A messy mash-up.
On paper Project Root sounds genius. Mix a twin-stick shooter with a shoot ‘em up and reap the rewards. Both concepts lend themselves to enjoyable twitch game play that would seem to be the ideal matchup for a genre mixer. As I said, it sounds good on paper. Project Root is the latest downloadable title for our shiny new consoles and its mesh of the two genres is commendable. However, the parts that weigh it down are its punishing difficulty and obtuse direction.
Project Root plays precisely how one would imagine. Movement is done with the left stick, while aiming shots is done with the right. Power-up weapons such as heat-seeking missiles are fired with the bumper. The ship is sluggish in its movement, and circle strafing around enemies often led to me taking more damage than I would have liked.
Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC, Vita
Price I’d Pay: $5.99
Enemies take way too much to take down, and I often just flew past most adversaries to my objective. I don’t mind old-school difficulty, but dying because of slow controls and enemies being bullet sponges do not mix well with the twitch mentality the game attempts to deliver.
There is an upgrade system that earns XP at an alarmingly slow rate. It took several failed missions attempts before I had enough to upgrade one small attribute, and it still didn’t make a significant difference in my death toll. The ratio of grinding to actually enjoying feeling powerful is extremely low.
There is a story mixed in here, all text-box dialogue, some during the frantic game play, which makes it impossible to follow. Not that I think it was any award-winning narrative to begin with, but much like the rest of the game, their decisions on when to display pertinent information is questionable. Panels are laid out with static drawings and text, again extremely hard to follow due to some dialogue showing up during combat, and in extremely small font.
Visually the game is smooth. One of the better looking [email protected] titles to date. Explosions are colorful and the frame rate rarely misses a beat. The level designs are nice to look at, but like everything else confusing to navigate. There is a small green arrow always pointing towards the objective, but it can get lost in the chaos.
Project Root delivers on its promise of a bullet-hell style game with twin stick controls, but the mixture comes with plenty of issues. Those looking for a grindy-challenging affair that is mechanically sound will not find their money wasted, but I still wish it was fine-tuned for a more enjoyable experience.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.