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PS3 Fanboy review: Everyday Shooter

Everyday Shooter is one of those titles that popped up out of nowhere a few months ago. Its creator, Jonathan Mak, was the winner of three separate awards during the Independant Games Festival awards at GDC this year. After this he was approached by Sony and asked to develop his winning title, Everyday Shooter, for the PSN. Finally, the game is now available on the American PSN.

To begin with, it's easy to mentally throw Everyday Shooter on top of the ever-growing pile of dual-analogue shooters. The PSN alone already has more than enough with Blast Factor, Super Stardust HD and Nucleus already vying for the title of "best shooty point collector." Everyday Shooter, however, manages to differentiate itself from all the others by introducing new, innovative gameplay mechanics, an incredible score and an intimate, personal experience which is the closest thing I've felt to video games being art.

Gallery: Everyday Shooter

When you first load up the game you would be forgiven for believing that something is wrong. The Queasy Games logo and the main screen are very minimalist and reminiscent of old Atari style graphics. This strange sense of style continues into the game as each level has a completely different appearance - though they all utilize a faux-2D cell shaded style of graphics.
The gameplay is as simple as the graphics. Players of Blast Factor or Super Stardust HD will immediately notice that the firing mechanism feels a little weird. The "ship" you control (which changes shape for each level) seems to feel most comfortable when firing at 90 and 45 degree angles, with anything in-between being difficult to maintain using the analogue stick. This is most likely due to the face buttons being used as a secondary control system for those who want to use them (D-pad moves, triangle shoots up, circle shoots right, etc).

Everyday Shooter is a difficult game to review. Talking about its graphics, sound and gameplay separately would make it clear that I didn't get the point. But I did. Everything in the game is connected together in some sort of synesthetic mess of colour, noise and frantic shooting. Each of the eight levels is a different "track" in the Everyday Shooter album with its own style of sound as well as its own individual art direction. The background music is the base (as opposed to bass) track over which you build the rest of the song by playing the level. Once the base track reaches the end you move onto the next level.

Everything you do has an effect on the song that you are creating by overlaying more wee pieces of music over the base track. Hitting enemies, collecting points, creating combos and even dying cause a subtle change in the song. If you recorded the audio from playing a single level multiple times you'd come up with several very different tunes. This is one of the many great things about the game.

Unlike most dual analogue shooters, Everyday Shooter's point scoring system is subtle and complex. There is no direct correlation between what you shoot and the points you score. Instead, you can only increase your score by picking up points from the field of play. These appear as white squares which move towards you as long as you are in the vicinity. Collecting points allows you to earn extra lives. Enemies will drop them when they die - sometimes - but the best way to make them appear is to create combo chains.

There's a different method of creating combos in each of the levels and it will take you a little while to figure each method out. Once you do, however, you'll begin to feel a greater appreciation for the game and realize how well designed the entire experience is. Every point you collect can then be used in the main menu to unlock extras - these include unlocking each level so that you can play them individually, obtaining extra stylistic effects to the game (such as increased contrast, monochrome and a "sketchy" effect) or even shuffling your unlocked levels around. You can also add extra lives so that you can get that little bit further the next time you play.

Everyday Shooter is completely addictive and, due to its level of challenge, will keep kicking your ass whilst making you ask for more. Some sites have intimated that there are problems with the point collection system as your avatar moves faster than the points that are being attracted to you. This means you have to stay still sometimes and let them catch up with you, but when the points disappear after a little while this makes it hard to collect all the points on the screen. Especially if you've just pulled off a massive combo and the screen is littered with the things.

In reality, this isn't a "problem" - it is a conscious decision made by the developer to make the game more challenging. Sure you might be able to pull off that massive combo, but how many of the hundreds of points can you pick up before they disappear?

Overall, Everyday Shooter is exceedingly enjoyable on a number of levels and is well worth your $10. All of the elements work together wonderfully to contribute to a final product that is artistic, fun and (as is very uncommon nowadays) personal. As the game was made by a single person, there's a strong connection between the developer and the player. Jonathan Mak has taken the opportunity to address the player directly in the "Notes" section of the main menu, where he outlines the history of the game, tells us the controls and gives us some tips. The entire gameplay experience feels like a window into his mind and it's fascinating. PS3 Fanboy can't wait to see what Mak does next.

PS3 Fanboy score: 9.0

Second Opinion: Andrew

Mizuguchi should not only be proud, he should be jealous. Everyday Shooter is ironically everything but what its title suggests. As a synesthetic game, it outdoes its competition by merging music and gameplay in a truly astounding way. We'd love to get the soundtrack to the game -- but would it even be possible? The on-the-fly rendering of music for each stage is what makes the title so engaging: each player's approach to a stage produces very different results to each song's overall tone. The cautious player and the headstrong player will produce music that corresponds to their actions. Fascinating.

