PlayStation 4
Game Info:

Defenders of Ekron
Developed by: In Vitro Games
Published by: In Vitro Games
Release date: August 15, 2017
Available on: PS4, Windows
Genre: Shoot ‘em up
Number of players:
ESRB Rating: Teen for blood, violence and mild language
Price: $14.99

Thank you In Vitro Games for sending us a review code!

The Technocratic Republic of Ekron is being threatened by a group of renegades promoting a civil war. You play a young pilot named Eneas who is about to undergo training to pilot a mech-like war machine called an Anakim. Each Anakim is different, and yours can deploy a temporary shield and can fire lasers and a charged attack. It can also scan the environment to learn about enemies and their weaknesses.

When you first launch the game you’ll enter a typical shoot ‘em up type of level with smaller enemies and a formidable boss at the end. You’ll have an AI companion who is good to shadow during the boss battle as they seem to know its next move. During these couple of battles you’ll learn the basic controls which consists of the left joystick to move and the right joystick to aim.. The right trigger shoots your primary weapon and the left trigger deploys the shield. Firing the weapons and using the shield uses up energy which is replenished by your ship not using either ability.

Defenders of Ekron

Strong Points: Neat mashup of adventure and shoot ‘em up games
Weak Points: Frustratingly difficult
Moral Warnings: Spaceship violence, haven’t encountered language but I couldn’t get very far into the story

The first two skirmishes are not too challenging and that’s the only break you’ll get in this game. The training and the story missions that follow are tough as nails and will deter any gamers who are looking for a relaxing gaming experience. It took me a couple of gaming sessions to get through the initial training, but I was happy when I completed it. In all honesty this game is more challenging than fun for me.

During the training something goes wrong with your pilot and some modifications have to be made to their Anakim to compensate for their missing skill/ability. Once the story missions begin, your Anakim can collect energy on the battlefield and regenerate health as needed. In total, there are ten stages, but I gave up on the first one.

Besides the story missions, you can partake in over fifty drills/challenges. Each of these drills have objectives like completing it in a certain amount of time, or not taking any damage. You’ll earn a star for each cleared objective. The stars are used to unlock harder skirmishes. Along with honing your skills, you’ll also earn energy canisters which can be used to make upgrades to your Anakim in the hangar.

Defenders of Ekron
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 79%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 88%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Although the Anakim is mech-like in appearance, it looks more like a spaceship since this game is shown in a top down perspective. As far as I can tell, the whole Anakim is vulnerable instead of a small hitbox like many shoot ‘em ups I have played.

The visuals are decent in this game and I like the painted style artwork though it does seem a little rough around the edges at times. The characters look good and their avatars show emotion as they are talking back and forth. Some of the banter between the pilots is humorous at times. Sadly, I couldn’t get far enough into the game to see any foul language. Since the ESRB mentions language, we're basing our moral score on their recommendation. Like many shoot ‘em ups, violence is a given.

Defenders of Ekron is the first title released from In Vitro Games and it’s got a lot of promise and polish. I just wish it wasn’t as hard and I hope that their future titles will offer multiple difficulty levels. The asking price is a reasonable $14.99, but don’t buy it unless you want a punishing difficulty.

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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