Thanks to those at DG Games Workshop, I now have a clear idea of what a revisioned spiritual successor to Jackal or Guerilla War would look and play like by incorporating variables that make modern games entertaining while implementing a challenge that hearkens to the shooters of yesteryear. In the role of a soldier named Agent M, you’re tasked with laying waste to hordes of hostile insect-like aliens through various worlds and terrains. Complete objectives listed off to the side to rack up accomplishments, earn cash, and upgrade your vehicle with more weapons, upgrades, and assist drones. The transformation Bugs Must Die has gone through from its early stages has been remarkable and immediately reminds me of the layer of detail and depth a game like R-Type Final implemented. As straightforward and action-packed as the combat can get, the customization provided means you can go into battle in a almost any manner you choose.
You have three vehicles you can choose from, the standard Jeep, which is solid overall. A Tank, the T-99, slow moving, but packs a punch in the power department as well as being heavily armored. And the Mach 6, a highly mobile unit that provides great evasiveness that doesn’t hit hard or take damage as well. I found myself playing with each one for various intervals, depending on the stage. There’s a lot of unlockables that can be earned through money drops, and an exchange system that helps whittle down grinding through levels. For instance, if you’re trying to reach a skill tier for a 1000 silver, you can exchange 1 gold for 500 bronze coins, which can be raised for 100 silver. As fun as mowing down enemies can be, this greatly aides in smoothing out the process. It puts an emphasis on resource management that can be eased with a little planning ahead and not 100% muscle.
The sprites burst with a lot of color and give off a comic book/anime feel. Bugs explode in excruciatingly gory fashion and bullets hail and whizz at you from all directions. Bugs Must Die has a great color contrast between you, enemies, and the terrain and they compliment each other perfectly. I don’t know if this was intentional, or I’m that much if a Jackal geek to notice something like this, but if someone told me this shot was an homage, I’d believe you.
The ground is generally darker hue while most hazards are brightly animated, meaning you can track what’s flying at you adequately. Visually, you’ll seldom get lost in the mayhem. There is a little bit of slowdown on occasion when the action picks up and the screen is COVERED IN BULLETS, but I can’t tell if it’s the game or my rather dated rig. Other than that, it’s not a very demanding game and runs buttery smooth.
Like many twin stick shooters, Bugs Must Die is quite responsive and engaging, making playing on a controller a breeze, and with a generous hurt box, it became quite exciting to weave and dodge out of danger. As challenge goes, this game isn’t a pushover, so battling defensively as well as offensively is very key.
You can increase your health bar and earn extra escape pods (which by the way, there’s a 30 second countdown before your next vehicle is available, so you aren’t out of the woods yet). With a plethora of sub weapons, shields, air strikes, and increasing base parameters of your guns and ammo stocks, there’s almost a Symphony of the Night level of depth with managing your parameters.
Outside of the main game, you have Challenge Mode and Hell Mode for even more replay value. With amazing music supervision and sound effects, sick 8-bit digital tunes, satisfying explosions and gunfire, and a very respectable difficulty that will test your gaming senses, I highly recommend Bugs Must Die. The staff at DG Games Workshop put a great deal of heart and effort into this game and it shows. If you’re looking for a blast from the past, this one is definitely worth checking out.
Bugs Must Die hits Steam April 5th, PDT 7:00pm 2019