Pythetron was created by developer Thomas Townsend. In 2015 he started a Kickstarter campaign, which unfortunately failed due to not enough funding. I suspect that for this reason the game is still in Alpha stage.
But oh-boy, is this a visual stunning game! It uses modern techniques for the graphics but the feel is really traditional SHMUP style, combined with what seems to be puzzling elements.
The game consists out of 10 worlds, with each 4 levels and a boss level. The levels have to be unlocked, but once unlocked you can freely choose them to upgrade your score. The difficulty can be chosen between Beginner, Skilled or Expert. The differences between the skill levels are not that big though, mostly in ship tolerance.
The ship shoots in both directions, as you go you can pickup upgrades to you ship. One of the first is a kind of sling ball that allows you to destroy objects at unreachable places. Upgrades can be applied after completing a level, in the hangar. There are lots of cool options under armament, armour and accessories to tune your ship based on your preferences/needs.
The attention for detail is really stunning. Destroyed buildings have fire ongoing, weird animals are running around those buildings. Beautiful waterfalls can also be found in some levels. Destroyed enemies leave objects to collect, which disappear when they hit a building for example. Also enemies are of different size and shapes, all quite detailed rendered..
The puzzle element is quite diverse; there are places where you can transport your ship instantly to another location of the screen, there are also ‘wind blow’ machines which force your ship blown into a certain direction. Cubes are floating at certain locations, which you can use strategically in the game. Also switches you can use to your advantage, some enemies are quite strong and can be more easily destroyed when luring them into the worldly lasers – which can be turned on/off with those switches. Same applies for rocks which decimate when hit.
The balance of the game is not optimal and I believe the game is also not finished. For some reason I have not been able to reach enough ‘stars’ to move on the some of the levels. Whether that is because did not score enough points or those levels do not exist yet, I do not know.
The world end boss that I was able to reach is beautifully detailed created and animated.
I do wish that the developer would find the time to finish it, a shame the kickstarter effort was not able to meet its goal.
Yet, it is a fun game for hours, considering it is a free game there is no reason not to pick it up.