Destropolis has just about everything you want in an arena high-score based twin-stick shooter. It is constant action, the screen can fill will an uncountable amount of enemies, there are power-ups galore, and it features co-op play. The minimalist presentation also provides a timeless and contemporary visual style.
Simply put, you play as a 3D diamond and the goal is to shoot as many red squares as possible before you eventually get overwhelmed and die. The single stage constantly changes and makes it easy to distinguish friend from foe. The stark white background means all red enemies, the playable blue cube, and eggshell barriers are clearly marked at all times. Power-ups and different guns often liter the playing field, enticing the player. Do you risk running into that mob to grab that rocket launcher or should you hang back and hope a shield appears behind you in an easy to grab location? The risk/reward is high but so is the level of skill required to earn a top spot on the online leaderboard.
Action is constant and fast paced. Besides always having a new gun (the Gauss canon is especially satisfying) or an ability marked on the play field, enemies never stop. In time, enhanced enemies, like the spires that shoot lasers or the baddies that explode, will accompany the common fodder. Killing enemies earns experience points that are used to unlock new abilities, to increase defense, or make weapons more powerful, for example. Stacking these abilities can make the player feel like you are gaining the upper hand but always in check since the onslaught of cubes never gives the player a moment to breathe. Unfortunately, this leveling mechanic is also the game’s biggest flaw as it stops the action cold as a menu screen pops up and interrupts the action. Since the player can reach a new level every 20-30 seconds, being tasked to select a new ability from a simple menu while the action pauses is uncomfortably annoying. It is too bad this option wasn’t automatically assigned to the player or happened somehow in the background so the action didn’t have to stop.
The synthwave soundtrack is the feather in the geometric cap and online leaderboards make every kill worthwhile. Playing with two other players ramps up the insanity to extreme levels and the replay value is high even though there is only one playable stage. It is just a bummer multiplayer is restricted to a local console. Destropolis is a perfect example of doing a lot with a little while focusing on polished gameplay to create something entertaining.