Onslaught Review
Onslaught box art
System: Wii (WiiWare) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Hudson Soft 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Hudson 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 23, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Like other downloadable gaming services offered on current-gen consoles, Nintendo's WiiWare continues to show tremendous potential yet still has a lot of growing to do before it truly comes into its own. It's been host to a mixture of amazing indie hits, heinous shovelware, and just about everything in between. While the service is populated by many different types of games, file size limitations and other constraints have deterred developers from bringing a first-person shooter into the fold. That is, until now.

Onslaught screenshot

For many players, blasting quasi-bionic bugs across the rough-hewn landscape of a foreign celestial body may evoke memories of Starship Troopers or some other over-the-top sci-fi flick. Revilers of nanotech-infused alien space bugs can get their hate-on full throttle in Hudson Soft's WiiWare first-person shooter debut. In any other format, Onslaught might be considered a bit underwhelming in some areas, but as the first first-person shooter launched on WiiWare, it's pretty damn impressive. Get read to wipe away the neon green bug guts that are about to be splattered across your screen via high-caliber weaponry.

There's not a lot you really need to know about Onslaught's sci-fi tale, other than it provides the barest of contexts necessary to facilitate the forcible destruction of a whole lot of big, robotic insects. Story in a nutshell: "Hey, let's stick expensive government technology into huge bugs and send them into space to see what happens." What happens, of course, is that they wind up on a desolate planet, replicate, and find a sneaky way to lure more humans to their deaths. The "more humans" turns out to be you and a few geekily armored squad mates. Thankfully, you're well-armed and granted a blank check to kick some carapace. Let's roll.

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Onslaught's single-player story mode spans 13 intense missions that are unlocked in tiers. Three missions are available at a time to be played in any order you choose; beating the first three unlocks a boss battle, and beating the boss unlocks the next trio of levels - the process repeats. The first level or two eases you into the rhythm of taking out waves of oncoming bugs (they come at you from the distance and sprout up from underground in front of you) while navigating the rocky terrain. Beyond that, the difficulty ramps up significantly, and many will find staying alive to beat some missions on the first go-around will be a struggle even on normal mode. Mission objectives typically include search-and-destroy raids, reaching specific points on a map in one piece, staying alive until time runs out, defending locations or bases against waves of foes for different periods of time, and other similar variations.

Onslaught screenshot

Any first-person shooter on the Wii stands to be greatly enhanced or horribly mangled by its controls. Here, the Wii Remote and Nunchuk combo works quite well, providing general fluidity in basic movement, aiming, and switching weaponry. The thumbstick allows slow forward, backward, and side-to-side strafing movement. Double tapping the stick makes you leap quickly in the corresponding direction, but it can be really awkward trying to dodge or move quickly across long distances when necessary. This is the only fault in the controls, and it's a minor grievance that only impacts play during boss battles. Aiming, turning, and firing are handled with the Wii Remote - it's all very smooth and easy to pull off. Your four primary weapons can be switched out via the D-Pad and waggling the Wii Remote reloads. The Nunchuk also gets plenty of play as well; tapping the C button arms a grenade which can be lobbed with a flinging motion, and the Z button pulls out a sweet laser whip for close combat discipline. In a fun twist, killing foes at close range douses your view visor with their green blood, which begins to cause damage if it isn't cleared away. Shaking the Nunchuk wipes your free arm across the screen. Groovy.

Weapon-wise, you're packing space-age versions of a missile launcher, a three-burst assault rifle, a machine gun, and a shotgun. Each can be upgraded twice by finding secret items hidden throughout the game. The firepower isn't too fancy, yet it's generally fun to use, especially the laser whip. There's also a massive tank that provides highly enjoyable destructive force in short bursts. And every bullet will be needed. You'll face a variety of grub-like, mawed slithering things, airborne creatures akin to giant bees, hopping locusts, massive armored beetles, and towering boss creatures. Since these are robo-bugs, each has a glowing core element located somewhere on its body. Putting enough lead into these creepy crawlies will take them down eventually, but targeting their glowing weak spot gets the job done with greater efficiency - something that's absolutely mandatory when literal hordes of these nasty beasts are clattering at you from all directions.

Onslaught screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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