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Brothers Teddy and Kenny Lee of Cellar Door Games are at it again, with an "indie coop rpg life pool music based rhythm shooter bullet hell with bullet time." That's how Teddy describes Bullet Audyssey. The team recently put the polish on its IGF 2012 entry and has made it available to play on Newgrounds.

Understated, Bullet Audyssey is a boss-rush shmup with an overhead map and RPG elements. Players absorb enemy fire to shoot or to slow time down in a fight. When players unlock the overcharge power, the game rewards using a turn-based strategy. If players absorb the maximum amount of bullets, the damage will multiply (and the shots literally grow larger) the longer one shoots a continuous stream. Players can also anticipate the length of the song and the bullet heavy portions of the stage with the visualizer below the boss's health.

Playing through stages builds the ship's bullet damage, overcharge ability, and hit points. Players can replay stages in which they have lost some of their stock (allies) to get it back for harder stages. Perfect runs in each stage seem to net bonus bullet damage (I've gotten a few so far). My first secret item, which I found on Cepheus 3, unlocked a two player mode! I can't guarantee that they will all be that momentous, but the items themselves add a layer of replayability.

Bullet Audyssey's controls are tight, the gameplay expands interestingly, and the music is high energy. The boss damage sound effects are a little suspect, but I think they were chosen to parody those old school SFX from turn-based RPGs. Overall, Cellar Door Games' new entry is an easy recommendation for me. Bullet Audyssey awaits those wanting a fun, meaningful shmup/RPG hybrid. Those who want to hear what Cellar Door has to say about its game can click to continue reading.

Teddy Lee expands on some design choices:

For the damage sound effect, I guess you could say we were inspired by Secret of Mana. Or at least, when we talked about it, we used Secret of Mana as a reference point. But really, we just found the best sound effects on the internet that we could find and used those.

As for inspiration, well, when we were finishing our last game Villainous there was a competition on Kongregate for who could make the best music related song. And what happened is that the site got flooded with these games which would "dynamically" change to the music. But for a lot of these games, there was always this disconnect between what was happening in the song, and what was happening on screen. Like, you couldn't tell whether the games were actually reading the song, or if a randomizer was just going off.

So we wanted to try and tackle the music genre ourselves, and see if we could overcome all those issues. The reason we made a bullet hell? Ummm, no reason for that. We just thought we'd try. We like to challenge ourselves when we make games, and try to bring something new to the table every time we tackle a project.