by September 9, 2021 @ 2:30 pm
Reviewed on PS4
A big, hearty meal is nice, but sometimes you just want a quick and cheap bite to eat. Weapon of Choice DX is like a tasty fast food burger — it may not be the biggest, deepest game around, but it’s a lot of fun and comes with a low price point. Not to mention, the action is just nonstop craziness, so if you’re looking for a wild and rowdy time, this 2D shoot ‘em up is a good option.
Weapon of Choice DX is a huge callback to several old school action games. Gameplay-wise it’ll likely remind you of classic shoot ‘em ups like Contra and Gunstar Heroes. You’ve got two weapons: a special gun and a standard assault rifle. The special gun depends on the character you’re playing as — there’s a flamethrower, boomerang-like rapid-fire gun, and even a giant chainsaw. The weapon variety is nice and gives true meaning to the game’s title.
You won’t be picking up a bunch of guns as you play, though. Instead, Weapon of Choice DX features multiple playable characters that you can choose from, some of which you unlock by saving them. Each character has a unique weapon and special move. They also act as makeshift extra lives, so when you die with one character, you’ll switch to another and continue where you left off. Once you run out of characters, it’s game over. It’s a fun system that requires you to learn each of the characters, especially when you get to the higher difficulties.
As far as shoot ‘em ups go, Weapon of Choice DX works just like you’d expect it to for the most part. The shooting gameplay is fast-paced and challenging, requiring you to play both carefully and chaotically. When you’re about to die, time slows down to give you a fighting chance. When this happens, you get a few seconds to move away from the threat that’s hurting you. If you’re able to do so, you’ll live. If not, it’s on to your next character.
Unlike the games it’s influenced by, Weapon of Choice DX features much less linearity. The game’s levels all offer branching paths, enticing players to explore and encouraging multiple playthroughs. Depending on which way you go, you’ll encounter different enemies and bosses in the same level. The story also branches out depending on your choices, with multiple endings available for players who want to see and do everything the game has to offer.
Like in Star Fox 64, you’ll get different sets of levels each playthrough depending on which paths you choose. It’s fun to take on different branching paths with each playthrough because you’re rewarded with different levels, making for some pretty varied runs.
You can get through a single branching storyline in Weapon of Choice DX in 20 to 30 minutes. Because of the game’s many paths, endings, and difficulties, however, it’s easy to spend hours revisiting the action multiple times. This essentially means you get the most out of this experience the more you play. On one hand, that does make for a very short game, but if you favor replayability over game length, there’s plenty to do here.
It’s important to note where the DX in Weapon of Choice DX comes from. The game was originally released simply as Weapon of Choice on XBLIG back in 2008. It received some acclaim for its fast-paced shooting gameplay and hand-drawn look. Now, this DX upgrade offers better balancing and increased resolution, which means it both plays and looks great.
Hand-Drawn Monster Gore
In Weapon of Choice DX, you shoot your way through nasty, slimy, tentacle-y alien monsters. It’s only fitting, then, that those nasty, slimy, tentacle-y alien monsters look absolutely disgusting. The hand-drawn creature designs are highly detailed and look great. The world design — both backgrounds and foregrounds — also sport rich detail. If that wasn’t enough, the game is really splatter-y, with monster parts and guts flying all over the place as you shoot, burn, and slice them all to bits.
There’s a lot of metal music in Weapon of Choice DX. Though metal isn’t my go-to genre, there’s no denying the fact that it just fits with everything that goes on in the game. Let’s be real here: It would be hard to expect an atmospheric or fantasy epic-sounding score in a game where you play as gun-toting muscular people who shoot monsters. So the music works and is, for all intents and purposes, pretty catchy beyond just being functional.
You play run-and-gun games like Weapon of Choice DX to unwind with something fun and simple. The action is quick and entertaining, and because playthroughs are generally short, it’s an easy pick-up-and-play title that’ll still challenge you and entice you to come back for more. And at just $6, you get a lot of nice, nonsensical shmup joy for the price of admission.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
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