Continuing the never-ending conflict between good and evil, Garters & Ghouls pits demons and monsters but not against angels or holy warriors - instead a lingerie-clad heroine arises.
It's heaven meets Hello! magazine in this saucy twin stick shooter.
The game has you slipping on the garter of dead-butante Marie Dupois who's been reanimated to defeat an enigmatic evil known only as the Thrum. Marie's ultimate goal lies in reconnecting with her dearly departed husband, who is being held by Thrum's minions.
Only by fighting through 25 stages filled with zombies, skeletons, werewolves, and other shadowy creatures can she save her spouse and rest in peace.
A pair of virtual analogue sticks - the one on the left for movement, the other for aiming Marie's attacks - enable you to mow down the creatures of the night that spawn via portals within each level. Clearing a stage is a matter of destroying every portal and any monsters transported through them. In other words, shoot with reckless abandon.
Marie comes equipped with a basic firearm that has an unlimited stock of ammunition, though you can pick three alternate weapons from defeated enemies.
The multi-shot coil gun fires off five magnetic bullets with each shot. Groups of foes are easily blasted with the thermobaric grenade launcher that lets loose pieces of shrapnel when it hits an object. Lastly, the steam-powered machine gun pumps enemies full of lead with its high rate of fire.
These bonus weapons have limited ammo and you're automatically switched to Marie's default gun when they're empty. While not nearly as powerful as the alternate weapons, you're able to purchase upgrades for the standard gun using money collected from dead creatures. Other upgrades are available too, such as boosts to Marie's maximum health, faster walking speed, and added attack power for each weapon.
You're only able to shop for upgrades at special Steam Queens shops located within the most dangerous levels. Getting there means first eliminating any enemies and portals. The opening cemetery world houses a shop in one of its levels, though reaching it requires weaving through graves and tombstones shooting off zombie heads and werewolves along the way.
Other locations include a creepy travelling carnival dubbed Carni-ville and a haunted university. Joined by suitably macabre music and tongue-in-cheek dialogue, the game boasts a comical dark style. There's something freaky about shooting monsters amidst carnival tents, yet at the same time the game doesn't take itself too seriously.
Some things do need to be considered seriously however, and Garters & Ghouls is haunted by a few spectres that will need exorcising before release to the App Store.
Chief among these is the manner in which attacks are registered against enemies and portals. Shots regularly fail to hit their mark despite good targeting. Part of the issue lies in the game's isometric perspective, which results in fussy aiming. While it may appear that you're aiming right at a portal, shots aren't hitting it because you're off by a pixel or two.
Another issue relates to the analogue sticks. While functional, it would better if they catered to more fluid movement. Currently, Marie's movement and attacks are somewhat angular and rigid. Smoothing these up would tighten up combat.
Finally, we'd like to see an option to switch manually between weapons. Right now, Marie automatically equips any weapon she comes across. The ability to pick a weapon up, then switch back to her default gun and save the alternate weapon for later use would be ideal.
With a release soon, there unfortunately may not be much time for such improvements.Garters & Ghouls is expected to arrive on the App Store within the next couple of weeks priced £2.99/$4.99.