Everyday Shooter

A Daily Dose of Shooter Bliss

Everyday Shooter is at once a trip tool, a homage to classic shooters and one of the coolest one-man projects you'll ever play.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: October 11, 2007
Knock Sony all you want for some of their missteps with the PlayStation 3, but there's no doubt that they're seriously embracing indie development, helping to coax small teams (as in the case of Thatgamecompany with flOw or the one man show of Jonathan Mak's Queasy Games debut with Everyday Shooter. More a labor of love and a demonstration of what one man can do than a full-blown high-budget shooter, ES is such an obvious tribute to some of the best moments in gaming that it's impossible not to love it.

Despite the name, Everyday Shooter isn't exclusively a shooter. It's more of an interactive album, and though it might initially seem like the things you're doing in the game have a bearing on what's going on musically, you're really just trying to survive while the song plays from beginning to end while you kick off a bunch of semi-related sound effects. In between that time, you'll see tributes to specific games, but really it's a homage to certain styles of play, right down to the bullet ballets of the more modern shooters out there.

I've little doubt that some folks will throw this game around as an example of "games as art" and some form of modern expression and in that I won't argue; it's a great concept that does indeed straddle a couple of mediums, but at its core this is a game, and a damned fun one too. Though the different stages aren't exactly linked by musical or gameplay style, they do share the over-arching goal of collecting little nibblets that are used as currency for the various unlockables accessed from the main menu.

At first, the attraction seems to be just unlocking new modes, most of which are just throwing new effects onto the screen (though they are admittedly pretty cool looking), but you'll find a remixing of the "tracks" of the game, and for the first playthroughs at least, the much-needed ability to top out your number of lives. Given that the game can become insanely tough at times, the extra lives give you a real goal as you move through the octet of tracks in the album. Moreover, they introduce the game's biggest draw: chains.

See, just shooting objects will only cough up so many little nibblets. To make the big money, you'll have to shoot enemies that explode and catch bigger enemies in their destructive wake. It's most obvious in the Every Extend-inspired first level, but what's really engaging about the whole game is that each level plays completely differently and requires re-learning what you're supposed to do to get those chain going. Sure, you can survive -- for a while -- by just blasting stuff like a normal twin-stick shooter, but to really make it through the whole game, you'll have to use your noggin.

And really, this is what makes Everyday Shooter fun. Just trying to work out exactly what Mak has built into each level while enjoying the music and just taking in the almost synesthesia-inducing mix of trippy, low-fi visuals and electric guitar effects and soundtrack produces an at times intoxicatingly addictive experience, and it's one that even if you're as straight edge as they come will find plenty of mileage in the $10 bucks the game costs to download. If you aren't on the straight and narrow, ES is the greatest thing since Rez, and really does deserve to be picked up on the sheer merits of how fun it can be while you're in an altered state.

There you have it, a game that unites clean, sober folks and dirty hippies alike. Such is the power of a Queasy Game.
The Verdict