I try not to review games that I haven’t been asked to review simply because of my immense backlog. When it comes to certain genres, however, I just can’t help myself. Prime among those are scrolling shooters and one of my new favorites thanks to the iPhone, the dual stick shooter. IUGOME just released their entry into the ever growing staple of selections, Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet. And, despite the heroines two big… erm,,, machine guns, I still think iDracula is a better game when it comes to dual stick shooters with no levels or plots. However, Daisy Mae is still a blast to play, and the various control schemes could make it more accessible to those who have some issues with being able to run and shoot at the same time using two different controllers.
There’s never really a story presented to you, but from what I gather Daisy Mae is quite the businesswoman, because she’s had the sense to open up a diner right outside the fence of Area 51. So what’s the main course, you ask? Well, in case you missed the title of the game, it’s aliens! And make no mistake about it, poor Daisy really has to work to hunt down some of these delicacies. As with most dual stick shooters, you basically run around a predefined area blasting everything that has a desire to snack on you. You start out with twin Tommy guns, which despite their unlimited ammo are quite weak (hence the unlimited ammo).
Along the way you’ll pick up several different types of weapons, from a bizarre dual-head laser gun to what appears to be a giant air-pressured staple gun! In an interesting twist it seems you can only hold one weapon at a time, but at least you set the other weapon down so you can pick it up again later if you wish. You have three lives denoted by lipstick smooches, and you can replenish these lives by picking up lipstick containers left by the aliens. Unfortunately you can’t stockpile them either, which I suppose is only rational because let’s face it – where would Daisy put them? The other special you get is Daisy’s “infatuation” ray. As you slay aliens a meter fills up, and when it’s reached the top you can unleash your womanly wiles to seduce the bad guys to death (I guess all the aliens are guys). The meter appears to have three different levels depending on how much “love damage” you wish to inflict.
The aliens are plenty and they are mean. And, unlike games like iDracula and Minigore where you have small, medium and sometimes large, in Daisy Mae’s world there’s small, large and “what, is that a house?” So don’t feel bad if you spend a lot of time running. To help facilitate that you’ll control Daisy’s movements via a virtual thumb stick. On the other hand (literally) you have three different options for controlling how Daisy shoots. The first is to go autopilot, which I guess doesn’t really count as a control method since you’re not actually controlling anything. The second is to have a button for shooting. The problem with these two methods is that auto-targeting is employed as well. If you are dealing with a few enemies, auto-targeting works out pretty well. When you have a lot of bad guys to fend off and you want to dispatch certain ones first, these aren’t such good options. The third option is the second thumb stick we’ve all come to know and love. I actually seemed to fare the best with the button for shooting, but I prefer the thumb stick just because I feel that I’m participating more.
Daisy’s world is very nice to look at (and I’m talking about the whole thing, you pervs). The aliens clearly have their roots in old school drive through theater, yet they’re not quite like anything you’ve seen before. The backdrop is filled with interesting objects, from a complete playground to an abandoned tank. Everything is nicely rendered, though as you get close to some objects you’ll note that they appear more flat like the scenery in Minigore than actual 3D. The main down side to the visuals is that the view is zoomed out quite a bit to accommodate the really big aliens, so you can’t always appreciate all the details (on the aliens and scenery, you gutter dwellers!) The sound effects are actually somewhat blasé. Guns sound like guns, Daisy whimpers a bit when she gets hit, and the aliens don’t make much noise at all other than the popping of the bullets hitting them. This seems to be a growing trend where aliens don’t make any sounds. Anyone ever watch Star Wars? The music is pretty good, though, and it fits the atmosphere of the game quite well.
Is this the next iDracula? Probably not. However, it is a really fun game, and I like the retro sci-fi theme. The visuals are nice, the music is upbeat, and the multiple control schemes do their best to reach the widest range of players. If you’re any sort of dual stick shooter fan you owe it to yourself to take Daisy Mae for a spin, and if you’ve been put off by this style of game play in the past due to controls, this might be one to change your mind.