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A pretty light-weight budget twin-stick shooter with some challenge, but that fails to inspire much excitement
Ever since the early days of Robotron: 2084 I’ve been a sucker for exciting twin-stick arcade action. Over the years there have been a variety of games that have taken the torch and advanced expectations little by little, bringing us to now. While roguelike twin-stick shooters certainly have their own thrills and challenges, going more old-school and keeping things simple can absolutely still work. However, in the case of Mustache in Hell I’m not so sure it does quite enough right to stand out in a space full of some real bangers.Starting with the positive, it is first important to at least keep in mind that this is a budget-minded title, so with that in mind there’s at least a fair amount of content to be enjoyed for the price, before getting into its merits or issues. The controls, while quite simple, are at least adequate and responsive, so you at least won’t be frustrating fighting with or cursing them for holding you back. While there aren’t very many primary or secondary weapons when compared to some of the competition, what you have to work with is at least reasonably well-implemented. The game at least works fundamentally, something not everything on the eShop can claim.That isn’t to say that there aren’t some pretty obvious issues. The first is really just that the shooting action is quite bland. Mixing up enemy types and having obstacles in some areas helps to try to keep play from being predictable, but for the most part you’re simply going to find yourself doing some variation on circle strafing, with your overall lack of decent movement speed usually being what will get you in trouble. While it isn’t a control issue but what feels like a conscious choice, your mustached protagonist is a bit on the slow side, which can be frustrating at times, especially when you’re trying to maneuver to grab pick-ups while a mob is chasing you. Another issue is that I don’t really understand the ultimate purpose of the world you’re moving around in, picking up keys and unlocking doors in between challenges. These moments are bland, really add nothing meaningful to the mix, and allow you to take a moment to reflect on the dullness of it all rather than keeping you steadily occupied and happy.This is the case of a game that isn’t necessarily “bad”, but that is simply too bland for its own good stepping into a space full of pretty great titles. Yes, the budget price does help to reduce the overall sting of disappointment, but especially when considering that many older games are regularly on sale the price doesn’t make for much of a positive selling point. There are worse options out there, but there are plenty of better ones I’d encourage you to try first as well.
Justin Nation, Score: