[PlayStation 4] Null Drifter Review
Null Drifter by Panda Indie Studio and Eastasiasoft is a minimalist twin-stick shooter that packs a lot. Learn more in our Null Drifter review!
Upon starting the game, you’re given a brief five seconds timer, and then the action starts. Your spaceship is in the middle of the screen, and a frame surrounds the whole screen. The action will take place inside this frame as the game is a single screen arena-style shoot ’em up. You can move with the left analog stick, and the right one is used to aim and shoot. The R2 button is used to dash, which is a special move that requires a cooldown when you use it before being able to activate it again. The dash can be used to go through some enemies to damage them or to escape bullets or waves of enemies so that you don’t get hit.
A game starts with 1 HP, meaning that you can only get hit once, and the next hit will mean the end of your run. As you defeat enemies and bosses, you’ll sometimes gain access to a life power-up, which will give you an additional HP. If you wish to increase your HP, you can invest in an HP upgrade in the shop before starting a new game. As you defeat enemies, they’ll drop some money that you can collect. The money is available to purchase upgrades when your game ends, and you don’t need to spend all of your money in one go since it will carry over for your next runs. There are a lot of categories in which you can upgrade your ship, like your starting damage and your dash cooldown, and each upgrade category has multiple tiers to upgrade it.
The game’s look is some of the most minimalist I’ve seen, but they also fit perfectly with how the game plays. The different enemies all have their distinct style and the bosses are also impressive in how they take up the space in the screen. As you play, you also gain access to different color palettes that you can swap to change the game’s visuals, all adding up to the nostalgia factor the game offers. The soundtrack also perfectly fits the lo-fi style of the game, and I was impressed to see that it was composed by AI.
Before starting to play the game, I went into the settings like I always do in every game I play, to see what can be customized. What I found were quite a few settings to change the looks of the game, even in its minimalist lo-fi form that I already appreciated. I then started my first game that ended up incredibly fast because I wasn’t expecting the action to start that fast and with such a small amount of HP.
Then I got the hang of the game, and things got very fun. In the first few runs, you’ll die without reaching too far into the levels, collecting only a few coins and not being able to purchase any upgrade. Eventually, you’ll be able to purchase an upgrade, then some more, and things will get a bit easier but, at the same time, crazier as you’ll be able to progress further. Enemies and bosses are really fun to fight against, and I always wanted to go back to be able to reach further and further into the game.
As for the trophies, they should all unlock for you by just playing the game. Your main goal will be to reach the sixth level, with a few trophies related to this process. All the other trophies are for miscellaneous things that you’ll get naturally like killing five bosses, defeating 200 enemies, or unlocking ten upgrades. It should take you part of an evening to be able to add this Platinum trophy to your collection!
Null Drifter is a minimalist yet very addictive game. It’s a lot of fun to play while going for the Platinum trophy, and should still provide some fun if you continue playing past that point. For any fan of twin-stick shooter bullet hell games, it’s definitely worth picking up, especially at its budget price.
PSN Price: $4.99
This Null Drifter review is based on a PlayStation 4 copy provided by eastasiasoft.