You might say that some of our staff are big fans of Assault Android Cactus, a frantic twin-stick shooter from indie developer Witch Beam. I originally reviewed the game on PlayStation 4 when it came out back in 2016 and our writer Jordan followed that up with his own review of the Xbox One version when it launched in 2017. Now in 2019, the game has made its way to the Nintendo Switch with a fitting new name, Assault Android Cactus+. As we’ve already reviewed this game twice on the site I’m not going to go as deep into it for this review but rather will focus on how the game performs on the Switch as well as touch on the new content found only in this version. If you want to know more, refer to our other two reviews that I linked above as this is still mostly the same game.
The game’s campaign has a total of 25 levels to play through and a total of nine different playable androids. You start off with four of them and unlock the others as you play. The fun of this game is in trying to keep a continuous chain of kills going in order to get the highest possible score and letter grade at the end of the level. This is a lot easier earlier in the game but as you get further stronger enemies appear as well as greater numbers of them making it much more challenging. You are constantly having to be on the move weaving between enemy bullets all over the screen while blasting out plenty of your own.
Each of the nine androids has a primary weapon and a secondary weapon that operates on a short cooldown. I enjoy using Cactus the most who has an assault rifle for a primary and a flamethrower for secondary fire. Peanut is my second favorite and has the ability to shoot molten metal as her primary while her secondary is a drill attack that shoots you across the screen. I found this useful for escaping bad situations as well as getting to a fallen battery or power-up faster. Batteries are needed as you have a batter meter that drains as you move, fire your weapons, and take damage. If it runs out you have to start over so always be on the lookout for when batteries drop. Power-ups give temporary buffs like increased movement speed and damage output while another power-up has the ability to shut down all the enemies on the screen for a brief time.
Every level is different and you may find certain androids suited to tackling one level’s challenges over another. There are also five boss battles in the campaign as well all of which provide a good challenge especially the last one. When you finish that there is plenty more to do as well. The whole game can be played in 4 player local co-op if you choose although sadly there is still no online co-op included. Then there are all of the extra modes you can play as well. Infinity Drive is an endless battle against waves of enemies to see how long you can last. Daily Drive gives you a new challenge every day that you only get one chance at. Boss Rush mode has you fighting every boss in a row. Outside of that you can use the credits you earn while playing to unlock tons of other things like various gameplay modifiers, visual filters, and more. You get a lot of bang for your buck here but even more so on the Nintendo Switch version.
This version of the game has a brand new Campaign+ included that unlocks once you beat the last boss. It remixes every level and boss fight in the game and makes it a lot more challenging for those who are looking for that. Each level also has its own online leaderboard giving you even more opportunities to put up big scores. While I enjoyed these I would’ve liked to see a few actual brand new levels or maybe one new boss fight. Another new feature in this version of the game is the ability to play with single-stick controls. This option enables auto-aim and lets you play with a single Joy-Con. It works surprisingly well but I stuck to twin-stick for the most part as I felt far more comfortable with that. There is also one new costume for each android exclusive to this version as well as a movie gallery that lets you watch the cutscenes over again.
The other important thing to mention about the Nintendo Switch version is that it runs just as well as it does on other platforms. Witch Beam clearly put a lot of work into getting the framerate to run at 60FPS here even in portable mode and it feels great. The visuals don’t look as good as they did on PlayStation 4 but it still has a great clean look to it. The soundtrack is still just as good to listen to now as it was back in 2016 when I first played this game.
Assault Android Cactus+ is arguably the best version of the game that you can play. Sure it doesn’t look quite as sharp as it does on the other platforms but it still looks good and more importantly runs just as well. It still is one of the most fun twin-stick shooters I’ve played even three years after I first played it. The addition of Campaign+ just gives me even more reason to keep playing especially since I can now do it on the go in portable form. The single stick control option is also a fun new addition and makes it so two people can play together on Switch without buying additional controllers. Now Witch Beam, how about that sequel?
*Assault Android Cactus + is out now on Nintendo Switch. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Assault Android Cactus +$19.99
- Awesome group of androids to choose from
- Great level design
- Brand new Campaign+ as well as multiple other modes offer plenty of replayability
- Offers plenty of challenge to hit the higher ranks
- Mantains a smooth 60FPS on the Switch
- No online co-op
- No actual new levels or boss fights to play