The game loads up with you being introduced to an Isaac Clarke/Dead Space scenario, except this time around you’re actually told about the extermination that is required; rather than waiting a little bit for it to be sprung on you. The story that’s implemented isn’t anything special, as it’s designed to simply get you into the game as fast as humanly possible, with a couple of breaks here and there to give your fingers a little bit of a rest. So, story is a less important feature of the game, but honestly it’s not something that is considered a needed part of the game, so you can simply skip that if you’d like.
Moving onto what’s important: the gameplay. The Bug Butcher has implemented a very simple way around its controls, but don’t mistake simple for easy, because that just simply isn’t the case. If you’re wondering how the controls work, it requires little more than 3 buttons; with those buttons being left and right, as well as fire. Everything else in the game happens automatically and doesn’t require your input. The reason behind this is the fact that all your character will be doing is running left and right to dodge whatever may be coming towards your face and the fire button is to shoot some bugs until they explode all over the place!
What is strange about the game and what took me by surprise is that when you pull the trigger, you only fire vertically. I assumed when I first shot a few bolts of plasma – at least that’s what I presume it is – it only ever went straight up because I was standing still. So, I tried running about and firing, but alas I only ever fired vertically. It wasn’t until the enemies started coming at me after the tutorial is when it started to make sense on why you only fire upwards.
You see, the way most of the enemies tend to work is that they bounce off the ground and launch into the air. Basically, think of it as a lot more up-to date version of Space Invaders, filled with a variety of fat and pudgy aliens to shoot at and you’ve got this game in a nutshell.
Whenever you manage to kill one of the bigger bugs, they tend to split up into several little bugs, which die in a shot or two. There are a variety of bugs for you to sink your shots into, with each one having a different attack pattern and colour palette.
For the most part, a lot of the gameplay is very arcade-like, due to the fact that you’re doing one very minimalistic task to get to the end of the level: kill everything, don’t die, and don’t let a scientist die; it hardly gets any more complicated than that.
Things could get a tad boring if you didn’t have the pleasure of the temporary power-ups, so it’s a good thing the game has them implemented. You have a number of drops that will spawn on the ground and all it requires you to do is run over them to pick it up and be treated to whatever the power-up may be. It could be a weapon, such as a laser beam that’s incredibly useful against smaller, but bigger groups of enemies or it could be a temporary upgrade that allows you to fire at double your normal firing rate for a certain amount of shots. Not only that, but it can also be a one-time use ability that freezes all enemies on screen or one that makes you much faster and invulnerable all at the same time.
Whilst you’re playing, you can get rewarded with some small amounts of cash, which can go into upgrading those abilities and drops, but it only really amounts to being able to use them a little bit longer or dealing a little more damage. Don’t get me wrong, they do help, but they aren’t exactly necessary and if you find yourself spending enough time on the game, you’ll have all of the upgrades all complete and upgraded, which soon makes the money redundant.
In terms of variety for the game modes in the game, they’re pretty much lacking very little variety, although, that’s okay because of the way the game is designed; like an arcade game. These two modes are single and co-op story mode, where you must take out each and every bug on the level before you progress and you’ll find yourself beating it in a couple of hours if you’re good enough. The one that you’ll be spending all your time on once you’ve finished the story mode is the survival mode; a game mode that can also be played with one other player. The survival game mode is exactly how it sounds and requires you to take out waves of bugs until you’re unable to hold them back any longer, resulting in you and your buddy (if they’re there) seeing what your final score is.
Overall, I’ve enjoyed my time with The Bug Butcher. It has some lovely aesthetics going for it that stay nice and simple, without being too dull or uninteresting. When I first started playing the game, it gave the impression of a mobile game in its simplicity in a lot of ways; even then, it managed to hold up its own with ease and for that it easily warrants a recommendation from me.