Triggerheart is a passable arcade shooter, but doesn't offer enough to make it worth the asking price.
- The action is challenging
- Anchor mechanic is fun and interesting.
- Only 15 minutes' worth of gameplay
- No visual flair to the enemies or settings
- Only two characters and weapon types
- Scant "extras".
Shoot-'em-ups like Triggerheart Exelica are made with a specific audience in mind, and that's just fine. Like many other similar titles, Triggerheart is light on content and heavy on challenge, so if you're into trial and error, pattern recognition, and beating high scores, you may want to check out the game's demo on Xbox Live Arcade. Spending $10 on the full game when there are better shooters available for purchase, however, isn't something we can wholeheartedly recommend.
You start the game playing as one of two mech characters: Exelica or Crueltear. There's some backstory to read, but as you would expect, your only real goal is to blow up everything in sight from a top-down perspective. Each character fires a different weapon with a different fire spread, but the main twist in Triggerheart is the anchor. Using it, you can latch onto enemies, swing them around, and release them into the oncoming hordes of spacecraft. The anchor isn't just for show, however--its use is necessary for you to make it unscathed through Triggerheart's five levels.
Everything else is much as you would expect from a vertical scroller. Waves of various enemies swarm from above, and you shoot them down, use the anchor to bash them into one another, or use one of your limited number of bombs to wreak havoc on a screenful of foes. It's all a stringent challenge, so if you're gunning for high scores and like the pattern memorization of the genre, you'll find that Triggerheart doesn't skimp on difficulty. It does, however, offer an unusually forgiving caveat in the form of unlimited continues, which means you can easily plow through the game in the first 15 or 20 minutes and see everything it has to offer.
Of course, hardcore fans will be more concerned about getting their high score on the online leaderboards than the scant bit of gameplay here. In light of the additional value similar games throw in, however, Triggerheart is too bare-bones to make it worth the 800-point asking price. It doesn't have the unlockable characters and varied weapon types of the recently-released Omega Five, features no co-op play of any kind, and offers no visual or sonic flair. Morover, the cookie-cutter enemies and settings aren't very interesting, and aside from a few extended boss battles and a "true" ending to unlock, the game doesn't harbor any secrets of interest.
If you like the challenge of high scores and actually expect some bang for your buck, there are a number of better arcade-style shooters available on Xbox Live Marketplace. As it is, Triggerheart Exelica is simply competent, which isn't a quality worth spending the money on.