Assault Android Cactus is an intense arcade style twin stick shooter - pick from one of nine unique synthetic heroines and blast your way through overwhelming robots hordes to save the ship from its own workforce. Supports single player and local co-op game modes.
User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (609 reviews) - 97% of the 609 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 23, 2015

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Recent updates View all (41)

October 19, 2015

7.10.19 Update - small fixes



Features
  • Spectre texture improvements
  • Embryo, Vespula and Justice interpolate their motion better
  • Minor internal performance improvements
  • Mouse and Keyboard users in co-op can locate their character with the Home key

Fixes and Changes
  • fixed inconsistencies when Leaderboards are set to Disabled - local ranks are retained
  • fixed rare case where certain enemies could get stuck in an unresponsive state immediately after spawning
  • fixed case where Boss music wouldn't transition at the start of combat when HUD was disabled through EX Options and their dialogue was skipped

Known Issues
  • Launching the game in Big Picture mode on OSX can result in a crash when the Steam overlay box first appears. Until the issue is resolved, the work-around is to avoid launching through Big Picture mode or disable the Steam overlay

Coming Soon
  • Additional language support

3 comments Read more

October 7, 2015

7.10.15 Update - features and fixes



Features
  • Soundtrack now includes FLAC - anyone with this DLC will find an additional directory inside their game directory
  • Credits are now earned on Battery Depleted (stage loss) during the campaign and when restarting / quitting stages
  • Credit earning rate has increased slightly
  • (Windows / OSX) Gamepad disconnection detection - the game will attempt to pause and offer a chance to reconnect the controller or migrate to a new control device
  • In co-op, if a player other than Player 1 pauses the game, the pause menu will say who it is so you can yell at them to unpause the game and keep playing
  • added an Accessibility menu under Options
    • Fire Mode - able to switch to Inverse fire. The character will fire their gun all the time and only stop when the fire button is held - intended for anyone experiencing discomfort from holding the trigger for long periods
    • Colour Filter - filters that may increase game readability for players with limited colour perception (this is an experimental feature)
    • Enemy Hit Flash - to reduce the intensity of the white flash effect on enemies
    • Screen Shake - to restrict screen shudder to Events (eg, stage transformations, boss introductions) or disable it completely
  • Small adjustment to battery frequency and Boss hitpoints when in 3 and 4 player
  • Small adjustments to Phase 4 of the last boss
  • Added a command line workaround for Windows 10 users who are experiencing phantom controllers and are not in a position to fix the underlying issue. Adding -p:1 to SET LAUNCH OPTIONS... will restrict the game to a single player

Fixes and Changes
  • Consistent enemy spawn rules for all screen dimensions. Extended resolutions (super wide screen) may experience enemy pop-in on some stages, but will now function normally without setting the -screens:# command line property (this command line argument can still be used to position the HUD better for multi monitor users)
  • Failing Boss Rush will no longer present the enigmatic "Play Advice" text
  • Attract Mode will no longer earn Achievements for you
  • Restarting a level after being Battery Depleted will no longer sometimes mute the gameplay sound effects
  • Fixed some cases where the Vorpal Blade could leave level bounds or place the character inside geometry
  • Fixed missing sound on Autoturret in Control (5-2)
  • On beating the game and watching the ending sequence through, the mouse cursor will no longer be hidden on returning to main menu when playing with Mouse and Keyboard
  • Avatar silhouettes won't show during stage enter animations, even when the character clips the ground slightly in a totally-not-a-big-deal kind of way

Coming Soon
  • Additional language support

13 comments Read more

Reviews

“Chaotic, polished, packed with variety and effortlessly charming”
8.8 / 10 – IGN

“Please play Assault Android Cactus”
11 / 10 – Midnight Resistance

“The most remarkable twin-stick shooter of all time”
10 / 10 – Save Continue

Steam Box Ready

About This Game

When you're running on battery, make every second count!

Assault Android Cactus is an arcade style twin stick shooter set in a vivid sci fi universe. Junior Constable Cactus is outside her pay grade when she responds to a distress call and ends up stranded on a crippled space freighter under attack by its own robot workers.

