DubWars Review: All About That Bass

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DubWars Gameplay 2 While we were at RTX 2016, we stumbled upon a lot of indie gems for the first time. One example that really jumped out at me was DubWars, a twin stick shooter with a musical twist. Instead of controlling your weapon systems, in DubWars they are completely controlled by the sounds and beats of the games intense EGM soundtrack. The quick look we got at RTX left me eager to dive deeper into dual stick dub town, and now that I’ve had a little more time with it I can say it definitely lives up to the phat beats.

DubWars Swamp Level

An Epic Origin Story

Originally release for the Ouya developer Mura Interactive shortly thereafter held a Kickstarter that got funded in July 2013 as well as getting successfully “Greenlit” on Steam. When I look at the Ouya version and the later PC Demos I’m amazed at how far the game has come graphically during development. Some of the same awesome dubstep tracks have been with the game since the beginning, but the polished visuals do a lot to crank the experience to 11.

DubWars Gameplay

Being “One” with the Dub

While I’ve listened to the occasional Salmonella Dub or Odesza I would definitely not characterize myself as an EGM expert. Even still, I have a great appreciation for the genre, and seeing DubWars for the first time made me wonder why it feels under represented in games of any type. Regardless, if ever there was a game for EGM – it is DubWars. Each level features a track from a different artist, and even as someone not deeply steeped in the genre I’ve enjoyed every single one of them. During our chat at RTX, Jonathan from publisher Wobbl3, explained that connecting with and celebrating the artists is big goal of the game – and it shows. Each level starts out with a bio for the featured artist, and there is even an acheivement for reading them. This is a really cool way to discover new music, and DubWars lists all the details if you want to head over to iTunes or SoundCloud and hear more.

This guy is begging for a bass laser to the face

This guy is begging for a bass laser to the face

DubWars wouldn’t be much without awesome graphics and effects, but luckily this is where the game shines the most. The levels manage to be highly frenetic and still visually appealing at the same time. About five levels in I encountered “Tough Guy”, which includes a central rotating-laser-of-death and a spinning visual tunnelling effect similar to the Death Start trench run. Executing perfect evasions and firing back at just the right moment when the base drops feels epic and makes you feel that much more connected to what is already a really powerful soundscape.

DubWars Upgrades

Finishing the Set

There are a few things about DubWars that were a bit confusing at first. Upgrades are explained only with an icon that gives a rough idea of the kind of weapon it will improve.

Pro Tip Since at first you don’t know which weapons will be used most in a level, its a good idea to not spend too many Wubs until you’ve figured out what you’ll be using most.

The level select screen also doesn’t make it very clear how to unlock new levels, and at some point you may feel that you are stuck and can’t progress. In fact, there are “portals” that open at the end of certain levels, and it matters which one you choose if you want to unlock a different level.

These small things aside, the music and the experience will keep you coming back. Upgrades, difficulty tiers, achievements, and high scores all give you a reason for a lot of replays if the awesome soundtrack wasn’t reason enough.

Links:Homepage, Store Page
Our Thoughts:

If you like music games and have the slightest interest in EGM or Dubstep music you’ve got to check DubWars out. Using wub-wubs to defeat your incinerate your enemies is so entertaining you’ll be spraying bass-lasers for hours and hours.

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