The Nintendo Switch isn’t the only console prone to receiving belated conversions. Developer Witch Beam seemingly postponed the Xbox One version of this twin-stick shooter until the arrival of the Xbox One X. It’s an understandable decision, and not just because there’s an unspoken rule that every new console must launch with a snazzy twin-stick shooter nowadays.
While a tad tardy (the PS4 version launched in 2016), Assault Android Cactus is a welcome addition to the Xbox’s library. The character roster comprises of chibi-style androids with bulbous heads, giving it a twee, almost anime influenced, art direction that we don’t often see around these parts. Moreover, it’s an incredibly well-designed game. Fresh, frantic, and filled with personality.
Plucky green-haired android Cactus is the lead character – hence the game’s peculiar title – and after crash landing on a colossal space-cruiser filled with rampaging robots, she rallies up the remaining allied androids to fight back. Each playable character has their own weapon set, as well as different dialogue during the brief and comical cut-scenes. They come packing a positive ‘can-do attitude’ too. Well, all aside from Starch – a somewhat creepy monochromatic android that yells random words.
The Xbox One certainly isn’t short on twin-stick shooters, so it’s pleasing to see that Assault Android Cactus has more than a couple of tricks to make it stand out. Rather than providing a quickfire arcade-like experience, there’s a fully-fledged campaign to play through with an overworld map, unlockable extras, different stages, and a guardian to beat at the end of each zone. Bosses are themed around the space-cruiser’s floors, with the security department featuring a large brute clutching a pair of riot shields and the ship’s garden having a plant-like entity.