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Bang Man! review

We check out the latest game from Simon Byron.

If you visit us here at EF often then you might have noticed our gaming coverage has been a little slow so far this year. There’s an easy explanation for this as it’s all the fault of Bang Man!

Designed and coded by Simon Byron using Game Maker the game is self-described as insanely tough platform shooting action. Having become rather hooked on the game for the past month or so we can confirm that it’s a very accurate description. Actually you can make it more accurate by sticking the word ‘addictive’ in there too.

The game itself is very simple. You control a little blue blob called Bang Man! who must defend the planet from invading alien scum. The action takes place on a platform comprised of nine squares. Bang Man! is dropped down onto the platform and then he is followed by aliens and weapon drops.

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You can move left and right as well as jump. With a single life your aim is to stay on the platform as long as possible without falling off or getting killed by aliens. The aliens randomly drop in one and a time and come in four varieties.

Small yellow square, fat red rectangle, tall pink rectangle and big green square. Each of these requires different timing in order to jump over them. A single touch of an alien is all it takes to kill Bang Man!

Once on the platform an alien will proceed to move back and forth from one end to the other. The longer they stay alive the faster they get. The speed of the aliens is communicated to you by arrows on the platform. They start off at zero arrows and increase in speed until they reach nine arrows. The faster they get the harder they are to dodge. Also the speed of the aliens doesn’t reset with each new alien.

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Bang Man! must constantly move and jump to avoid the aliens. At the same time you need to keep an eye out for the weapon crates that drop after each alien. These drop in a random location so may require several jumps to avoid the current alien.

Weapon crates also feature a number on the side. Once collected Bang Man! is armed with a gun that he can use to shoot the current alien to keep the planet safe and score some points.

Now here’s the clever bit. The number on the weapon crate translates to how much recoil firing the gun will cause. So a crate with a number 1 will knock Bang Man! back around 1 square. So before you fire you need to ensure Bang Man! has enough space behind him or risk firing yourself off the platform. The recoil number is also the score awarded for that shot if successful.

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Due to the increasing speed of the aliens you need to think fast and constantly change the timing of your jumps. When aliens get close to the top speed you almost need to predict where the next weapon drop will be. Staying alive requires lightning reflexes and a little luck.

If you manage to obtain a weapon crate with a 6 then you have a chance of slowing the aliens back down. The hard part here is to fire the gun safely you need to be two-thirds of the way along the platform. Successfully firing a 6 is tough even on the slower speeds and near impossible when the aliens are going full speed. When you do manage to shoot a 6 it’s unbelievably satisfying and you need to ensure adjust your jump timing again to compensate for the slower speed.

If you’re not careful a game can be over in just a few seconds. A great design decision though is that on death the game instantly restarts. Before you know it you’re into another game and then you glance up at the clock and another hour has gone by.

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When you first start playing a double figure score feels like an achievement. As you play more you feel yourself getting better. Unless you practice a lot you may never obtain a score higher than 50. We’ve sunk countless hours into the game and at time of writing were sat in second place on the iOS leaderboards with 173.

We’ve played Bang Man! significantly more than any other game so far this year. It’s easy to pick up and incredibly hard to put down. The difficulty is infuriating at times and the game has unlocked swearing abilities we didn’t know we were capable of. However if like us you enjoy a challenge and love chasing leaderboards then Bang Man! is absolutely essential.

Bang Man! is available for free for iOS via the App Store and Android devices via Google Play.

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