I’ll be honest, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the first game in the Habroxia series. I found it to be repetitive, visually bland, and too dependent on grinding to be fun. Frankly, it wasn’t the side-scrolling shoot-em-up that I was hoping for. So it was with immense trepidation that I downloaded Habroxia 2 from the PlayStation Store…
As you’d expect from a sci-fi scrolling shoot-em-up, Earth is under attack. Why we’ve upset so many alien races I don’t know. Clearly in the future humanity must have changed into a pretty nasty species to have pissed off so many other races. Either that or we’re just an easy target. Anyway, after saving the Earth from attack and forcing the invaders back to their homeworld in the original game, they’re back 25 years later and just as angry as before.
Taking the role of the protagonist’s daughter from the first game, it’s now up to you to stop the invading forces. But as time has moved on, so has technology and you’ve got a much better arsenal at your disposal to help you to get the job done and save the universe… errr… planet…
Habroxia 2 – What’s New?
Habroxia 2 has undergone a complete overhaul from its predecessor, both in terms of the game engine itself and the way it plays. The first thing that strikes you is the control system. You no longer use a button to fire your primary weapon and instead you have 360 degree firing at your disposal through the use of the right analogue stick to fire. In addition to this, you have a secondary weapon available that recharges continually during play. This can be fired forwards or backwards at one of three power levels (depending on the charge you have).
A choice of weapons are available for this secondary slot, with different ones available for forward and rear firing. It’s down to personal preference and they can be changed for each stage. As before you play each level individually so you can choose which weapon works best for each end of level boss. A third weapon is also available and these are collected during play. These only have a single use and include shields, bombs, high intensity lasers and more although these pickups appear constantly throughout play.
But there’s even more been added to the gameplay than these tweaks to the way it plays. The same upgrade system for your weapons exists as before, requiring you to spend money that you collect during play. But it’s been expanded with more levels of upgrades for each and a few new ways to upgrade your ship. There’s also a number of different paths you can take to complete the game making it much bigger than before. As well as some levels branching out into different routes, there are two specific main paths you can take across the galaxy map.
While these are only small elements, it means you have more choice as a player in how you tackle Habroxia 2. The choice of weapons adds a strategic element to the game, while the route selection lets you play the game in the order that you want rather than being forced to take a linear approach. It’s only a small thing, but it does give the game a little more longevity as a result.
When you play Habroxia 2 probably the first thing you notice beyond the control system is the visuals. It’s had a complete makeover in this department as well. While the levels, for the most part, are still set in familiar territory there is far more variety than before and there’s welcome diversity in the graphics. Despite the retro pixel art, the visuals have also had an upgrade in quality and the game is all the better for it. It just feels far more polished this time and while I’m not one for praising graphics over gameplay, this is a welcome improvement.
Playing The Game
When I played the original, I grew bored of it relatively quickly. Its repetitive nature left me looking elsewhere for entertainment before too long and it soon became a chore to play. Habroxia 2, however, is a total contrast. It’s a fun, engaging shooter with plenty of challenges to keep you enthralled. It may not be the greatest shooter to ever grace the PS Vita, but it’s an enjoyable romp.
Despite having a lot more to do during play, it’s never complicated and it’s easy and relatively uncomplicated to control. That prevents the game from being frustrating as well so you can concentrate on the action on screen. Which is a good thing, especially when the action heats up in later stages or for the end of level bosses.
Habroxia 2 isn’t perfect – far from it – but it’s not the flawed game that the original was. While it won’t win any awards or be remembered as being one of the all-time greats on the Vita, it’s a competent and entertaining shoot-em-up. It will certainly provide enough entertainment and fun to justify its £9.99 price tag, especially as the PS4 version is included in the price as it’s a Cross Buy release. Lillymo Games have certainly managed to redeem themselves from the original game and have delivered the goods and it’s a worthy addition to the PS Vita’s library.
A limited edition physical copy was produced by Eastasiasoft, which came complete with a soundtrack CD. This has now sold out and is now only available to purchase on the second hand market.
At A Glance
- Title: Habroxia 2
- Publisher: Eastasiasoft
- Developer: Lillymo Games
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download / Limited edition physical release
- Memory Card Spare Required: Mb
- Cross Buy: Yes (PS4)
- Cross Play: N/A
- Online Multiplayer: N/A
- Local Multiplayer: N/A
- PlayStation TV Compatible: TBC