Review – #Funtime

It’s hard to start a review for this game without mentioning its terrible title. When I think of the word #Funtime, hashtag and all, the first thing that comes to mind is the image of Becky and her friends posting thirty pictures a day of their trip to Punta Cana on Instagram. Not a twin-stick shooter with trippy visuals that were clearly inspired by the now-classic Geometry Wars series. Let’s just hope that the game is more inventive and interesting than what its dull title might suggest.

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You leave a trail behind when you change your ship’s color. It kills enemy ships with the same color, for some reason.

As a whole, #Funtime is just a simplistic throwback to old-school arcade shooters like Asteroids, but with a slightly more modern coat of paint. All while trying to include some new gameplay features to try to stand out from the rest of the very saturated twin-stick shooter crowd. The key word here is “try”. Its visuals and dubstep-heavy soundtrack reminded me way too often of what Geometry Wars was doing over a decade ago. It basically controls just like those games, being your standard twin-stick shooter with an additional (and finite) supply of bombs at your disposal.

The main gameplay feature included in #Funtime is its color-changing mechanic. By pressing one of the four main face buttons on the Dualshock 4, you can change your ship’s color to either blue, green, red, or yellow (that last one is activated by pressing the square button, by the way). Changing your color allows you to get past same-colored lasers and barriers without getting harmed, in a very Ikaruga kind of way.

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Try to find my ship in the middle of this mess.

Weirdly enough, you can also use this color-changing gimmick offensively, and it works the opposite way on enemies. You can leave a trail with the same color as your ship, just like a slug, and if a same-colored enemy touches it, it dies. Yep, for some reason, you are immune to same color attacks, yet the enemies are weaker to same colored attacks. It makes little sense and the game does a poor job at explaining it to you. Although, you will get used to it after a while and will even use this extra strategic gimmick to your advantage.

The game tries to improve its overall lasting factor by offering different kinds of modes and not just your average small-arena shooter. There are labyrinthine levels in which you’re tasked with reaching the end goal as quickly as possible, all while avoiding spikes and shooting enemies as usual. Finally, there are levels in which the main goal is to simply survive, using your aforementioned color-changing abilities to avoid being destroyed by laser grids. Not exactly the most exciting modes out there, but I applaud the attempt to make #Funtime meatier than its peers.

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Just like in Geometry Wars, you have limited stock of screen-clearing bombs.

Sadly, playing #Funtime as a whole isn’t, well, fun. A handful of visual and gameplay issues turn the game into an absolute mess that’s hard to defend. The main issues are the amount of visual noise splattered onscreen, as well as the confusing camera. Instead of featuring fixed arenas that fit in their entirety on one screen, some of #Funtime‘s levels feature larger layouts. This results in a confusing camera following you around with terrible precision.

Add the fact that the enemy design is generic, using the same colors as your ship, and you’ll quickly realize you’re barely able to figure out what’s going on whenever the action gets hectic onscreen. This is usually the moment you’ll get bored with #Funtime and decide to play something else.

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Weirdly enough, #Funtime is at its best when it’s straightforward and gimmick-free.

Not exactly a terrible game, but far from being decent either, #Funtime is a game destined to linger in perpetual mediocrity. It has some good ideas, namely the color changing mechanics, but they are poorly explained and make little sense whatsoever. The visual and camera issues also drag the game down quite a lot. You may say that due to the lack of a proper Geometry Wars in this generation of consoles, this game might help scratching that itch. Honestly though, you’re better off playing the Bizarre Creations’ older titles through backwards compatibility instead.

 

Graphics: 5.5

Its Geometry Wars-inspired graphics would have been better appreciated if the game wasn’t a complete visual mess, throwing so much stuff onscreen to the point you can’t even tell what’s your ship and what isn’t.

Gameplay: 6.5

The game’s relatively simple and straightforward twin-stick shooting controls are hampered by some poorly explained mechanics, framerate issues, and an unreliable camera.

Sound: 6.5

A brief collection of dubstep tunes. They don’t exactly fit the overall theme of the game, but they get the job done. Some of them are even quite catchy, while others are dull and repetitive.

Fun Factor: 5.0

It’s not a complete fun time as its title would imply. It can provide a few minutes of arcadey entertainment at a time, but it features too many flaws that aren’t easy to ignore. You’ll quickly realise that there are lots of better options out there.

Final Verdict: 5.5

#Funtime is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on PS4.

A copy of #Funtime was provided by the publisher.