DubWars

Editor’s Note: The review copy of DubWars was procured by a member of the staff who had connections in the development of the title. 

Do you miss the good old days of arcade games like Raiden? How about inventive games that take a new angle on immersion? Well, MURA Interactive has delivered a game that is right up your ally. DubWars takes these two concepts and combines them with the use of EDM music to bring us a game that both challenges players and takes them to new worlds. I got the opportunity to ask the lead developer, Joe Albrethsen, some questions and when asked what inspired DubWars he said the following.

“We set out to make something new and exciting for rhythm games. The focus was also on how we could bring attention to the creators of the music.” – Joe Albrethsen

DubWars
One of the otherworldly levels, as an example of the beautiful graphics.

As a fan of old arcade games of this style, I was very excited when one of our writers, Jordan Aslett, told us he had actually worked on DubWars. Jordan helped with some of the level design before he left. Looking DubWars up told me to expect a very different and difficult game. Raiden skills, please don’t fail me now.

That being said, I would like to point out that my knowledge of EDM, Trap and dubstep music is very limited; however, DubWars has been an eye opener for me. Each level is designed around its sound track, from the environment and enemies to your weaponry. Before you start a level, players are shown a small summery about the artist behind the music along with links to their respective sites. I found this to be a great introduction to the genre and helpful insight into the level before me. I asked Joe if we will see any more content in the near future. He responded with this.

“Yes, now that the game is launched we are working on bringing DubWars to more platforms. The plan is to continue to grow game catalog of music through DLC packs.”

DubWars
Example of the upgrades page. Each level holds it’s own upgrades and they don’t carry to other levels, due to the change in weapons.

Once you start playing it quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t your average top down shooter. The only things players control are movement and aiming the ship. After adjusting to the seemingly limiting controls, the strange enemies start coming out. Without control of the weapons, how dose one play? Fear not, the track playing dictates your weaponry. Each level starts out calm and slowly builds to an erratic crescendo, where naturally your ship starts spewing lasers like a Daft Punk concert.  As stated above, each level has a different feel and naturally very different appearance. Playing a level just once won’t get you a very high score, and unless you’re really good at these types of games you might not even complete a level until the third or fourth try. Why?

First, getting a feel for the song is important in DubWars. The first attempt will show you multiple things about the level. As I’ve stated, every level has different types of enemies which will force you to change tactics, check different corners and keep you on your toes. Each world feels alive and unique to the others. This shift of perspective in each track really was a smart idea to keep the game feeling fresh every time.

DubWars
Distorted by Totally Sick

Second, not only does the song control your weapons, but it also changes what weapons are used and the enemies faced. My favorite level is Distorted by Totally Sick. It’s based in a swamp where mushrooms, slime blobs and bug like creatures accost your ship. Your weapons are a similar style, shooting your own spirit like projectiles. Collecting ‘wubbs’ in a level will allow players to upgrade their ship for that level. Since your arsenal changes with each new world, your options for upgrades change as well. Another ace decision to improve the game’s longevity.

DubWars was released on Steam on July 19, 2016. Although its initial price tag of $20 seemed a little high to fans, you can score your own copy for a smooth $9. After a little research, it seems DubWars had trouble with a couple patches back in its early access days, however I am pleased to report I personally found zero bugs and glitches so far since DubWars has been fully released. When I asked Joe what his favorite part of development was, he answered as any true artist would.

“WHEN IT WAS OVER! HA JUST KIDDING, IT STILL ISN’T DONE. WE HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE TO WORK WITH VERY TALENTED DJ/PRODUCERS AND THAT IS THE FOUNDATION OF THE DESIGN. WATCHING PEOPLE ENJOY THE GAME THROUGH THE DIFFERENT STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT IS VERY REWARDING. SOME OF OUR FAVORITE COMMENTS ARE FROM PLAYERS WHO SUPPORTED US EARLY ON THROUGH OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN AND SAW THINGS THROUGH TO THE LAUNCH. HAVING A PRODUCT THAT PEOPLE LOVE MAKES IT ALL WORTH IT.”

DubWars Would I recommend this game? Definitely. In my opinion, this arcade style top down shooter not only hits nostalgia points but draws me into each world with a level of immersion I haven’t felt in a long time. Before the game starts up, players will see an epileptic warning. I must reiterate that here, if you or someone that might be in the room is prone to seizures, don’t even start it up. One of my favorite things about this game is the psychedelic colors and the completely alien feel of each world. The art and graphics of DubWars flows perfectly with the select tracks.

Gamer Professionals and myself thank MURA Interactive for the chance to review DubWars.

Editor’s Note: The review copy of DubWars was procured by a member of the staff who had connections in the development of the title.