The Buried Kingdom is more fantasy themed than the fourth installment, but features the same imagination and attention to detail that has made this series such a hit with fans. The Buried Kingdom doesn’t really advance the overall plot of the series much, but since it is such a self-contained adventure, it is also more accessible to newcomers who are unfamiliar with previous installments. Gameplay: Plenty of puzzles, mini games and hidden object scenes for players to sink their teeth into. Graphics: Lots of detailed hand-drawn locations that feature plenty of imaginative touches. Sound: The music is good and the voice acting is decent too.

Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

Clockwork Tales: Of Glass and Ink

Clockwork Tales lacks a compelling plot, but makes up for it with a unique steam-punk setting and some lovely hand-drawn visuals. It also veers a little too close to being short and easy for our taste, but it is certainly entertaining while it lasts. Anyone looking for a change of pace from all the supernatural themed hidden object games will definitely enjoy this game. Clockwork Tales is also very newcomers friendly, so if you are unfamiliar with the genre, it is a great place to start. Gameplay: A nice gentle introduction to the genre with relatively easy puzzles and mini-games. Graphics: The same high quality hand-drawn artwork that we have come to expect from Artifex Mundi. Sound: The voice acting is decent enough and the music is rather good.

Shardlight

Shardlight

Guide Amy Wellard through a post-apocalyptic world where the poor try to eke out an existence under the oppressive rule of the aristocracy. Shardlight features an interesting setting, memorable characters and some great pixel art visuals. The fact that the puzzles are logical and the audio is superb also makes it easy to recommend to point & click adventure fans. Overall, this is yet another fine release from Wadjet Eye Games and is sure to please fans. Gameplay: Not too challenging, but enjoyable throughout. Graphics: Nice pixel art visuals depicting a variety of locations. Sound: Great soundtrack and stellar voice acting.

Leave a comment

10 − 6 =