Horizon Shift is the arcade shooter developed by Flump Studios, and published by Kiss Ltd. In Horizon Shift, players control what looks like a rocket as they protect the horizon from being bombarded by space junk and enemy units. The game itself sports a rather interesting art style that really reinforces the arcade feel, while it also has this amazing soundtrack that looks like it’s designed to keep you entranced within the game. If this was released into arcades today, I’d probably drop hundreds of dollars into that arcade machine.
I’m not too sure what the storyline in Horizon Shift is, assuming there is one, but it looks like it’s up to the player to protect their horizon from being destroyed by an oncoming assault by enemy invaders and space debris. The player plays as an attack space ship that is attached to this horizon and is tasked with destroying this debris and these enemy units before they can destroy the horizon. It’s a fairly basic premise, but it’s a clearly defined one, and it’s not all that complicated, so you can pretty much jump straight in and understand exactly what you need to do without guidance.
The gameplay in Horizon Shift is simple, but incredibly addictive. As the player, you’ll be moving left and right across your horizon in order to shoot down enemies. What makes this interesting is that enemies spawn on both sides of the horizon, so you’ll have to switch between the two sides in order to get them all. If you fail to defeat an oncoming enemy, they’ll sometimes fly out of the screen, but most things will make a bee-line for the horizon, crashing into it and damaging it. If the entire horizon is destroyed, or the players ship gets hit, you lose a life. However, interestingly enough, the smaller the playspace gets, the bigger the bonuses the player recieves to their score, so it’s an incredibly interesting system of managing safety over big points.
Horizon Shift is a wave based shooter, meaning that to advance you need to defeat enough enemies in the current wave in order to move forward. Once the limit has been reached, the rest of the units will self-destruct or something, and the play-space will clear for the next batch of enemies. After a set amount of waves, the player will be tasked with defeating a boss monster. This is pretty much the endtire gameplay throughout the entire game, outside of the special stages which change the game up just a little bit. For example, do you remember the old brick breaker games? Those appear in the bonus levels.
The first few levels in Horizon Shift are pretty easy, but in a way that feels like it’s still challenging. It’s not a game that holds your hands as you play, but it’s definitely one that constantly tests your abilities as you progress. At first you’re only really juggling a few enemies on the screen using logical attack patterns, but soon, you’ve got enemies flying in from left and right, up and down, while also having to dodge level hazards, like laser beams. However, these patterns are not randomised, and do have a kind of logic to them. So, with a bit of practice and memorisation, the game does go from being pretty testy, to being something that you can advance through with ease. You just need to practice hard!
Attacking enemies is easy, you can use the shoot button on the keyboard, or you can use the same on a controller. Interestingly, the game has an auto-fire function, so you can hold down the trigger to shoot. After killing so many enemies, you build up this combo meter which eventually allows you to use a screen-clearing bomb, which will definitely assist in racking up the big points, or surviving an emergency. There are also a bunch of power-ups that come out every few levels, so be sure to pick those up.
Helping along this need to practice is Horizon Shifts amazing soundtrack. It’s hard to put into words how amazing the soundtrack in Horizon Shift actually is, but it’s pretty amazing. if you like chiptunes, house music, electronic music, trance and those kinds of things, you’ll definitely really enjoy the soundtrack in Horizon Shift. It’s a combination of something that you can get up and dance to and something that fits a video game incredibly well due to the simple repetitive melodies that can easily absorb you into the game. I loved it.
Visually speaking, Horizon Shift has a simple art style to it. If you’ve played a game like Geometry Wars, you can expect a kind of similar art style here. In Horizon Shift, enemy units are defined by a glowy outline, drawn in a way to resemble the kind of object that it is. For example, there are blue asteroid shaped units, obviously designed to look like an asteroid. There are also these glowy alien looking things, that are probably aliens. I do have to admit that some of these shapes do leave things to your imagination, like these things that look like bow-ties, and these things that are probably very likely coins. But still, these kinds of designs for units suit the game well.
The background graphics are made up of what looks like somekind of looping movie or something. The first few levels will have this moving background image of a pipeline or something, which moves into a picture of what looks like a planet in the background a few levels later. I suppose that these are designed to represent some kind of journey, symbolising the players progression against these waves of enemies.
The biggest draw of Horizon Shift, is not these components individually, but how they all combine each other as a whole. Even more, the game offers plenty of different game modes and options to play through, making the experience different for each thing changed. It’s definitely a game that can be played through enjoyably many times.
Overall, I really quite enjoyed my time with Horizon Shift. It’s a game that offers a plethora of options and combines them with excellent mechanics and a great soundtrack. The visuals also make this game quite distinct from other games of this type, making it one of the more fun and addictive experiences out there. Definitely pick this one up.
Rating: Amazingly fun /10
Horizon Shift is developed by Flump Studios and published by Kiss Ltd. The game is available on the PC platform and this review is based on the code sent to us by Flump Studios, the developer. You can purchase the game on Steam for ~$5 without the OST and ~$6 with the OST. We’d recommend grabbing that OST though, mmmm.