Reviewed by Brett
Publisher – Pill Bug
Developer – Pill Bug
Category – Action, Arcade
Release Date – Aug 02, 2018
Lost In Space
You are alone.
Floating in space.
Then, they come. They always come.
What does it mean.
How do I get free.
You are Lieutenant Olivia Bergen. You have been stranded in space, fighting a never ending fight. Through text logs that appear upon starting a new cycle you learn bits and pieces about your slowly crumbling psyche, why you are here, how to potentially escape.
Cycle 28 is a momentum based space shooter, so it controls as such. One button is your thruster, one shoots and you control your direction with the left stick. Sure, it sounds simple enough, but surviving in Cycle 28 is easier said than done. Your main objective is to rack up points just like any arcade shooter. You can get up to a 10x multiplier and achieving and maintaining this is the key to a high score, getting hit just one time however brings it right back down to zero, so keeping it can be quite a challenge. Bigger ships usually means bigger points so strategically being more careful and keeping a multiplier going before taking down a big one is a must.
Your ship will take damage regularly and is shown by smoke emanating from your hull. A quick break from shooting will activate your ships auto repair and in a couple of seconds your ship will be fixed and ready to jump back into the action, as long as you can survive long enough for it to do so.
It seems to me the better your doing the more ships show up to stop you and the more aggressive they become. I have had many good starts end poorly because of a gigantic force appearing as if from nowhere, and they in fact will generate out of thin air to stop your streak dead short. Things can get very hectic very quickly with the screen filling up with enemies. A run can be over before you know it, but you will want to jump back in over and over again.
Helping you deal with the enemy is the unlockable upgrade system. Beating your records will unlock new features for your ship. These are all variations of drone and bullet output. You will get abilities like firing from different directions and more drones deploying than normal. Two of these can be swapped in and out and applied for your next run, play around with combinations and figure out what works best for you. My go to was chance of a drone spawning when you fire and two front firing projectiles.
At the top of the screen you will see a timed counter of 24 minutes. Once this reaches zero its game over even if your still alive, so racking up points as fast as possible is a must bust you must also be careful to mind that multiplier or you will find yourself with not so many points at the end of the cycle. As you near the end of a cycle a blue ship that looks just like yours will appear and attempt to stop you will damage equal to your own, taking this guy down will net you some good points but be careful as he can and will eliminate you very quickly. Who is piloting this ship? One of the many mysteries surrounding Olivia and her current predicament.
One of the main draws to keep you coming back again and again is the online leader boards and that just one more try feeling that cycle 28 has in spades. There is also a deeper layer to the game. Secrets are hidden. Can you solve the mystery? Can you escape?
Cycle 28 has a very minimalist style and color pallet, you will see only four colors in the game, if might not sound like a lot, and it isn’t but keeping the color count down helps to keep your focus in the right place. Too many colors would have made it very chaotic on screen when its full of enemies and I feel like they made the right choice here. Ship designs are also rather simple, there is a descent amount of variety though and the A.I is very, very good. Some might say too good. They will crush you. Another thing that is on the simple side is the score. You will be listening to the same track perpetually. It is a sweeping, epic score but there is only the one. It is really cool how it ramps up once the action starts to get more intense and really gets you into the action.
It might be on the simple side but Cycle 28 is insanely fun. This is the most one more time game I have played in a while, so much so it took me entirely way too long to write this review because of it. It can be challenging but it’s simple enough to wrap your head around for pretty much any player. Wrapping your head around the mysteries of the game is another story altogether. I still don’t know how to solve it but i have so much fun with the game that I will be trying for a long time to come. If you enjoy a fantastic arcade style game absolutely pick this one up.
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