Project Root is what you would get if you combined a shoot-em-up with a (somewhat) mindless experience in the likes of Galaga. You play as a rebel who is fighting in his spacecraft against a worldwide evil corporation. Using a combination of regular air-to-air bullets and air-to-ground missiles, your objectives consist of destroying targets and/or escorting friendlies. Released as a new-gen title, this new shooter promises a lot, but delivers little.

Like many top-down shooters before it, you’ll be fighting plenty of enemies that will almost always swarm you. Many are easily destroyed, though there are quite a few that can take and dish out a lot of damage. OPQAM, the developer of Project Root, designed the game to be very challenging, though the ways in which that is accomplished seem almost cheap. Due to the free-roaming nature of the game, you have to be aware of your enemies’ location at all times, as well as where you’re going. Keeping track of where all the shots are coming from is essential, as getting taken down from behind by shots you couldn’t see until it was too late can be super frustrating. The radar isn’t very helpful at first, but starts to make sense the more you play.

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Special abilities come down to a variety of pickups which can be pretty useful, but seem to drop when you least need them. These include two types of missile variants, a laser beam, an EMP explosion that destroys all enemy fire, health replenishes, extra lives, and a mini-shield. All are useful for different things and you can only carry one special weapon at a time. A leveling up system is in place to allow you to spend points on your ship and improve it, though in my experience they don’t tend to help as much as I’d like.

Each level takes between twenty minutes to an hour, though this can depend on player’s skill level. The levels also feature alternate objectives that seem to provide more extra lives and power-ups which can be useful for surviving the final objectives. Speaking of extra lives, there are no checkpoints on the maps, meaning once you’re out of lives you must start from the beginning of the mission. Despite the unbalanced difficulty curve, the game is particularly satisfying once you’ve beaten a mission. It really feels like you had to overcome all odds to win.

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Story-wise though, I found it particularly hard to figure out, as the short briefing at the end of each mission was all I was able to piece together. The in-mission dialogue is frequently played while you’re in the middle of the action, forcing you to split your attention three different ways if you actually want to know what’s going on. The dialogue is also riddled with grammatical errors, reminiscent of 1991’s Zero Wing “All your base are belong to us.” The graphics in Project Root are decent, though considering it’s intended to be a next-generation game, they’re nothing spectacular. Explosions look pretty good, and if you’re into Michael Bay movies you’ll love how frequent they are.

In conclusion, Project Root has a good amount of potential, and if some of the small things were addressed it could be a fun game. Due to a lacking story and gameplay problems, it’s nearly impossible to recommend, not to mention the large amount of bugs and technical issues the developers still need to root out.


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