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Review #036: The Bug Butcher (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewed By: Allan J.

Developed By: Awfully Nice Studios

Published By: 2Awesome Studio

Category: Action, Vertical Shooter, Arcade

Release Date: 11.08.2018

Download The Bug Butcher from the Nintendo eShop here.

Sometimes Aliens Are Just Dicks…

Harry is an exterminator, but not just any exterminator. Harry is a space exterminator with an affinity for sarcasm. After several scientists in the space lab have become sacrifices for the alien bug lords, Harry is called in to clean up the mess. The Bug Butcher takes you on a campaign to obliterate the space-bugs infesting the space lab, one room or elevator shaft at a time.

Controlling the Chaos

The basic mechanics of The Bug Butcher are reminiscent of the old arcade vertical shooters like Space Invaders, Centipede, and—the game it really seems to have taken inspiration from the most—Super Pang, but with an update to the graphics and the power ups. You control Harry by running back and forth across the 2-D stage firing your machine gun, while the alien bugs wreak havoc from above, bouncing off of the floors and walls in wave after wave of chaotic assault.

As you kill the bugs, they drop coins and power ups for you. The coins help boost your scores, along with bonuses for clearing the stages as quickly as possible, which unlocks new upgrades and power ups that can be purchased with the coins you collect. Some of my personal favorites are the bubble dome, which is basically a temporary shield, and the laser beam, because it’s a laser beam. One of the power ups you can get freezes all of the bugs on the screen for a short time, which allows you to clear out a crowded room pretty quickly when it gets a bit overwhelming.

Most of the bugs just ricochet off of floors and walls in a fairly predictable—yet no less difficult—pattern that can result in some crazy combos when timed correctly, but there are also some bugs who do their own thing. One of the enemies is a ceiling-crawling spider-bug who pays no mind to our protagonist, but rather, seems to only be interested in the brains of your escort/tour guide scientist buddy. And much to Harry’s chagrin, he must keep his scientist pal alive, or else he will die along with him.

Game Modes

There are two main modes in The Bug Butcher: Arcade mode and Panic mode. Arcade mode is single-player, and is the story mode campaign option. In this mode, you work your way deeper and deeper into the space lab, with each new stage introducing more types of enemies to shoot down. The difficulty is a bit high—even on easy—but it is still quite fun, and when you finally figure out the timing and finesse of each stage, it is a very satisfying victory to finally clear the level.

Panic mode can be played either single-player or with two players simultaneously in co-op mode. Essentially, this mode is a faster-paced, non-story mode where you can select whichever stage you want to play, and see how long you can make it in wave after wave of bugs. The health meter starts out much lower than the Arcade mode, and you can actively purchase new upgrades and weapons during gameplay. There is no easy option in this mode, only medium and hard… and it is relentlessly difficult! I found single-player Panic mode to be a bit too difficult for me, but in co-op, when your buddy dies, you can stand over them and press A to revive them as many times as you want, as long as you can get over to them before the timer runs out. This allows for a bit more of a safety net when trying to keep the game alive.

Invader Harry?

The graphics and sound are great! My first thought when the opening sequence of the story played out was that it looked like Jhonen Vasquez had redesigned Super Metroid and Contra’s secret love-child. The Bug Butcher is a very well-animated, cartoony-in-a-good-way shooter with a soundtrack that is appropriately hectic and well-composed. The look, feel, and sound of the entire package was very satisfying to play. The colors are bright and sharp, and the explosion graphics ere very nice as well.

Wrapping Up

The Bug Butcher is a great action shooter that I enjoyed playing quite a lot. The co-op mode was fun to play with a friend, but I actually enjoyed the single-player story mode a bit more. Overall, this game was thoughtfully designed and crafted, and aside from some ridiculously difficult enemies and stages, I can’t really complain about anything I experienced. The controls were smooth and accurate, and the characters were snarky and lovable. If you are a fan of the vertical shooter genre, or even if you’re not really familiar with it, I would definitely recommend adding this game to your Switch library. For $7.99 it is worth every penny.

Final Score: 8.5/10

Download The Bug Butcher from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided By 2Awesome Studio

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