Utilising a draining battery mechanic in place of lives, Assault Android Cactus challenges you to think fast and keep the bullets flying, blending the gameplay of western styled arena shooters with aspects of Japanese style bullet hell as you charge head first through transforming stages, massive boss battles and an eclectic cast of characters on the way to saving the day.

Key Features
  • 9 playable androids, each with a distinct play style and personality
  • 25 stage campaign spread across five areas of the ship, face down giant bosses, earn characters and uncover the story of the Genki Star
  • Dive into the Infinity Drive to test your skill and endurance or challenge the Daily Drive to pit your wits against the community
  • Supports keyboard or joypad and 1 to 4 players with local co-op
  • Unlock game modifying EX options, Codex entries, artwork and more for wrecking robots

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Core i5
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTX 460 or AMD Radeon HD6850
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 1 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Lion
    • Processor: Intel Dual Core
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Mountain Lion
    • Processor: Intel Quad Core
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5870
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or Equivalent
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Intel HD 4000
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • Processor: Core i5
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia GTX 460
    • Storage: 2 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
68 of 68 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
19.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 28, 2015
Geometry Wars has company. Assault Android Cactus is quite the score based twin stick arena shooter. The game also supports mouse and keyboard. I've tried both controller and keyboard and each method of control is more than precise enough for this genre.

Multiple characters are available, four initially and five unlock-able, each with different load outs and each requiring their own strategy for you to perfect, and I do mean perfect. Every little detail in Assault Android Cactus has been methodically thought out and implemented by the veteran developers and it is up to the player to not only play but observe and learn the characters and arenas in order to maximize scores. The Austrailian developer team's lineage has roots in Midway, Electronic Arts, Sega and Professional Gaming Leagues.

The ranking system is of the D to S / S+ variety. In AAC, to maximize scores, it is not only about dispatching enemies as quickly as possible but how you dispatch them. Maintaining chains is paramount. Strategy is important and seeing players with 100+ hours in the game speaks volumes of depth and replay-ability.

AAC features a battery mechanic, essentially an energy charging pickup that prevents death. In simple terms, your battery runs out and it's the scrap heap for you. Hits alone will not explicitly kill you but will make your demise imminent if you accrue too many. The player character has a limited number of recharging hit points of which a count of zero will render the player incapacitated requiring resuscitation by mashing the fire button. When rendered incapacitated you will lose some of the energy pellets you've been accumulating to power level your weapons resulting in a powered down weapon and ruining any chance for leader board supremacy.

The game spawns not only batteries but a power-up, one of three types. Speed, companion orbs to accelerate weapon discharge and stasis. Not all types are optimal for every situation or every character in every arena. The three types will rotate in place until the type you desire is picked up.

AAC features a twenty five stage campaign encompassing five themed levels made of five arenas with difficulty increasing with progression. AAC is high intensity, very challenging and will require a degree of dedication in order to maximize efficiency. Arenas may contain environmental obstacles and will on occasion morph. Each of the themed levels is capped with a very challenging boss battle. Boss battles are typically multi layered and require advanced pattern recognition. In addition to the campaign, there are additional modes such as survival, daily and local coop with up to four players. Coop games are also recorded on the leader-boards. Locally, game pads and mouse / keyboard combinations may be mixed on the same computer.

I mentioned Geometry Wars. The spawns in the AAC, both battery and power-ups are designed to encourage aggressive game-play. Having played my share of Geometry Wars, obsessively battling for score dominance with a lovely friend of mine, I'm reminded of a similar design. Baiting the player to take risks to maximize scores but yet encourage mastery by rewarding success with ascension up the leader boards. From experience in both games you might think that you've achieved your score goal only to stare in disbelief at the final total. One more time ......... and so it goes.
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57 of 65 people (88%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
3.7 hrs on record
Posted: October 5, 2015
If this game had online co op then I'd play nothing else but this.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
35 of 36 people (97%) found this review helpful
5 people found this review funny
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 29, 2015
My first playthrough of the game was with my 7 year old daughter and from start to finish, we had a great time. At first, it felt brutal and maybe too hard for a 7 year old but it felt rewarding with every attempt as we both got better at the game with every try. About 15 minutes in, we knew how to play and started dying less and making more progress. We faced our first boss together and it took a few tries but we beat him and it was satisfyingly hard.

