Enemy Mind is a 2D sidescrolling shooter with a twist: you don't have a ship of your own. Instead, you control other ships, doing as much damage as you can until you're nearly dead, or out of bullets... then, you just jump out into another ship.
Pretty simple, huh? Well, with a decent variety of enemies, it creates some chaotic situations! It also has an interesting way of telling the story, although it's not very accessible for most people (as it requires you noticing it, and then replaying a lot of it).
I'll say right away that I've had a lot of fun with it! I think it's an unique addition to the genre and certainly worth trying out if you like these kind of games.
There's isn't all that much to say about presentation
. It's clearly inspired by the older 8/16bit era, but it's a modernized version of it, with cool visual effects. It manages to stand on its own and not relying purely on nostalgia to look appealing.
Every ship is distinguishable, which is needed for the player to know who to control at certain times. One problem I had, at times, is the blending between the bullets and the backgrounds. It didn't happen too often, but I did get killed a few times from bullets I couldn't see.
was actually pretty awesome! It's also very modern sounding chiptunes. It packs a punch! Definitely get the soundtrack if you can, it's awesome, and adds to the whole atmosphere of the game.
Now, about the game itself, starting with structure
You go through 8 levels, each subdivided into several waves. You have several lives, and you can gain more with combos, but once you deplete them all, you only go back to the beginning of the wave, having the chance to keep going from that point onwards with your score reset to 0.
This makes the game forgiving for those who simply want to beat it, leaving the challenge for the score-attack audience, which is a great way of doing things, in my opinion!
With that said, it still has a few challenging waves, and the game doesn't save your progress regarding the waves. You need to beat each level in one sitting (which isn't really a problem, since the levels aren't very long). At the end of each level, you'll see your place on the Leaderboards, with the surrounding players.
In this case, I want to write about story-telling
. Not a very common aspect that I take notice of, especially in an arcade game!
But they've done it in an interesting way, so here it is...
The game has 2 races in war, and you can possess ships from both. At the end of each wave, you'll get a short exposition, from the perspective of the race you're in control of. At the end of the level, the same happens, with a longer exposition.
This means that to uncover the whole story of the game, you can't just go head first and shoot everything. It makes you fit the story pieces together, little by little. There are people on the community hub doing this and taking screenshots of the different plot scenes, if you're interested.
While this is a confusing way of doing story (and will leave you with barely anything if you don't make an effort to uncover it), it's understandable. In this genre, the story isn't very important. Most players will care about beating the levels, not the backstory. However, if you're not like that, you have a little extra! Not caring doesn't diminish your enjoying of the game, but caring does certainly enhance it, so it's great!
Finally, let's talk about the mechanics
. There's isn't all that much to say about it, really.
As I said before, you can take control of enemy ships, and you can shoot, and move around. That's pretty much it.
Each ship has very limited ammo, so it constantly keeps you switching around. And each type of ship also has diferent movement/speed, and shooting patterns (some shoot all around, some are stationary turrets, some shoot vertically, some are stuck to the edges/ground, etc.).
It's up to the player to evaluate each wave and act accordingly. It's generally not too difficult, with a few exceptions.
The Boss fights were also a good change of pace, although 2 of them were recycled in a slightly harder version. I won't spoil the last Boss, but I'll say that it was a pretty fun fight!
The downside (for some) is that going through the campaign once will probably not take you longer than 3 hours. But, in addition to the campaign (that you can easily replay, trying out different ships, piecing the story together, etc.) they also provide extra modes that you unlock through the campaign. One is an Arcade Mode, one is Boss Rush, once is a Rock Simulator (yes, you control a meteorite), an early prototype of the game, a flappy bird clone, and the Credits sequence (yes, you can shoot the developers!).
So yeah. If you're into this sort of games, you have my whole-hearted recommendation! I really enjoyed playing through it, and there's certainly more content to keep you entertained, aside from the core campaign.
Really cool game, well done!