I recently read about a new Homebrew Christmas themed shoot em up which had been made for the ZX Spectrum (details at http://www.worldofspectrum.org/forums/discussion/51753/new-game-chrimblast#latest ) . A free download later and I was ready to give it a blast. For speed I went the emulation route, using Fuse on my new laptop.
The game plays very nicely, with the retro feel of the 8 bit shmups of the past. The first level is steady enough to give you a feel for the controls and to discover the different fire modes your weapon offers. Your ship can move in 4 directions, and pressing fire briefly just fires a small puny missile, but hold the fire button and power builds to unleash bigger missiles which can slaughter swathes of enemy ships. But…. beware because the Christmas themed objects coming at you need to be collected to get to the next level, and supersized missiles will destroy those too.
All of the enemy ships come from above, and each level adds more and different enemies which also have differing patterns of attack. As the levels progress there are more on screen enemies and with them moving at different speeds and different patterns collisions get harder to avoid and your weapons need to be supersized more often and your reactions quicker to avoid them.
The graphics in Chrimblast are very good, and everything moves extremely quickly including the ship you pilot, and you need it to move fast. Controls are easy to get to grips with and respond to your whims accurately and with no delays. Sound is basic but good enough for a 48k Spectrum game. The difficulty progression is perfect, slowly ramping up with each level you complete. The only downer really is that the Christmas theme only seems to cover the objects you have to collect, e.g. stockings, xmas puds and presents, I would have liked the ship I controlled to be Santas sleigh and the enemy ships to be grinches or elves on rocking horses.
Chrimblast is a fun game, which has the retro feel and a “one more go” hook to it, just not enough Christmas themed to be brilliant.
Here’s the usual video of me playing the game badly