I don’t know much about Lillymo Games or Barry Johnson, the man behind the scenes, but when I saw Habroxia, I knew I had to play it. It’s a 2D old school shoot-em-up that scrolls both horizontally and vertically. It’s got those sweet retro graphics and sound effects that I just can’t quit, plus collectibles to spend on ship upgrades. So, in other words, videogame crack to this gamer. But does this space shooter fly high, or does it crash face first and strung out in the gutter? If you’re cool, keep reading to find out.
As I mentioned, Habroxia scrolls both left to right and up and down. If you’ve ever played a shoot-em-up then you know exactly what you’re getting here. You fly a tiny spaceship and blast everything that moves. You have three different fire modes: holding R1 concentrates your whole payload in a straight line, L1 fires out the side of your ship while holding both R1 and L1 together spreads the fire out at an angle. This last mode is particularly good for hitting multiple targets but the direct hit is not as powerful. I never found much use for shooting out of the side of my ship, but learning when to use the other two firing modes added an extra wrinkle to the gameplay.
There is a vast and interesting array of enemy ships and stationary turrets that attack in any number of ways. It’s not a bullet-hell game, but they are going to blast you with everything they’ve got and that is plenty. Luckily, you’ll collect credits throughout each level that you can use to upgrade your ship. You can increase your shot power, the bullet spread, and fire rate. You can also improve health and more. It’s not the most robust upgrade system, but it kept me coming back until my ship was a flying juggernaut.
There are only 15 levels in the campaign but there was some decent variation. Most levels required little more than blasting fools while staying alive, but several levels had you saving astronauts and others were just giant boss battles. I liked that some missions changed scrolling direction, but I felt they could have used this mechanic even more. In true retro fashion, you can type your name onto the leaderboards after each mission, assuming you placed in the top five. I could tell I played the game early because my name was at or near the top of each level. That has probably already changed, but it was nice while it lasted.
As you progress through the campaign, you’ll unlock a few extra modes that will extend the replayability. After the credits roll, you’re awarded the final mode, dubbed Shield Maiden. It’s basically a survivor mode where your only goal is to survive as long as possible with limited health, no armor, and weak weapons. There is also an endless astronaut rescue mission mode that ends as soon as you miss or accidentally kill one of your floating little buddies. These extra modes made me change my playstyle dramatically as I could no longer just wreak havoc with my overpowered ship.
Despite the extra modes, the game is still a bit short and on the easy side, but bagging the platinum trophy was a good time. A hard mode would be a welcomed addition if Barry Johnson is reading this, and would definitely give this gamer a reason to don the Habroxia flight suit for one more tour of duty. If you can still find your PS Vita charger, Habroxia would look good in anybody’s collection. I finished the game on both the Vita and PS4 and it played flawlessly on both. I believe it’s a cross-buy as well, so even more bang for your buck.
Habroxia isn’t the most original title in the PlayStation Store, and it may be a little too easy but I had a lot of fun playing it, and it’s an easy recommendation to any fan of the genre.
Habroxia PS4/PS Vita Review
Overall - Very Good - 7.8/10
Habroxia is a 2D scrolling shoot-em-up that packages all of the retro gaming goodness with some new-school tricks. It’s a little short and a hard mode would have been nice, but the platinum trophy is fun to chase and immensely achievable. It plays great on the PS4, but it also gives you a great reason to blow the dust off of your Vita.
- Looks and sound great
- Addictive and fun to play
- A little too short
- And a little too easy
Reviewed using PS4/PS Vita.
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When Jeremy isn’t writing books or playing video games, he’s living his life one random movie references at a time.