Developer: dreipol
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Shoggoth Rising is quite green in that it is both full of viridian shades and that it doesn’t feel quite ready to be a fully-formed, well-rounded game despite its great visuals and solid gameplay ideas.

ShoggothRising-07_MeleeShoggothRising-06_Rum_barrelsPlayers control Ned, a man who finds himself at the top of a lighthouse for reasons that are never quite made clear. Also, he’s under assault by green frog creatures and various other sea beasts that want to kill him – because he’s not wearing green, probably. Thus, players must fend off the green hordes to fuel Ned’s fashion rebellion.

Thankfully, Ned has a selection of upgradable weaponry, melee weapons for fending off enemies that near the top of the cylindrical lighthouse, and the ability to summon lightning. That helps as the enemies come up all sides of the lighthouse, so that can help calm things down because of the chaos. Players tap on enemies to fire, and swipe using one finger to adjust the view of the lighthouse.

The graphics are incredibly well-detailed, especially with all the rain and atmospheric effects. The framerate is generally smooth, though I did have to restart the game at one point when things got choppy switching between game modes, but otherwise it’s an impressive visual feat. This is particularly so on the retina iPad mini. But all the visual flourish gets to be very distracting, especially as not only is everything green, but it’s so rainy. Seriously, there’s more rain here than in the climax of The Matrix Revolutions.

ShoggothRising-09_EnemiesShoggothRising-08_Melee_02Thankfully, while it is so difficult to figure out what’s going on at any given time, the special attacks like lightning and bombs help to deal with everything at once. There’s a currency system, but the progression is built around players actually earning the cash to buy upgrades, with no in-app purchases whatsoever. Players need to make decisions about what they want to upgrade, and replay earlier levels or delve into Survival mode to get the coins necessary to upgrade one’s weaponry.

Survival mode is a bit long-winded though, and the constant ammo refills every 30 seconds or so make the game almost too easy. Having one health bar – and the ability to heal only at the cost of half of the current accumulated time – makes things challenging, though.

Shoggoth Rising provided occasional entertainment – mostly when I was trying to survive with little health left. But managing all the chaos is difficult since there are so many distractions. It’s a beautiful game, but far from a perfect one.


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