Type: Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Developer: Palladium Soft
Release Date: 13 Feb, 2020
Ballistic Craft is a bullet hell game where players are wizards fighting 1v1 encounters in small arenas. During fights, the player can use three different spells (abilities, shots) to damage the enemy opponent, with the possibility of changing the ones equipped at the start of the fight. The big twist, though, is that Ballistic Craft features the possibility to create your own shots, defining the trajectory, number of bullets, dimension, speed and, why not, even the colour.
It’s a kind of magic
In Ballistic Craft battles are fought using bullets, which are gathered in a form of spells that define their shape, speed, trajectory and so on. While this seems pretty straightforward, understanding which spell to use in which moment isn’t easy and, without the proper experience, the quite frenetic fights of the game can become a button smash very similar to that of fighting games. Considering that you can only bring three spells out of the many you have accumulated in the Quest Mode and/or created, choosing a balanced setup can be though, especially if you have more than one favourite spell. Usually there’s the need to bring at least one front shooting spell (the “Simple Shot”, in my case) and one upward shooting spell, useful when trying to damage very defensive opponents that tend to stay a lot behind walls.
On paper the rules are pretty simple, you can jump, dash, shoot and eventually combine these three action for different effects. If you are hit, you can guard by moving the analog stick in the opposite direction (perfect guard, makes you lose less Guard Points). If don’t guard, you lose a little bit of life as well as guard point: when these reach zero, you basically get stunned and are vulnerable to enemy shots. Also, you can’t guard while shooting!
The main feature of the game relies in its editor, which lets the player create his own shots. Like I said before, there are multiple parameters that can be changed when developing a new shot, allowing for great freedom and leaving a lot of space to ideas. The balance in all this is kept by Mana Points (MP): these are consumed every time a shot is cast or the player dashes, leaving him very vulnerable if he runs out of them. Obviously, the more powerful the shot, the more it costs, thus things like speed and number of bullets make the shot more MP hungry.
Overall, the shot creation process works fairly well, both in terms of usability and in terms of balance. This aspect could’ve easily been broken under the balance aspect, but the developers did a good job in working it out.
Besides multiplayer, Ballistic Craft offers a singleplayer mode called “Quest Mode”. In here you’ll fight AI opponent of three different tiers in the corresponding three different tournaments. This mode doesn’t really feature a story and most of the dialogues in it are tutorial or something just a little bit more than placeholders. The real utility of the Quest Mode is that it is a tutorial after the tutorial, making the player accustomed with the game’s mechanics and giving him new shots every time an opponent gets beaten (with a sufficiently high score).
Ballistic Craft is a good action game, especially if you’re looking for fast-paced action in multiplayer matches. Just don’t expect the complex shooting schemes of other bullet hell games, because that is not what Ballistic Craft is about. If you feel particularly creative, you’ll have a lot of fun in developing and trying your own shots, whereas if you’re only interested in fighting, the game has a lot of built-in shot that are ready to use, that is if you can acquire them via Quest Mode, of course!