Imagine you're going about your daily routine and then all of a sudden there is an uprising. Lizard-people have come out of hiding in an attempt to wipe-out humanity once-and-for-all, and now it's up to you to grab your weapon of choice and eradicate every last one of the green shape-shifting pests. Conspiracy theories aside, Reptilian Rebellion by Spanish indie studio Herrero is an arcade shooter which draws both visual and design cues from successful mobile titles such as Crossy Road and iconic retro arcade hits like Frogger.
The main task in Reptilian Rebellion, apart from survival, is to improve your high score. To achieve this one of ten characters must be kept alive for as long as possible. Not all of these heroes are available at first, and when they are eventually unlocked you'll find each one has unique stats linked to aspects of their performance such as speed, the amount of lives they have and more. To stay alive, the civilian heroes must shoot the lizards in the face while managing ammunition supplies, collecting power-ups & weapon enhancements, and avoiding a range of dangerous reptilian operated vehicles that can run them over. Thankfully, a computer controlled hero or two will drop in from time to time to assist the player.
The action takes place in the heart of a city with a recurring day and night cycle – depending on how long a session lasts. The arena itself restricts the player to a single pathway while reptiles advance from the left and right side of the screen. Adding to the chaos is the fact the pathway links to a road that seemingly doubles as an airport runway with planes continually flying overhead. Who are we to question the way our lizard overlords use our infrastructure? Players will be required to cross this road from time to time avoiding cars and bikes to collect ammo or items which can turn the tide of battle. The longer the battle continues, the stronger the lizard forces grow – with lizards at the frontline arming themselves with shields and weapons. The repeating waves increase in number over time and vary in shape and size, until they eventually overwhelm the hero.
Combined, all of this content linked to gameplay creates a functional and hectic experience - the player is required to closely monitor everything that is happening on-screen to ensure they can keep their civilian hero alive. Despite the busy nature, Reptilian Rebellion often walks a fine line when it comes to providing an entertaining experience. Instead it often provides the player with an overwhelming sense of repetitiveness if they are unable to embrace its simple but nostalgic design.
The blocky visuals are one of the more charming aspects of title, including pixel explosions, however the menu overlay – featuring the player's kill count and other important indicators such as remaining lives – is not as slickly presented. The music doesn't improve on this, with repeated and lengthy chip tunes on loop which are noticeably absent on the GamePad. The sound isn't much better but fitting enough for the occasion.
There's no denying the fact that this budget-priced Wii U eShop title would be much better suited to mobile platforms, perhaps even as a free-to-play app; the classic challenge of bettering your score by blasting wave after wave of reptiles is Reptilian Rebellion's single allure. So, unless you're desperately seeking a game experience inspired by retro arcade gaming with a modern touch, this might be best left to conspiracy theorists.