Playing Volcanic Field 2 is a lot like throwing lasagna against the wall. It can be fun and even primally satisfying for a short while, but you'll soon take a closer look and realize how much of a mess it is.

The game can be described as a 2D, sidescrolling, twin-stick shooter. The left stick, d-pad, or even shoulder buttons on the GamePad control an on-screen tank's movement from left to right, while the right stick controls 180 degrees of weapons aiming around and above the unit.

As each stage autoscrolls to the right, players must dodge or blast the debris that is either vomited down from the sky or bouncing toward them from either side. Along the way the tank can touch buildings to instantly rescue the people inside before their homes are smashed; the number saved is listed under an unfortunately mistyped "RECUES" on the display.

The tank must reach the end of each stage and survive a final onslaught of debris before graduating to the next. There's no real "boss" to fight or indication of how long this last part is. It just suddenly stops when the game feels you've had enough. It also looks like a certain number of people must be rescued to pass a stage, but it's hard to say with any precision as no detailed manual or tutorial comes with the game. Basically, just avoid getting hit (the tank has a heart meter) and run into houses as soon as they appear and things should be dandy.

The tank comes outfitted with four different weapons that can be upgraded through the course of the game, plus screen-clearing bombs that can be bought separately. This sounds pretty sweet at first, until it becomes clear there's no real customization to be had with the arsenal. All of the weapons fire automatically, at the same time, in a splattermess of offense. The player's only job is to aim the hose. There isn't even any friendly fire, making for no sense of strategy whatsoever.

There are a few extra items in the game to aid the assault. Passing planes and balloon-o-grams will drop crates that temporarily add a shield or a blaze gun, the latter of which is yet another weapon to spew out in that chunky salsa of destruction. Some crates are also… just crates! These add to the currency with which weapon upgrades can be bought. Crates pile up pretty quickly, making it pretty easy to upgrade. Each weapon has four levels, and once they're all at the top level crates can only buy more of the screen-clearing bombs.

Volcanic Field 2 has a low-budget, in-browser feel to it with little animation and variation. There are three different areas to take on, but all they really seem to do is add a new background. No new elements pop up during play; stages just grow longer and throw more stuff at the player. The music is riffy '90s metal with occasional record scratching that is gleefully cheesy but does eventually start to grow tired.

Conclusion

There is nothing wrong with bringing an arcade-style feel out to play, and Volcanic Field 2 does have that. Unfortunately, its "spray everywhere" manner of fire makes for a rather chaotic and somewhat unsatisfying experience once it becomes clear you just have to wiggle the right stick at anything that moves. Some variation, choices or surprises could have really helped this title, but there's just nothing in it to make it pop.