This one was a tough one to review!

Bot Vice is a cabal-shooter that just released on the eShop back in April of 2019. Now, this is the first I’ve heard of the genre known as “cabal-shooters”. I had to actually look it up!

“A Cabal shooter is a type of action-based video game. In a Cabal shooter the player control is limited to aiming a virtual gun and moving their avatar left and right across the screen. The player is often able to jump as well in later games of the genre. This genre was started by the eponymous Cabal.”

Now that we got that straight. Bot Vice was developed and published by DYA Games. It’s a retro-style side scrolling gallery shooter where you play as girl named Erin Saver. She’s taken a personal vendetta against the criminal gang known as the Wildbots and wants to bring them to justice.

Each level plays like a small arena. You have enemy bots coming in from the top and sides of the screen, while Erin is behind cover at the bottom of the screen. You can only move left or right, so you spend a lot of time dashing back and forth across the screen. The controls take a bit to get used to. You have to pull back on the joystick to take cover behind something, then push forward to get back up. You’re doing this constantly while also dashing, aiming, firing, and/or swapping weapons. You can’t stay in one place too long because enemies will start tearing down your cover. Usually by the end of each level, you’ve only got a couple things left to hide behind.

Bot Vice is not for the faint of heart. You have one life with four hearts to get through each level and it’s not hard to get hit within the first minute. Luckily, you’ll have ammo and health boxes that drop from some enemies. You’ll need to strategize on the fly and want to conserve whatever ammo you prefer so you aren’t stuck with the bare minimum at each level’s boss. The game is definitely tough! I must have played the first level 50+ times over the course of a few day before I finally beat it. It was really starting to get frustrating to the point where I almost quit playing it all together. Then things start to click and you figure out that each level almost has a rhythm to it. That’s when the fun began.

As much as I like Bot Vice, it still feels like it’s missing something. After you beat a handful of levels, things start to feel the same. There’s no upgrades, no special characters. It’s just the same type of thing over and over. Sure, the levels are fun enough and the enemies and bosses change each level. There’s also around 25 (super hard) extra missions that you can play once you finish the story. So, there’s plenty of bang for your buck. I just started losing excitement the more I played.

Bot Vice is still a really fun game with beautifully chunky pixel art and a catchy 90’s synth-rock soundtrack. If you’re a fan of cabal-shooters, this is definitely worth picking up on the Switch. I had a lot of fun at times playing the game, I just found myself wishing there was a little more.

A solid shooter. No more, no less.

NOEN (@hashtagNOEN)

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