Chances are that if you have spent more than five minutes with the Xbox LIVE Arcade, you have played or seen a stream of double analogue shooters; the type of which typically use the left analogue stick to control the player and the right to fire at enemies. Easily being one of the most popular genres on XBLA (thanks to the huge success of Geometry Wars), Mutant Storm returns with the sequel, Mutant Storm Empire!
Mutant Storm Empire follows closely from the original in terms of gameplay and style, whilst adding more varied enemy encounters and a continual progression system as opposed to the previous sectioned levels. Controlling a small alien ship you must navigate closely around enemies and incoming fire whilst firing off everything at your disposal to survive. Unlike other more simplistic shooters on XBLA, Mutant Storm provides a far deeper difficulty level which may frustrate and annoying many, and challenge the skilled.
Progressing through the levels one after another you will need to balance the use of your special fire ability, which can get you quickly out of trouble (but runs out fast) and your available health gauge, which can quickly burn away after one false move. After completing one level you will progress directly to the other, and the same with each world. This creates a fantastic challenge of endurance as many of the achievements require you to continually survive in a single session without dying once. Whilst there are many difficulty options to choose from this rarely helps as the easier you force the game, the fewer points you will earn in your goal to hit the hi-score leaderboards.
A greater sense of challenge, fast paced action with clever encounters, a good presentation throughout and complete co-op play both online and offline; Mutant Storm Empire is a great title which many gamers wanting that further challenge will enjoy.