Flying Ball of Death: Reign of Bullets [Review]

Critical Bit delivers a hectic, highly customizable shoot'em up that's as much fun as it sounds.

Shoot’em ups are usually about skill; about killing targets while weaving your way through fields of bullets. Their usually not about power or being able to decimate your enemies. That all changes with Reign of Bullets. In Reign of Bullets you can customize your ship and outfit it will many different types of weapons that you can place anywhere on the ship in any direction. The weapons themselves are able to be fitted with modifiers that can do things like increase damage, shoot more projectiles, shoot faster, target enemies, etc. If you configure your ship correctly, you can create a flying ball of death that might possibly make you feel bad for the enemies you’re crushing.

Transitioning your ship into a flying death ball happens progressively. You start off with only one weapon slot, a weak primary weapon, and a shield that lasts for a short period of time. Upgrading your ship with more weapon slots, beefing up your primary weapon, making your shield last longer, and buffing your health all cost money that you get by destroying enemies and other objects as you play. Each upgrade will cost you more cash, and the only way to haul in more cash per level is to play on a higher difficulty – which in turn requires you to have better weapons and survivability. Adding modifiers to weapons also costs money, so the game really encourages you to play on higher difficulties so you can have enough money to upgrade your ship and weapons.

The game gives you a lot of toys to play with. Weapons like lasers, flame throwers, lighting guns, rocket launchers, assault rifles, and drone guns allow you to dispense of your enemies as you please and allows the player to customize their ship to their play style. Weapons are given almost like loot at the end of each level and all weapons aren’t made equally. You’ll find multiple versions of each weapon with different levels and attributes. You’ll find yourself swapping out older weapons with newer, higher level ones quite frequently. The addition of modifiers to the weapons really added to the fun of the game. At one point I had two laser guns shooting three beams each while using targeting to search and destroy enemies. Combine that with auto targeting rockets and drones, my carnage was satisfying to say the least.

One thing players will notice about Reign of Bullets is that the levels are not choreographed. The game’s stages are broken into 10 checkpoints that last for a set time – you just need to survive the timer to progress. The checkpoints are mostly random when it comes to enemies, and each checkpoint increments the difficulty. There is also a difficulty modifier that controls how strong the enemies are and how much health they have. You’ll also notice more difficult types of enemies depending on the difficulty modifier. At the 10th checkpoint of each stage you’ll fight a boss, but to be honest, they weren’t that difficult and their patterns were easy to figure out.

Overall, I thought that Reign of Bullets was a lot of fun. Its noob friendly, but if you’re a veteran you can crank of the difficulty and still have fun. With all the various combinations of weapons and modifiers you can put together, players should be able to fit the exact play style that they want. I’m not so sure shump purists will enjoy it, but if you’re looking for a fun game, it’s definitely that.

Jarret Redding
Jarret Redding
Jarret Redding

Executive Director

Jarret is Executive Director as well as one of the founding members of Mash Those Buttons. He plays all types of games, but tends to lean more toward FPS, Stealth, and Combat games.

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