XBLIG Review: Pester – No bugs to bug me

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One is the loneliest number, so play two.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOpgSU_Tymo

Pester by Flump Studios is a scrolling shoot-em up that uses several customization options to create multiple play through experiences, including a duo mode where one controller controls two ships. Yet, Pester is not a one-trick pony. It has multiple avenues and customization options for play; the customizable nature of Pester helps keep the game fresh, while enhancing the features included.

Pester is the follow-up to the math-crazed Super Killer Hornet, and for as interesting a concept collecting math equations for multipliers is, Pester is a much more well-rounded, polished and fun game.  Firstly, the graphics in Pester are much smoother than Hornet, and one cannot help but appreciate the deterioration of the bosses’ sprites, instead of a decreasing health bar. Secondly, the controls are extremely fluid. Even in the duo mode where you are tasked with controlling two different ships with the two joysticks, the ships are surprisingly easy to control, and at the same time difficult to master.

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The actual gameplay of Pester is very similar to Super Killer Hornet, and most other games in the genre. You are tasked with shooting down hoards of enemies while dodging and weaving in minefields of enemy bullets. Throughout the battlefield, power-ups drop that add extra speed as well as increased gun power and bombs. The bombs are a nice addition some games in the genre leave out. The bombs are more like a safety-valve that helps extend play and help if you find yourself cornered. As well as items, coins are also to be collected. The coins fill up a hyper meter that once filled up, create a larger ship that shoots much faster and automatically picks up coins on the screen. In other words, it is a super ship that sprays bullets first and asks questions later.

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While Pester does have the arcade and timed modes that Super Killer Hornet had, Pester adds some creative customization for play that extend to the background music, the background itself as well as the aforementioned duo mode, where you are asked to control two ships simultaneously. To complement the customization, which the game boasts as over 95 different combinations, Pester also has some unique AI that really helps the game along.  Pester has a random aspect to it, and the game enemies trot out in different patterns from game to game. This also plays an added benefit later on in the game. As with most shooters, as the levels progress, the need for better power-ups grows. So, when you lose a life in those later points, you can find yourself in some trouble. Luckily, with the adaptable AI, shortly after you die, at least one power-up is nearby once you  re-spawn.

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However, for as enjoyable as Pester is, one of the few knocks against it is the fact some modes need to be unlocked. This is the same gripe some may have with the earlier Guitar Hero games, where you needed to progress through the story mode prior to being able to play the complete catalog. Forcing certain aspects to be unlocked, the game handicaps players from fully enjoying the game’s full potential. This is not a major issue, just a minor annoyance.

Overall, Pester is a great successor to Killer Hornet and really creates a more rounded and polished product. The game is crisp and the controls are very fluid and responsive. If you enjoy shooters, Pester is easily one of the better ones available on the XBLIG market right now.

 

Final Rating: 8/10

 

CBR Break Down:

Console Played On: XBLIG

Time to completion: About 5 minutes per game.

Gamer Score Earned: N/A

Price Bought at: A code was provided by Flump Studios

Current Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)

Recommend Purchase Price: 80 Microsoft Points ($1)

Why you should buy it: If you love arcade shoot-em ups and loved trying to pat your head and rub your tummy. 

Why you shouldn’t buy it: If you hate shoot-em ups or multitasking.

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About Steve Lesniewski

Steve lives in Chicago and recently graduated from the University of Illinois. He has been fascinated with video games since his ninth birthday when he received a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Blue. He loves following sports and cheers win or lose for the Bears, Bulls and the Fighting Illini, who include the 2012 men’s gymnastic national champs as well as the 2011 women’s volleyball national runner-up.