I'm rating this up because not only is the game style cute and over the top action packed for my taste but my 7 year old enjoys it and it got us some pretty good time together. We're taking a break because we have company coming over but we both look forward to playing more Assault Android Cactus either with them or alone after they leave. It's hard to find a game both parents and children can enjoy together and this might be one of them.

Thanks!
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51 of 68 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
17.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 23, 2015
Early Access Review
Nearly two years ago, my then-managing editor Jaz Rignall pointed me in the direction of an intriguing-looking Early Access game on Steam called Assault Android Cactus. After taking a peek at the pre-alpha build, I began corresponding with Mr Sanatana Mishra from developer Witch Beam Games, and it transpired that the game would be on show at the then-new Eurogamer Expo (now known as EGX). Since I was heading to EGX anyway, I made an appointment to meet with Mishra and have a chat about the game, and in the meantime I familiarised myself a little more with the early build.

When I first heard about Assault Android Cactus, I wasn’t sure what to think. On paper, it sounds like any number of games that bloat Steam’s marketplace daily — it’s an arcade-style twin-stick shooter inspired by retro classics — but it quickly became apparent from playing through the limited number of levels in the early build that there was actually something quite special taking shape here. This feeling was further compounded when I eventually made it to the Eurogamer Expo and had a thoroughly enjoyable chat with Mishra about the game and the team’s plans for it in the long-term — to cut a long story short, it was apparent that Witch Beam was a small team who were absolutely dedicated to making Cactus the best experience it could possibly be, and to creating a truly authentic Dreamcast-style experience heavily inspired by the masters of Japanese shoot ’em ups like Treasure, Cave and their ilk.

Since I first gave Cactus its glowing write-up on USgamer, I’ve checked in on the Early Access build numerous times as it’s developed, and regularly talked about how much I like it. I’ve also kept in touch with Mishra and the rest of the team at Witch Beam via Twitter, and it’s been a genuine pleasure to witness the passion they’ve been pouring into their project. It’s been a long and slow road to release for the game, but it's finally here.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Mishra containing a beta code for the full review build of Assault Android Cactus’ full version as a “thank you” for the support I’ve shown them over the last couple of years. Touched by this thoroughly nice gesture of appreciation, I made a point of immediately downloading the new build and playing it for a good few hours. And it seems my early impressions were very much correct: Assault Android Cactus is something very special indeed, and if it doesn’t end up taking its rightful place of honour alongside modern arcade classics like Ikaruga, DoDonPachi, Geometry Wars and their ilk, something is very, very wrong.

For the unfamiliar, Assault Android Cactus is, as previously mentioned, a twin-stick shooter. There’s a few twists on the usual formula, though: the right stick just aims rather than shoots, for one, so you have to actually pull the trigger to fire, while the left trigger swaps between your chosen character’s main and secondary weapon. Main weapons have unlimited ammunition; secondary weapons have a cooldown before they can be used again, but tend to be considerably more powerful.

Another major twist on the formula is the fact that there’s no lives system, with the challenge factor instead coming from a time limit represented by the characters’ declining battery charge. Blowing up a wave of enemies allows you to collect a recharge item, while getting knocked down wastes time and battery charge as well as costing you some points, so avoiding getting hit is a very important part of going for high scores. The battery system proved to be a controversial addition to the game when it was first put in place, but it’s now such an integral part of the game structure that it’s difficult to imagine Assault Android Cactus without it. It ensures the game strikes a good balance between accessibility for casual players and rewarding skilful play from the people who know what “1CC” stands for.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of Cactus’ gameplay is its selectable characters, who are gradually unlocked as you progress through the main series of levels. Far from just being different skins, each of the playable android characters handles uniquely, with very different main and secondary weapons allowing you to play in different ways. Title character Cactus is the most straightforward, boasting a simple machine gun and short-range flamethrower combination, while Aubergine is one of the more peculiar offerings due to her main weapon being an independently controlled helicopter drone and her secondary weapon being the ability to summon a quantum singularity and suck everything into it. The way the different characters play is one area where Witch Beam has clearly taken inspiration from classic Japanese shoot ’em ups, since many of these have selectable ships with different weapon setups. There’s a huge amount of creativity in the way the characters play, though, and it’s a real pleasure to get a handle on how some of the more outlandish characters work. (I still have no idea how to use Aubergine effectively, mind.)

