Ever wonder what might happen if a group of pets were sent out to space? Well, wonder no longer, because this is the premise of B.Ark, a side-scrolling shooter set in space and starring a crew of furry friends. After an attack from the devious Dark Tide, the human astronauts eject the pets from the ship in an escape pod before being captured by a giant robotic squid. The quartet forms B.Ark and begins a battle to take back the Solar System and save their humans.
B.ark is a shoot ‘em up, to put it simply, one designed for younger players (and maybe their parents). The story is simple and cute. The designs are fun and a little silly, from the main heroes to the enemies, which include a big, salty narwhal, among other oceanic baddies. Each character has a backstory that becomes unlocked as you play, and it’s heartwarming to see how much the animals and humans love each other.
You choose one of the four animals to play as: Barker the dog, Felicity the cat, Lucio the bear, or Marv the rabbit. Each animal has a special ability, such as a shield or powerful attack, that is charged as you destroy enemies and obstacles. Each stage usually consists of two mini-bosses and a final boss, with plenty of small enemies in between. You can choose between normal and hard (and later, insane) difficulty, so no matter what, you’ll feel challenged. I love these types of games and play them pretty often, but the hard mode gave me a tough time. Be prepared for a challenge with this one!
Each of the pets has a special ability that charges as you play. For some, like Felicity the cat, it gives you a more powerful attack that dispatches enemies quickly. Others, like Lucio the Bear, it gives you a temporary shield that makes you impervious to attacks. There’s lots of opportunities to see what style of play works best for you. You can destroy all the enemies or try to avoid their attacks and only fight the bosses.
As you navigate each level, you’ll find power-ups and health packs hidden around. The power-ups are great for filling the gauge for your special ability or randomly increasing your attack power, so gathering them is essential to making it through. You may also find friends to save along the way; sometimes, picking them up will allow you to use a combo attack briefly. Try to help them out when you can!
Local multiplayer gameplay is also available. Up to four can play at once, helping each other defeat enemies while also competing for the high score. Playing with friends really helps when you hit insane mode, so if you’re looking for a game that’s easy to learn, frustratingly fun, and will cause some friendly competition, B.Ark might just be the game for your group.
B.Ark isn’t your average astronomical shoot ‘em up, but one both young and experienced shooting fans can enjoy together. It’s full of challenging gameplay that lets you try out a number of play styles, so it will fit almost anyone who picks it up. It has creative characters with interesting stories that will keep you playing to learn more while local co-op option lets you to have a fur-ociously good time with friends. Whether you’re in it for action or to see some adorable furry friends, this intergalactic adventure won’t disappoint.