Review: Andro Dunos 2
I enjoy side-scrolling shoot ’em ups, or shmups as they are often referred to, as they remind me of a more innocent time when I played a lot of them in arcades or on my home computer. I’ve reviewed a few of my favourites including U.N. Squadron and Apidya to name a couple.
If you’ve played one of these games, you know what they are all about as they tend to follow a similar pattern. Enemies attack in waves and different coloured ships (usually red) give you an upgrade that makes you more powerful. After tackling the minor enemies, there’s usually a boss battle at the end of the level for you to test your skills. Some shmups are tricker than others and are referred to as bullet hell shooters. My aging skills tend to get in the way of my progress, but shmups are still a genre that I enjoy, even though I am a bit crap at them!
Despite playing plenty of these types of games, I’ll be honest and say I’d not heard about this franchise. Doing a bit of research, Andro Dunos was originally released in 1992. It appeared on the Neo Geo AES console. For anyone of a certain age who like me used to read video game magazines, they would often see Neo Geo screenshots and drool at the arcade quality of the graphics. This came at a price though, and Neo Geo games could easily set you back by a couple of hundred pounds. And people think games are expensive today!
So, 30 years after the release of Andro Dunos comes the sequel. My first impression of playing on a Nintendo Switch is that the game looks gorgeous on a small screen. The visuals feel crisp and have that 90s arcade-style. There is a nice Mode 7 style visual effect as enemy ships fly into the foreground and background before attacking you.
Controlling your spaceship is second nature and the controls are tight and responsive. The enemy types are varied which provides a nice amount of variety and challenge. Speaking of challenge, the first level or two is relatively straightforward, but it isn’t long before you need eyes in the back of your head as there are explosions and enemy projectiles everywhere! Thankfully there is a stage select option in the main menu which unlocks as you finish each level.
As I mentioned above, you can upgrade your ship as you destroy different enemies. You can also choose different loadouts during the game which helps to suit your playstyle. These can be upgraded at the end of the level as you pick up power-ups. You also have a temporary power boost which gives you additional firepower for a small period. This charges up and can be used again, but timing when to use this attack is essential to your success.
The music is also excellent and suits this style of game. Doing a bit more research, the music was created by Allister Brimble. The name will mean a lot to some, and nothing to others, but if you had a Commodore Amiga in the 90s, chances are you’ve heard some of his work. Check out his portfolio here and you’ll see what I mean.
Andro Dunos 2 is a challenging fun game and kudos to the developers for making a sequel for gamers to enjoy 30 years after the release of the original. My only real criticism is the price. £17.99 seems a bit much for me, especially when it is £12.99 on PlayStation which feels like a better price point. Maybe it is the “Nintendo Tax” that sometimes gets applied to the Switch, but don’t get me started on that. If you’re a fan of shmups from the 90s then you won’t be disappointed with Andro Dunos 2. Maybe just wait for it to appear in a sale if you are looking to pick it up on the Switch?
Review by Chris.