Contlade is a freeware new-retro vertical shmup from indie game developer Zakichi. It has been made with Shooting Game Builder, a common Japanese tool set used to make shmups such as this one. Now, just because a tool set was used to create a game doesn’t mean that it can’t be awesome. Contlade isn’t breaking any new ground in the “shootin’ shit outta the sky” genre, but it does a playable job all the same.
The game looks really retro and plays just as well. The bright yet basic colors along with the angular graphics instantly made me think of the almost endless stream of DOS shooters from the heyday of shareware gaming, back in the late 90s. This title is freeware, so there is no pressure to buy or register anything. It also comes as a stand alone executable file so there is no need for any installation. I find it quite refreshing to be able to just play something. To not have to go through some long winded installation process, not have to fucking register with some bullshit website and not have to be constantly connected to the internet in order to play the fucking thing. To not have my wife piss and moan that I damn near spilt beer all over the key board. There it is, ready to play straight out of the box.
Anyway, as a top down shooter it’s pretty solid. It has a number of power-ups for the main weapon as well as homing missile bombs as a back up. It also has a charge shot which is absolutely vital to make it through the game as the regular attack, even on it’s highest level, isn’t very good at taking down the bigger enemies that often come flying your way. There are a few different enemy attacks to be aware of, most are quite slow moving and therefore easily avoidable, but others move quite quickly and some even home in on you. There are also red boxes with “X”’s in side them that appear seemingly at random. If you happen to find yourself flying into one of those boxes you will lose a life. Oh yeah, the game has no life bar to speak of; one hit and you’re out.
The biggest surprise for me was its soundtrack. It’s got some kind of light and airy techno beat going on in the back ground with vocals that kinda sound like a constipated angel. It’s actually not bad and does fit the games overall atmosphere, it just took my by surprise is all. There is not really a hell of a lot more to say about this game except that it’s worth checking out. It is free, after all.