Paul's Shooting Adventure 2 Review
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On 06/01/2012 at 12:00 PM by Travis Hawks
Somebody made a boom-boom and is selling it on DSi Ware.
Do not play this game.
In Paul’s Shooting Adventure 2, there are large bees that throw dog piles at you. Yes, the kind of dog piles you are thinking of: poop. It’s an appropriate weapon for a game that could double as lawn fertilizer.
From the beginning, you’ll find that the general aesthetic and scenario in Paul’s Shooting Adventure 2 are completely devoid of anything of interest. Although there is no story sequence to speak of, it appears that you play as a baby named Paul who is out to destroy legions of bugs as he flies through the air firing projectiles. Each level is set in front of a textured background – sky or dirt for instance – and it scrolls continuously. There are no rocks, or trees, or vines, or plants, or anything else that you pass in front of or maneuver around except for the enemies you are fighting. It looks more barren than any of its 8-bit shoot-‘em-up predecessors did.
Perhaps a varied and vibrant assortment of attackers charging young Paul as he flies through the air would keep you from noticing the lack of level design. Unfortunately, the creators saw fit to only include one or two enemy types in each level. Sure, there is a mini-boss and a boss in each stage as well, but that does little to stop the onset of boredom.
All of the enemies are different varieties of bugs, with bees being the most prevalent. Each type has its own attack pattern, which would be interesting if there were more than one attack pattern going on at any given time. Again, some of the mini-bosses and bosses almost reduce the monotony and provide significant challenge as their attacks overlap with the peon swarms charging at Paul. A couple of the boss fights are well done, in particular a fight against a huge ant that flips between the top and bottom of the screen while smaller ants hang down and create stalactites and stalagmites of squirminess that get in your way. Funny that the one time that something resembling geography appears, the game is at its best.
Since the enemies are a big letdown, a quality weapon mechanic might have saved the whole experience, but unfortunately Paul’s Shooting Adventure 2 disappoints here as well. Paul has the ability to charge his shots, which is not unique, but is an effective and necessary method needed to advance in the stages that are pretty tough on any difficulty setting. Where Paul’s Shooting Adventure 2 flirts with getting a mechanic right is its weapon upgrades.
Random enemy drops are left behind as you zap hordes of critters, and each of these can provide a different power up. The variation here appears impressive, but only a couple of the upgrades are actually useful. You can switch between acquired weapons by tapping the shoulder button and then wailing on the fire button or charging up a powerful shot, just like with the standard weapon. Outside of heat-seeking projectiles and hammers that arc downward, I found most of the weapons to be equivalent or worse than the plain Jane gun. Some of the upgrades appear to be nothing more than palette swaps, replacing glowing orbs with swords for instance.
The randomness of the drops potentially changes the dynamics of each level on future replays. Since the enemy patterns are rote, having variation in Paul’s available weapons alleviates some boredom. The problem is that you will benefit from this only with repeat plays, which you should definitely not attempt. To entice you into follow-on play throughs there are three difficulty levels, but outside of more bullets coming your way and an apparent slight increase in the hundreds of shots required to take down a boss, it’s the same experience with additional frustration.
Perhaps you will find a friend to play through Paul’s Shooting Adventure 2 with, but I can’t imagine your friendship would survive this harsh of a test. Perhaps you are extremely poor or cheap, and the two dollar price tag is very appealing to your sensibilities. I suggest you go even cheaper and spend zero dollars to play something you already own, go to the public library, brush your hair into funny styles in front of the mirror, or take a nap. Paul’s Shooting Adventure 2 is the worst way to reinvigorate the shoot-'em-up genre, and I certainly hope there is never a third game in this terrible series.