Bullets Per Minute opens with a couple of interesting aspects. One is the blurb that pitches you in the shoes of a gun-toting Valkyrie fighting to protect Asgard from the underworld. The other is the notion that that it’s a Rhythm Based Shooter.
To be honest, neither of these things really gelled for me.
There is a lot going on here and while I admire any developer that can get their vision out into the world, there are times where the end result feels off.
Fast, Frenetic and Rhythmical
On paper the game makes sense to me. Procedural dungeons, first person shooting, buffs, abilities and a thumping rock soundtrack. In reality it didn’t. There were a couple of glaring reasons, motion sickness grabbed me pretty early on both in handheld and docked modes. There was something ‘too’ frenetic, leading to a very loose gameplay experience.
That, coupled with the incredibly drab colour palette. Presenting the game in harshly muted colours, this was not even an 8-bit homage, it felt like a over-stylised idea gone wrong. In a visual media, on an essentially mobile device the eyes and brain suffered up close.
We’ve lost our way.
The levels do have some ingenuity and the interconnected rooms generate some interesting combinations. You can see the influence from 90’s era shooters for sure, but again the issues with motion and colours really made it hard to enjoy exploring. Creatures are varied enough, but the premise of a ‘by the music’ dance of death, just never seemed to happen. Hit a room, let the creatures spawn, circle, strafe and clear. Then collect the pickups and try the next room.
On the face of it we’ve been there before, I’m still not sure what the music has to do with it.
Rocky Horror Show, or Sound of Music?
I wanted to have some fun with Bullets Per Minute, I really did, sadly it was over quickly. Maybe the game would work better on a less mobile device, maybe, but I can’t let go of the nausea.
I’m sure Awe Interactive will go on to do great things, and there will be fans of BPM. Today, I can’t be counted amongst them.