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Game Info:

Explottens
Developed By: We.R.play
Published By: We.R.play
Released: June 2017 (Early Access); September 14, 2019 (Apple Arcade)
Available On: iOS, macOS, Windows
Genre: Shoot ‘em up
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single player
Price: $4.99

Thank you We.R.play for providing us with a preview code!

What a funny title, Explottens. Rolls off the tongue very well. This interesting shoot ‘em up comes from Pakistani developer We.R.play. I like seeing and experiencing video games from places you wouldn’t expect them to come from. Explottens stars Captain K.I.T as he leads his group of sky-soaring kitties to take out the devious K.L.A.W organization in intense dogfights. (Or”cat”fights in this case.)

Explottens starts almost immediately with an interesting tutorial to get used to the rather simple controls. Despite it being a flying shoot ‘em up, it takes more from a twin-stick shooter. Controls are very simple with the standard WASD for movement, the mouse for aiming, shooting, and dodging, and the V key for special abilities. They respond well in combat and feel good to maneuver with, but I did have a few issues when navigating menus—sometimes, clicks fail to register. Explottens also doesn’t seem to support gamepads as far as I’m aware.

After the tutorial, the main menu is shown where you can start up the game or mess with the options. A world map is displayed where Captain K.I.T accesses the levels or the shop where various weapon types, planes, and sidekicks can be bought. Weapons range from the standard straight bullets, a short-ranged cone spread of bullets, a laser, a piercing weapon called the atomizer, and rockets. Sub-weapons consist of a short-ranged flamethrower, an orbiting set of plasma balls that protect you from gunfire, and a gun that shoots backward. Each of these sub-weapons also determines what your special ability is too. All of the previously mentioned weapons can be upgraded with coins earned through the stages.

Explottens
Highlights:

Strong Points: Quick to pick up and play; cool presentation and style
Weak Points: Unbalanced difficulty settings; a couple of crashes/soft locks; Steam version seems to be behind compared to the Apple Arcade version
Moral Warnings: Lots of aerial combat with explosions everywhere; main character says “Oh we are f-” before it cuts out; main antagonist is a magician who uses magic mixed with technology

Thirty stages in total exist within Explottens with three difficulty settings comprising of easy, medium, and hard. There’s a sense of imbalance within each difficulty setting and it’s not because each of them determines how many hits K.I.T can take or dish out, but the number of coins and experience earned. Easy, of course, earns the least amount of coins and experience while medium doubles what you get. Hard doubles even what you would earn on medium. If you spend too much time on hard and want to go down to medium or easy for a few levels, going back to hard makes it even more difficult due to the missing experience and upgrades you would have acquired otherwise. This potentially means that a bit of grinding may have to happen in earlier levels just to make up for the lost power.

Hard mode can be very punishing because enemies, especially bosses, take a lot of damage in the earlier levels whereas the smallest mistake can mean failure. However, any coins and experience earned within the levels stick around so hard mode can eventually be conquered with sheer tenacity. I’d probably recommend starting with medium, then coming back to hard as a pseudo-new game plus, unless you’re just really good at shoot ‘em ups. This may possibly be influenced by mobile games as those typically encourage people to grind levels/stages for the harder difficulties.

Levels are meant to be picked up and played as the shortest levels don’t even last 30 seconds while the longest levels are just barely above two minutes. I feel this style works very well for a shoot ‘em up as there never has to be a commitment to this experience. If you wanna just sit down and knock out a few levels in a few minutes, then go right ahead. More mobile influences can be felt through Explottens (even though I believe this was released for the PC platforms first) with the fast-paced nature and large UI interface.

I’m not too sure if We.R.Play has ever heard of SWAT Kats before, but I get a lot of vibes of that show from this game. Both have anthropomorphic feline characters, the protagonists are cats who fly planes and jets, both have a rockin’ soundtrack, and both have the story centered around a maniacal villain who uses both technology and magic to take over the world. Either they are also people of culture or it's just the biggest coincidence ever. The soundtrack consists of guitars and guitar riffs that sound nice and fit thematically. There aren't a huge amount of tracks available, but they’ll mostly get drowned out by the loud sound effects so I never felt it getting repetitive. The sound effects pack a lot of boom. My personal favorite is the laser sound effect with a nice charging sound that unleashes a powerful bang.

Explottens
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay 15/20
Graphics 7/10
Sound 8/10
Stability 4/5
Controls 4/5

Morality Score - 85%
Violence 7/10
Language 9/10
Sexual Content 10/10
Occult/Supernatural 6.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical 10/10

The cats themselves and the art style is cute, cheery, and colorful. It has a very cartoon-like style to it with a mix of chibi too. They are simple and do the job. The portraits for the characters are in a bit more detail, with a somewhat rougher appearance. The environments are diverse and you’ll see bright clear skies and cloudy volcano environments through the thirty levels.

However, I did come across a few bugs. On the final level, I did witness one crash, although I’m not too sure what caused it. I wasn’t able to replicate it again. On the Spider Cat level, sometimes a soft lock happens when there is a phase that happens where you’re supposed to destroy a group of enemies. One of these enemies just walks off-screen to the abyss, putting the boss fight in an incomplete state. Other than those two instances, those were the only major bugs I noticed.

In terms of moral warnings, they are pretty few and far between. Explottens is primarily aerial combat with explosions everywhere. During one boss fight, Captain K.I.T says “Oh we are f-” before being cut off by the boss fight. As stated previously, the main antagonist and leader of K.L.A.W is a magician who uses magic mixed with technology.

Now, I enjoyed my time with Explottens. It’s a fast-paced and high-speed shoot ‘em up. It’s competent in what it does, even if it doesn’t innovate on the genre. Anyone of any skill level can play, and the morality of it is nothing that most kid shows haven’t already seen. Despite Explottens being a good game, I cannot recommend purchasing it—if you have access to the Apple Arcade versions that is. Steam is behind in terms of updates as compared to Apple which features a survival mode, and a whole new set of levels with unique boss battles. There also seems to be radio silence for the Steam version as the last update was sometime in January of last year. This makes Explottens on Apple Arcade the superior one in terms of content. If you still decide to buy Explottens on Steam (or if that's your only option) as it's still a perfectly serviceable game and sold at a good price, just keep in mind that what you're getting into is essentially an "outdated" product.

About the Author

Cinque Pierre

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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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