Cartoon style twin-stick shooters need to have a hook. There needs to be something that sticks into the roof of your mouth and drags you past the fact that you've already played a hundred cartoon-style twin-stick shooters.
It's obvious from pretty early on that Total Recoil is just another by-the-numbers blaster. There's nothing seriously wrong with it, but there's nothing here you haven't shot a thousand times before. Throw in an emphasis on grind and you're left with another disappointing addition to the genre.Get your ass off that oil rig
The game casts you as a grunt with a gun who's out to shoot as many things as he possibly can. After a tutorial you're dropped onto an oil rig to face off against a series of waves of identikit bad guy soldiers.
You'll spend the first half of the game on the oilrig, playing through a series of underwhelming levels, all of which follow the same pattern. Kill a few waves of bad guys and turrets, then fight a boss.
Bosses are usually tanks, cannons, or helicopters. If you're lucky you'll get a mix of all three. Once you've dealt with the big bad, your points are totalled and if you're at the right rank you can move on to the next level.
You increase your rank by completing challenges. Three are active at once, and completing them gives you a star. Get three stars and you'll climb your way up the army ladder. It's a slightly broken system, and means you'll sometimes have to grind through a level three or four times to reach the rank you need to move on.Bang bang by the book
The overwhelming feeling of slog is compounded by the repetitive scenery. Breaking into the tropical levels is a blessed relief after the grey of the oilrig, but they get stale pretty fast as well.
Moments of tension and excitement are few and far between, and the fact that you know you're probably going to have to play the level again anyway drains any sense of urgency.
There are glimmers of excitement and innovation, with the addition of killstreak rewards chief among them, but in the end Total Recoil is too much of the same to be enjoyable.