Color Bandits by Kiai Games is a side scrolling twin stick shooter that does almost everything right. Published by Chillingo, this game is a fun, aesthetically pleasant game that manages to mix a good atmosphere with a fun, well designed shooter.
The game’s story is that an evil scientist/dictator has sent his extraterrestrial robotic steampunk-esque army to steal your world’s colors. Obviously, being the hero you are, you’re not going to let him do that, so you decide to fight back.
This fight takes you through 6 unique worlds, each with its own very nicely drawn background, unique boss at the end of each, and each adding new types of enemies that will pester, annoy and if you’re not careful, kill you. Each world is divided into 3 levels, and at the end of the first and second level, you’ll have to fend off a huge number of unique new enemies. From that point forward, that new type of enemy will be added to the repertoire of steampunk baddies. The end of each 3rd level means a boss battle. Each boss moves differently (or doesn’t at all), and attacks differently, so you need to be able to quickly adapt to overcome them.
Each level allows you to collect 3 stars (according to how many points you’ve earned by killing enemies). The great news is that when you start a new level, the game saves a checkpoint, so that if you die (and you probably will eventually), you’re taken back to the beginning of that level, not the actual world itself. The bad news is that whenever you die, your entire accumulated points are erased, so you can forget about collecting the three stars per world.
As the game moves you automatically to the right, you can control your character with a slider on the bottom left side of the screen that moves him left or right, and with a joystick analog on the right side of the screen that controls the angle at which you shoot (and shooting itself). The controls are good, although we’ve found that sometimes, the joystick on the right side can block the image, often times causing us to get ambushed by robot spiders coming from that side.
The enemies are very well done, with each enemy proving to be different from the other, and more or less challenging. You’ve got your usual steampunk zeppelin styled enemies that are easy to shoot down, as well as crawly robot spiders. No problem there. But then you start getting heat seeking missiles, enemies that move in unpredictable patterns that seem to be there only to distract you from the bigger badder enemies, tough enemies that jump around and are hard to shoot, enemies that move quickly and fire at you rapidly, etc. In small numbers they’re never a problem, but when you combine about 3 of each enemy kind, you need to start aiming well, and choosing your shots wisely.
Thankfully, ever so often you will get weapon power ups floating in the sky. Shoot them down and you can pick them up. These upgrades are all different from one another, ranging from a minigun styled shooter, to a lightning shooter, a laser looking shooter that affects a cone area, etc. And the Nuke. God do we love that nuke. Keep in mind though that while powerful, these weapons have very little ammo so you need to conserve it, and use it properly. For instance if you picked up the are of effect green laser shooter, it’s best to use it on jumping robots, or the flying ones that move in strange patterns, rather than at say a spider robot.
The graphics of the game are beautiful, with the enemies, power ups and your character all done in a black and white sort of cell shaded look. The background is very detailed, but with thinner lines, making it completely non intrusive. As you progress through a world’s levels, the background that starts out as black and white starts gaining color, and by level 3 you find that the contrast between you, the enemies and the background is very aesthetically pleasant.
The sounds are pretty basic but good, while the background music has a retro feel to it that meshes well with the general atmosphere of the game. We suggest leaving the sound on as you will most likely enjoy it and it doesn’t disturb you from the game itself.
Once you finish the campaign, the game also features a Survival mode, that is basically the same as a regular level, except the screen does not move. Enemies will start pouring in and you have to collect power ups and health, while shooting them down. You can post your high score on Game Center or Crystal afterwards.