But beyond the presentation, Everyday Shooter offers an unparalleled amount of depth for a downloadable title. There are eight tracks to play through, and each is unique, not only in terms of visuals and music, but in terms of gameplay. As Jem mentioned, not only will players have to figure out new chaining mechanics for each stage, they will have to learn all the subtleties of a level. For example, did you know that if you shoot explosions in the first stage, they will live for longer, and grow? In the third stage, you can lightly shoot cells to make them grow, increasing the radius of their explosion. There are many things to discover in each stage, making each level a different game altogether (at least, for shooter connoisseurs).

Add a points collection system that holds a bevy of collectibles, and you have a game with infinitely more replay value than even Super Stardust HD. So then, maybe the title is correct. It's the kind of shooter you'll be able to play every day, thanks to its unparalleled amount of content and replayability.

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. I needed to read this review. The 40 MB download was discouraging. But this review is encouraging. Thanks PS3fanboy. You're grrreeat!!!

Posted at 2:08PM on Oct 14th 2007 by KosmoCrisis

2. So far I've agreed with pretty much every review you've given. I will now buy this game.

Posted at 2:18PM on Oct 14th 2007 by JackkStraw

3. And he's Canadian.

Posted at 2:25PM on Oct 14th 2007 by Andy

4. I am surprised noone has made an analogy to Jeff Minter yet.

Posted at 2:31PM on Oct 14th 2007 by Broken Haiku

5. If my direct deposit had already gone through I would have this by now. Blast those monday 15ths!

Posted at 2:54PM on Oct 14th 2007 by OrganicShadow

6. Review is right on..... this game isnt for shooter noobs....... its nice.......

Posted at 3:15PM on Oct 14th 2007 by N8

7. Here's my review if anyone wants another opinion! Any feedback welcome!

Good Review Jem! I couldn't agree more with your score and comments!

Posted at 3:43PM on Oct 14th 2007 by CrashSharc

8. Personally, I love this game because it feels like I'm playing an interactive WinAmp Visualization.

I know it's pretty impossible since this game is so painstakingly designed, but if PS3 could get an interactive visualization for playing your own music on it similar to this game, that would be pretty damn sweet.

Dreams are nice.

Posted at 4:11PM on Oct 14th 2007 by Xoonaka

9. I was skeptical at first, but, im glad i got this.. its great... totally out there, but, tough as heck.. i cant get past that frickin eyeball on level 3 :(

Posted at 4:20PM on Oct 14th 2007 by phattie

10. @9 im stuck on it as well theres just so many eyes coming at you!

Posted at 5:16PM on Oct 14th 2007 by qwerter

11. TRAITOR! Jem I can't believe it, tsk tsk, you spelt colour without a U.

Posted at 5:17PM on Oct 14th 2007 by Random1448

12. Definitely a great game, but you missed a shooter that came out when the PS3 launched... something that every time I scroll to the bottom of the XMB, I get hit with a raccus amount of punk music... and something I don't know why didn't get better marks, cuz it was just stupid fun...

Cash Guns Chaos.

Posted at 5:38PM on Oct 14th 2007 by SlavedHeart

13. @ Random1448. Haha I can't seem to find it! The only colour word I found was: Everything in the game is connected together in some sort of synesthetic mess of colour, noise and frantic shooting.

... which has a U o.0.

Anyway. HELL Cash Guns Chaos was actually quite addicting ahahah. I just hateeeeeed the noise when you scroll down to the bottom after turning up the speakers from Warhawk or something.

It owns my ears.

Posted at 6:01PM on Oct 14th 2007 by Dahk

14. Was on the fence about getting this title, but I think you pushed me over.
@ SlavedHart: Cash Guns Chaos is a decent game, but a total rip-off of Smash TV.

Posted at 10:26PM on Oct 14th 2007 by dead5times

15. @13 that's cause he edited it. Jem you sly dog, you win again! but you'll have to slip up again one day, and I'll be there!(dr.evil music) muhahaha muhahaha muhahaha

Posted at 2:47AM on Oct 15th 2007 by Random1448

16. I agree, this game is a great addition to the PS3. It shows that we can still go back to the days where everything isn't focused on eye candy but instead is focused on providing a complete and engaging experience.

One complaint about the game however, and I don't know if it's just me. On the second level is anyone else getting a little bit of static on some of the sound effects?

Posted at 9:10AM on Oct 15th 2007 by Martin

17. I disagree with some of the reviews already. The music, graphics, and game design are great. It's like Every Extend Extra vs. Lumines. The main problems I have lie with the controls. Can anyone explain why there only seems to be 8 distinct directions you can shoot in? Also, why make the main ship so insanely difficult to see in a maelstrom of explosions?

For the most part, I'm loving the game, but I scoff at anyone trying to give this game any more than an 8. I appreciate the fact that a single person made this game, but anyone who feels this is a better shooter than Super Stardust HD or Geo Wars is sadly mistaken.

Posted at 11:43AM on Oct 15th 2007 by craig

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