Another interesting aspect is in the level design. Cactus could have easily been a straightforward arena shooter, but instead the levels show a great deal of variety in their structure. While they all have the same goal — destroy all the enemies — some of them take place in a confined space; some of them unfold in an arena that changes shape over time; some of them are in levels that force you to move from one place to another. One particularly memorable one scrolls infinitely in every direction, with checkerboard floor tiles flipping up and down according to which direction you’re going; the backdrops are always interesting and exciting to look at as much as the main action is.

Cactus’ long-term appeal comes from the same place as other arcade-style shooters: score attack. Completing a level immediately shows you a leaderboard as well as a letter grade, with the elusive “S+” rank being reserved for those who chained all of the enemies in a level into a single combo, didn’t die and were generally a bit of a superstar. After attaining an S+ rank, you unlock “Pro Mode”, which puts an on-screen indicator on your HUD showing whether or not it’s still possible to attain an S+ on the level you’re playing; you can also quickly restart a level if you make a mistake along the way somewhere.

The ranking system has been well thought out. Levels are designed so that you can “learn” them, much like a bullet hell shooter, and attaining the best ranks is dependent on you figuring out these enemy patterns, how to avoid their attacks and how to ensure that you’re always on the offensive to keep your combo active. Bosses are similar, unfolding across several learnable phases, with the boss’ health bar clearly showing where there’s a phase transition so you can ensure you’re in an advantageous position ahead of time.

If you’re not in the mood for score attack, though, some Sega-inspired “EX options” allow you to play the game in various different ways. You can try the game in first-person, for example, or from a fixed isometric perspective rather than the dynamic camera angles of the regular game — though both of these options disable the leaderboards. There are also several graphical filter options — including an entertaining “JJ Mode”, which spooges lens flare and bloom all over the screen for an incredibly colourful experience — as well as options for having AI players alongside you or taking on co-op enemy waves with just a single player.

In short, if you’re a fan of arcade-style shooters and you’re looking for something entertaining to feed your virtual quarters into, Assault Android Cactus is pretty much an essential purchase.
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24 of 25 people (96%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
87.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 24, 2015
Here's what you need to know.

The basic robot-shooting gameplay is practically flawless. The controls are sharp, with both gamepad and mouse / keyboard working just fine (although I personally find using a gamepad much more fun). There's no ammo or need to reload, meaning you can put out a never-ending barrage of firepower against the constant stream of enemies. Visual design is superb, with all the robots having distinct looks, making it easy to remember and react to their attack patterns in the middle of the chaos. Despite the ridiculous number of exploding robots on screen, I never find it overwhelming - everything reads well and the times when you die to something you didn't have a clear warning about are very rare. The battery system (which is effectively a timer + checkpoint system, with a bit of a twist) keeps the pace up and forces you to be aggressive.

Sound design is great too. Audio cues are easy to pick up on (such as the "woop woop" when you reach low health, or the little "tink" when your secondary weapon recharges), even while having your face melted off by the soundtrack.

All the little details feel right - the speed at which the power ups cycle, the range at which you can collect the weapon orb things, the time it takes for the secondary weapons to reacharge - and it all comes together to make a game that is just plain fun.

On top of all that, the difficulty curve is handled well. There's a smooth progression from playing just to clear levels, onto playing for S+ ranks (along with a robot voice saying "S plus!" that makes you feel special inside), onto playing for pure score on the leaderboards. There are no real difficulty spikes - by the time you've cleared most of the levels, getting the top rank on the first stage is easy, and from there you can just keep going.

Having said that, I do have a couple if issues with the game, the only one worth mentioning here is that I don't think it works very well in co-op mode if you have a bit of a skill mismatch. Due to the battery mechanic, every member of the team needs to contribute to killing robots as fast as possible in order to reach the next battery drop. If you have a less experienced player who falls behind, it's not like you can wait for them to catch up - the other players need to immediately pick up the slack by killing robots even faster. While this is possible, it's no fun for the player at the bottom, as they will be constantly dying, having their weapon level lowered, being unable to keep up with the damage, and then dying again.

In single-player, however, this is a game that I can recommend unequivocally if you have any interest in fast arcade games.
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