Replikator had me at “Top Down Sci-Fi Shooter”. I mean what’s not to love, being a huge Alienation fan and having grown up on the likes of Alien Syndrome, and Alien Breed. Choose a rag-tag character from a bunch of rag-tag characters, including a Space Racoon. Board some crusty Space Stations and fight your way to the Boss. Yes, we’ve been here before.
Cue launching from your base after talking to some random static characters. This interaction just feels tacked on when you want to get to the scrapping.
To like a Roguelike
I don’t mind the Roguelike movement to be honest, basically I was smashing ASCII characters in Moria and Rogue long before the term was coined. Replikator joins this band by doing a couple of things. One ‘Replikating’ you back at the start if you die, where you can buy permanent upgrades to your character. Two, giving you procedurally generated levels to traverse each time. The basic premise is fine, it suits the setting and offers a fair challenge.
I do like the way you get you select a new level, beating a branch of a tree where you might get a better reward.
Upgrades and Weapons you say?
The levels offer plenty to explore, there are 12 in all and each comes with cheeky upgrades and weapon pickups. You can pick up a handy map too which shows where everything is. Weapons are varied and useful for different Alien types. When it comes to Boss fights, there’s plenty of moving required along with some precise shooting. You can only carry two weapons and the swap system is a bit “take it or leave it”, I constantly find myself with the item I didn’t want.
There are often toxic or exploding items around that can be used to cause some extra damage and we do love a bit of destructible scenery.
Doing the Moonwalk in Space Stations
Replikator ties hard to offer an addictive loop, but falls short on presentation. Characters don’t feel like they’re traversing the map. Especially when the sprite starts shooting backwards while still facing forwards. Any twin stick shooter worth its weight will have mastered the character movement, strafing and shooting early on.
The visuals hold a decent 8-bit style, but the real estate on the Switch makes the arena often feel tight. This can be a problem once the battle ramps up, dodging a bullet storm and getting your shoots in becomes a challenge.
At the end of the day, Replikator does deliver what it says on the tin. It is a bit of fun, and at pocket money price I wouldn’t be disappointed. As a three way release between Ratalaika Games, Meridian4 and R_Games, you can see there has been effort put in.
Whether you have the legs to see it through is the question, especially when there are more polished titles available.