Evil Factory – Evil Factory can be frustrating, but it’s a cool mash-up of ideas.

A Bit Different

Evil Factory looks sort
of like a shoot-em-up in screen shots, but that’s only half of the story.
Enemies (particularly bosses) do have rather SHMUP-like attacks, but
protagonist/arsonist Leo doesn’t SHMUP back so much as plant explosives and
hope they walk into the blast.

Battle Prep.

Your supplies may be
limited, but they’ll get the job done if you know how to put them to good use.

  • Grab that scrap! Larger enemies will drop
    scrap fairly regularly as you damage them. Make sure you pick these bits and
    pieces up before you exit the level – it won’t disappear if you wait too long,
    so don’t put yourself in danger trying to get it.

  • Scrap sells. Any scrap you collect can be
    sold at the Shop and serves no other function. So turn that stuff in and enjoy
    your cash.

  • Check the Shop regularly. Once every 24 hours
    you’ll get a free supply box with stuff like Blue Coins (for continues and
    whatnot) and money. It’s also a good place to buy a few new weapons, as well as
    the weapon schematics you’ll need to unlock new ordinance.

  • You can upgrade your gear. If you collect
    enough schematics for a given weapon or sub weapon, you can use them (plus some
    cash) to improve things like overall damage and range.

  •  Choose your helmet wisely. You’ll start to
    unlock more helmets as you 100% levels, and each helmet has a different passive
    effect. Figure out which one suits you best and stick with it. Until you find
    something better, anyway.

BOOM Goes the Everything

Forget firearms, Leo’s
all about blowing stuff up. 

  • Be careful of your own attacks. Primary weapons
    like the Dynamite you start with are your main method of taking out enemies,
    but you aren’t immune to those explosions so watch where you step!

  • Lead your targets. Most enemies will follow
    Leo as you move him around. Use this to your advantage – plant explosives, then
    try to draw enemies into them before they blow.

  • When in doubt, let go of the screen. When you
    lift your finger, time will temporarily slow to a crawl. You won’t always have
    enough of a window to get out of harm’s way, but being able to catch your
    breath every now and then is still a big help.

  • Replay levels to unlock new helmets (and
    collect more scrap). You can only earn a new helmet by getting 100%, and those
    requirements will be hidden the first time you play each one, so chances are you’ll
    have to retry a few every now and then to complete the checklist.

  • Know your sub-weapons. The different
    sub-weapons you can unlock all behave a bit differently, but the one common
    trait they all share is limited use. Familiarize yourself with whatever your
    preferred option is – get used to how far it reaches, its rate of fire, etc –
    and don’t forget to use it against the baddies.

Short Fuses

Evil Factory is weird,
and surprisingly tough, but it’s an interesting combination of ideas that works
pretty well in practice. Assuming you’ve got the patience for it, you’ll
probably have a good time.

 

Set the Charges

Going by the screen
shots, I was expecting Evil Factory to be a fairly typical shoot-em-up with
some neat enemy designs. Turns out the SHMUPness is just half of the equation,
with the other half being made up of something akin to Bomberman. I didn’t
quite know what to make of this bizarre union at first, but I’ve definitely
grown to like it. After some initial (and semi-persistent) frustration.

Run for Cover

Our antihero, Leo, is on
a solo mission to destroy a mass-production facility of dubious intent. The
catch is that while his enemies have things like guns and missile launchers and
giant robot penguins, all he has is timed explosives, at least at first.
Regardless, Leo’s primary form of attack is to plant a bomb of some sort and
try to catch the baddies in the blast.

The most immediately
noticeable thing about Evil Factory is how good the enemies look – particularly
the large ones. Leo himself looks alright, and I do appreciate the
interchangeable helmets and how they show up during dialog moments, but the
giant cyborg wolfmen and robot flamethrower soldiers look particularly nice.
You won’t be able to appreciate their designs much as you scramble to not die,
but that’s beside the point.

It took some getting
used to, but I actually like the weird combination of Bomberman-like attacking
and SHMUP-like attack avoidance. If Leo had a typical ranged attack I think the
enemy patterns would be pretty easy to avoid, but the fact that you have to get
up close in order to catch them in a bomb blast makes things quite frantic.
Thankfully you can also temporarily slow down time by letting go of the screen
in order to catch your breath for a moment and figure out where it’s safe to
stand. Most of the time. Of course as with actual SHMUPs you’re dead in one
hit. So, you know, don’t get hit.

The difficulty Evil
Factory presents can be trying at times but I wouldn’t consider it
unreasonable. However, the one-two punch of dying in one hit and having a fuel
meter that’s used to play/restart levels and recharges over time (naturally)
makes the tougher sections way more infuriating. Not because they’re hard, but
because you only have so many attempts before you either have to sit and wait
or use premium currency to refill your fuel. There is an option to eliminate
fuel concerns permanently for a couple real world bucks, and if you find
yourself really enjoying Evil Factory I’d recommend it, but anyone playing for
free is bound to feel their blood boil every once in a while.

Fire in the Hole!

All things considered, a
stamina meter being the only significant problem with Evil Factory is pretty
miraculous. It’s not even that bad, except for that combination of one-hit
kills. I’d encourage anyone who enjoys shoot-em-ups, games like Bomberman, or
weird hybrid games to check it out. And if you really like it, there’s always
the option to pay for infinite fuel – thus negating my one big gripe entirely.
Of course if you’re not into those things, or don’t want to spend real money,
the frustration might end up being a bit too much. Even so, it’s at least worth
a look.


– Review by Rob Rich



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