#1 Quick Fix: Supercharged Robot VULKAISER

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It’s been a while since I’ve had anything to cover on #1 Quick Fix. This time, I’ll be discussing Supercharged Robot VULKAISER, a side-scrolling shmup by ASTRO PORT, the developers behind games like ARMED SEVEN and GIGANTIC ARMY.

Vulkaiser Screenshot 1

The game is based on 70s anime, and involves combining your mech with other, smaller mechs to change your weaponry. You have 4 mechs to combine with: Thunder, Needle, Rocket and Drill. You typically get two options at the start of a level (except level 1, where all of them are offered) and a third choice mid-way through.

Each of the mechs has a health bar separate from yours, and you can’t use that mech again for the rest of the game if their health is completely depleted (meaning you should definitely swap to the mech offered half-way through to spread the damage between them). Between levels, the health of all surviving mechs and your base one are restored slightly, so this is optimal for keeping them all alive.

Vulkaiser Screenshot 2

Each combination plays quite differently. It seems that each one adds something to your usual attack, they also each have an additional supermove you can use once per time you combine with them, and also a charged attack by holding the attack button until a bar fills and letting go. This lets each one have very different use, with the Needle and Thunder combinations being best for large groups (though the charged attack for Thunder is useful against single targets, unlike Needle). Drill is unusual for shmups as it requires you to get in close. Its charged attack helps a little bit with ranged attacking, but is insufficient against bosses.

The game has a few difficulty settings. I tried normal a few times, then easy. Both were satisfying, but there are also two higher difficulties I didn’t try.

Vulkaiser Screenshot 3

If I had one complaint, it’s that I can’t find any way to alter the control scheme. I played with an Xbox 360 controller, and the supermove was bound to the Start button for some reason, instead of, say, the unused B, X, Y, the shoulder buttons and the triggers, all of which are easier to reach for in the middle of the action. B is, in fact, ignored so much that you can’t back out of the difficulty menu to get back to the title screen once you’ve picked a mode (at least, not on a controller), even if you’ve decided that you probably don’t need to try training mode.

Vulkaiser Screenshot 4

Aside from that, I have no problems recommending this game to people who like a shmup every once in a while.

Supercharged Robot VULKAISER releases today on Steam, with a price of $4.99 in the US.

A demo will be available “soon” at vulkaiser.com.

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