Port roundup: Bloody Rally Show, Binarystar Infinity, Lucid Cycle & Pretty Girls Panic! PLUS

Videogame ports galore! Here are four more games that were recently ported to consoles after earlier release on Steam. Included are Bloody Rally Show, Binarystar Infinity, Lucid Cycle and Pretty Girls Panic! PLUS.

Bloody Rally Show

Developer Kodo Linija launched Bloody Rally Show on Steam at the start of 2020, but thanks to Digerati it can now also be enjoyed on consoles. Offering a mix of classic top-down racing and Carmageddon-like carnage, this is one that should appeal to fans of Remedy’s classic Death Rally game.

There’s a familiar “our corporation owns you, so race for us in our blood rally” story to the game, but the heart of the experience is with the arcade-like racing action. Despite the top-down perspective, there are height differences and jumps here, but it’s nothing we didn’t see before as top-down racers in the eighties and nineties also featured this. What they didn’t have, to this extent, is blood-soaked carnage, and they also didn’t have randomly generated tracks to race – which ultimately is the essence of Bloody Rally Show.

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Outside of those two elements, the game is a surprisingly generic top-down racer. The career mode is your usual race for points and cash, there’s a multiplayer mode that’s fun to play locally, and you can use the aforementioned cash to upgrade your ride – which is as addictive as ever. It follows the classic formula to a tee, but it works.

Your on-board weapons set it apart from classic racers in the genre though, and it’s nice to see mechanics like this outside of a 3D kart racer for a change. Sure, the end result feels a bit like a 2D kart racer as a result, but taking out an opponent right before the turns into the final stretch never stops feeling great. Bloody Rally Show may be a tad generic, but it’s fun.

Binarystar Infinity

Another title that launched first on Steam is Binarystar Infinity from developer Ricci Cedric Design, but now it’s available on consoles as well thanks to publisher Forever Entertainment. And if you like retro shoot ’em ups, this one will redefine what that means for you.

With a 1-bit visual style, complete with a white and red color scheme on a black background, Binarystar Infinity definitely puts the “retro” in retro shooter, going further back than the 8-bit era where most games reside. It does feature an overly familiar generic narrative setup though, which involves striking back at an bunch of alien invaders. Some things never change….

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But while older classic arcade shooters are generally slower affairs (mostly on account of older hardware not being powerful enough to render fast scrolling levels), Binarystar Infinity is fast and fluid. Nicely designed level layouts and a good variety of weapons and upgrades are other modern conveniences, and make the game’s challenging boss fights all the more interesting.

The game features 8 levels, which are home to about two dozen enemy types and there’s a boss fight at the end of each one. You can also tackle the game in co-op mode, which is fun as long as you keep the friendly fire option turned off. In addition, you can also play survival and boss rush modes, so there’s a decent amount of extra content for an otherwise short (but difficult to complete and master) arcade campaign. At a budget price point, this is nice little shooter to try out.

Lucid Cycle

Developed by Tonguç Bodur and originally launched on Steam earlier this year, Lucid Cycle now has a console release thanks to Eastasiasoft – we played the PlayStation 5 version of the game. And while we’re quite used to seeing ports from them, this one’s quite different in that it’s not a “retro” kind of title but rather a gorgeous walking simulator-type game.

I wasn’t familiar with Bodur’s work before playing Lucid Cycle, but diving into his portfolio I discovered that he has a history as a visual designer – and it shows. This is a gorgeous example of an indie production, and with the game’s narrative revolving around dreams that you can explore there’s a lot of room for visual creativity as well.

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For some, that visual creativity will come at a cost, as the surreal nature of the dreams you enter and leave can give players a “what on earth is going on here?” feeling. Even your AI companion, that you talk to in between your explorations, keeps things ambiguous, leaving a lot of the story open for interpretation. But while it’s easy to get lost, each dream you explore feels like its own short story – one with a unique visual style and ditto puzzles to keep you from exiting the dream. There’s even a bit of platforming, so even if the narrative doesn’t stick there’s plenty of diversity to keep things interesting.

I assume that a game like Lucid Cycle will look like experimental game design to some – something unlike anything they’ve played before. Some will love it, some will hate it, but most will appreciate the tremendous amount of creativity that can be seen in it. When you consider its budget price point, that’s not a bad deal.

Pretty Girls Panic! PLUS

It hasn’t been that long since we covered Pretty Girls Panic! as it was converted to the PS4, but that 2016 game received a follow-up earlier this year called Pretty Girls Panic! PLUS – and this time we didn’t have to wait long for the port to show up on consoles as well. The formula hasn’t changed much though, as you’re still playing a Qix-type arcade game where you have to capture as much of the screen as possible – with 80% being required before you can move on to the next level. Enemies will try to stop you by touching you when you leave the safety of the border to mark and claim a piece of the map, power-ups will help you move faster or freeze time, and you have to be aware of enemies and/or bullets touching the line you leave behind as well.

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In order words, business as usual, and if you played the previous game you’ll also be familiar with the fact that completing levels lets you look at a collection of anime girls, which is only going to interest those who enjoy that type of thing but isn’t going to get in the way for anyone else since there’s no actual nudity. The same goes for the different costumes you can unlock by completing levels – another example of fan service that doesn’t get in the way of the main gameplay.

So where are the differences in this PLUS version? Most noticeably, they’re in the visuals. The main character was a small crab/squid-like creature before, and now you view a character that looks a bit like AiAi from the Monkey Ball games from above. The enemies have also gotten a makeover, and are now more cartoon-like, colorful and better animated than before. There’s an easy to obtain platinum trophy, and once you’re done with the main campaign you can also try your hand at the challenge and arcade modes for some additional gameplay. All in all, it’s quite similar to the previous game, but with more audiovisual polish and slightly more lasting appeal.

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