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XBLA Xbox 360

First impressions: Omega Five

Omega Five (Image courtesy of Eurogamer)

Hudsonsoft’s new side-scrolling shooter Omega Five hit the Xbox Live Arcade yesterday. It’s an XBLA original, although it very much feels like an authentic arcade title ported for the platform. I played the first couple of levels last night.

It’s a pretty title, in a charming low-budget way. You have pink lasers all over the place. They get away with relatively little animation and effects, going with bright colors and bold shapes. There are some issues with the background being tonally too close to some of the worthwhile stuff, like the first level’s giant robot’s ice attack.

I like the two-stick gameplay, where you fire continuously in the direction of the other stick, rotating through full 360 degrees. The special weapon of the default character, a robot chick called R.A.D. (yes, really), is a cool anchor attack, but I’m not too sold on the other character that’s initially available. It’s like they came up with RAD, made her cool, and then put the mediocre ideas onto the other character. There are three more to unlock, maybe they’re more fun. Certainly the character selections are not up to Psikyo standards. Bear in mind it’s possible that I just don’t know how to play properly – I find the other character terribly underpowered.

I’m a little worried that it may lack a challenge once you know your way around. The scoring system feels very straightforward and probably could’ve done with more refinement. I haven’t checked out the top players’ replays yet, though – the game uploads your replay along with your high score, which is great. Last night I ranked 175 on the level one score attack mode (“challenge”).

Ikaruga this is not, but a quality arcade title regardless. More of the same, please.

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