This is Switch 'N' Shoot. It's a brand new retro-inspired shoot-em-up from developer Matt Glanville. It may look like a fairly typical throwback game, but this shooter is packing a really cool gimmick. I know you have some questions about this Steam Early Access release, so let's crib this.
I miss words separated by an 'N'!
Well, that's an interesting confession. You don't see that naming convention much these days, but it was all the rage during the 1980s and 90s. Look no further than Ghosts 'N Goblins, Bump 'N Jump, Slam 'N Jam, Crash 'N Burn and even Lock 'N Chase. But you don't see much of that anymore, which gives Switch 'N' Shoot a fun retro vibe even before you press start.
This is a devilishly addictive variation on old school shoot-em-ups like Galaga and Space Invaders. The gimmick here is that you can play the game one-handed, since the only thing you need to do is shoot. Actually, it's a little more complicated than that. As a rule, your ship will always be moving in one direction or another. Every time you shoot a bullet, your ship will switch directions. So you'll not only need to plan your shots carefully, but also factor in that your ship will constantly change directions.
That sounds kind of tough!
It's a little confusing at first, but it didn't take long for it to become second nature. Shooting at enemies is made easier when you pick up the falling upgrades, allowing for both wider and more spread out shots. The goal is to level your ship up all the way and then snag another power-up to move on to the next stage. But don't get too cocky, because you lose all your power-ups every time you enter a new stage. And if you manage to miss a power-up drop, your ship will downgrade. So it's vital that you pick up every power-up and keep advancing through the stages.
Is that all there is?
Yes, at least for now. You aren't going to buy this looking for cutting edge graphics or multi-part boss battles, this is a very simple score challenge where you're constantly trying to top your last run. About the most you can do is customize the color scheme, adjusting every single aspect of the visuals. This allows you to create some truly horrendous eyesores, but at least the option is there. The rest of your time will be spent trying to keep the ship in control.
Switch 'N' Shoot is a slight game that is a lot of fun in short doses. I doubt anybody will spend hours glued to the computer screen, but I certainly had fun jumping in and playing for a few minutes at a time. I love the concept and hope that a little more variety is added to the finished product, both when it comes to background graphics and enemy units. The Steam Early Access build is currently $1.99, which is a fantastic price for what you get. You may not get dozens of hours out of it, but Switch 'N' Shoot is certainly worth $2.