E3 will be here before we know it, and we’re already keeping our eyes on the ball. Here are the games we are hoping to see at B.ARK’s booth in three years time.
My E3 plans are already set. I have a nice room reserved on the fifth floor of the Westin Los Angeles Airport. My flight home is scheduled for the first day of the show, Monday, June 12. I’ll see what’s new first, and then work my way back through the press conference schedule. I’ll likely be posting a few times from the show floor, but won’t be able to get there until Thursday.
Of all the games I was able to check out during this exceptional version of E3, none impressed me as much as B.ARK from Tic Toc Games. I’ll be honest and admit that I had never heard of this game before this event, but several things caught my attention from the start. Especially the art style and the fact that it’s a bullet hell shooter, which is one of my favorite genres. I had the opportunity to talk to some of the game developers and learn more about this fascinating sh’mup. B.ARK is a side-scrolling shooter in which you control one of four adorable mammals (a Frenchman, a cat, a bear and a rabbit) and pilot ships to save the world from an invasion of space fish.
According to the developers themselves, Star Fox was one of the main sources of inspiration for the game, especially when it comes to the choice of protagonist. The game’s charming graphic style, entirely hand-drawn, was meant to give the impression of a playable morning cartoon. I was particularly impressed with some of the larger enemies and their smooth animations.
Fighting a boss in a shooter can sometimes be quite relaxing…. What I liked about this demo is that I noticed that each of the four playable characters not only differed in design and stats, but also in gameplay. In short, each of the four ships is completely different, and one of them has an upgrade system from Gradius, for example. They all have a unique ultimate attack that can be combined with that of another ally in co-op mode, as well as a dodge button, which is not common in similar shooters, but is understandable considering B.ARK is designed for players of all ages and abilities. It’s not often you see shooters aimed at people other than those who grew up with the mind-numbing complexity of Ikaruga, but B.ARK is trying to break that mold, according to Tic Toc Games.
The number of enemies on screen is slightly less than in a normal shooter. You have access to a slightly overpowered dodge mechanic, and your health pool is high enough to start with. There will be different difficulty levels though, and you will have much less health in the hardest option. Honestly, I don’t find the game that difficult, even in the hardest levels, but I doubt that’s a problem, since it’s not really designed to be a difficult pastime, but more like a good representative of the bullet hell genre.
Fish and seafood want to end humanity as we know it. This is probably the reward for the tons of sushi I eat every week. In the demo I watched, both developers played the game in co-op mode, so I had to ask them if the Switch version, which will be released at the same time as the Steam version, will only support one Joy-Con per player. I am happy to report that this will indeed be the case. According to Tic Toc Games, the two versions will be nearly identical in appearance, performance, and content, but the simple fact that a game like this can be played on the go with a friend makes the Switch version much more desirable than the PC version.
I liked just about everything I saw of the B.ARK game during the E3 presentation. The game looks simply fantastic, it is based on many classic shooters but also includes brand new elements, it has several difficulty levels to appeal to fans and veterans alike, and best of all it has a local co-op mode for up to four players. Before E3 I had never heard of this game, but now I can say with certainty that I’m looking forward to its release later this year. B.ARK is scheduled for release in 2021 on PC and Switch.