Overview – developed by Walk Without rhythm Games and published by Eastasiasoft, Rule No. 1 is a retro styled arena FPS, with frantic action and elements of rogue lite randomization. There is even a gallery of risqué images to unlock as rewards during play. This title is available on the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4, with a link to both versions of the game at the bottom of this review.
Disclaimer: before I get into the review, I would like to thank Eastasiasoft for providing the copy of Rule No. 1 that was used for this piece. The provision of this software has not influenced the contents of this review, all thoughts and opinions contained within are my own.
Mature Content Warning: Please note that the rating for this game has Nudity, Strong Violence and Sexual Themes listed as content in this release. If any of the content listed makes you uncomfortable, please proceed with your own discretion if you wish to check this title out.
Now with the introductions out of the way, let’s get into the review. There is no story to this game, so I will be going straight into the gameplay segment.
Gameplay – Rule No. 1 is a fast paced action shooter set in a rectangular arena, where wave after wave of enemies will attack the player in most modes, while the player dashes and dodges to avoid damage. The player has five hit points, with more being available to the player by destroying boxes which also include a variety of weapons that can be used. If all hit points are depleted, the game will be over.
There are five total game modes that the player can take on, with the points that are earned being added to a running total. These points are used to unlock images in the gallery in game, with each image unlocking in sequence per 1000 points earned. The gameplay modes that are available to the player are as follows;
- Competitive – this is a competitive mode where score matters most, with a limited weapon pool that players can use, the dash skill, a magnet style skill to pull loot in and grenades that can damage several enemies at once.
- Arcade – A mode that is more focused on fun rather than competition. The full weapon pool is available for the player to collect, as well as the skills that can be used in other modes.
- Bouncy Bois Only – a more relaxed and predictable mode where only one type of enemy will appear and attack the player, the weapon pool is limited like competitive, but the difficulty is reduced.
- God Stilletos – Survive as many waves as possible with only the special dagger as your weapon and battle the hordes of foes that will try to take you down. This is a special challenge mode for those who want to push themselves.
- Basketball – throw the balls into the net and collect them or recall them when you run out. Take your time and score as many points as you can without the threat of death looming over you.
The overall gunplay of this release is solid, with a simple Doom or Quake like control system with a fixed crosshair. The starting weapon is a simple pistol, but the arsenal that can be obtained includes shotguns, rifles, automatic weapons and even dual wielding pistols. There is infinite ammo for all the weapons, so it is not so much about running out of ammo, but more which weapon does the best job for the player.
There is a random element to the weapon drops that can be collected from the orange block in the arena. The items that drop will always consist of a heart to heal damage and a weapon to pick up. This makes the battles more unpredictable, as there is no real guarantee that a specific weapon will drop from a crate. The weapon switching also feels random, as it can take a few presses to get the weapon that is wanted which can be a frustration.
During each of the waves, there will be several enemies that appear from outside the arena and close in on the player. These foes include bouncing balls and zombies that will attack relentlessly until they are taken down. Each weapon will deal a different amount of damage to enemies, so finding the one that works best is a key strategy to success in this game, as well as precise and solid movement within the battle arena.
The action that takes place through the waves is very frantic, with enemies swarming the player very quickly, which can lead to a quick death. This means that a lot of practice is needed in order to climb the leaderboards, which adds a lot of replay value for the player. The unlockable gallery images also give an incentive for players to keep playing, working towards the rewards that can be gained from consistent play.
Now with the gameplay covered, I will be moving onto the other aspects of the game, starting with the controls.
Controls – the control method for Rule No. 1 is similar to that of other old-school FPS games. The thumb sticks control movement and the face buttons/triggers are used for the actions/combat. These inputs and the layout works very well, with the movement and action feeling snappy while having zero issues with lag. The sensitivity of movement can be adjusted to better fit different play styles, making it more comfortable and responsive.
Difficulty – this is a very difficult title, with the enemies attacking from all directions it can lead to sudden death at any time. This can be frustrating when starting the game for the first time, but over time this frustration will often lessen as players get used to the way that the action flows. There is no way to adjust the difficulty of the game so it may put off some players.
Presentation – this release has a very simple look to it, with the environment of the arena having splashes of color as well as a vaporwave style aesthetic to it. The enemies are made of both polygons and traditional sprites, which is an interesting mesh of both old and new. The sound for the game has a nice balance, with a rocky electro soundtrack, heavy sound effects and witty one liners that all come together very well.
Final Thoughts – I enjoyed Rule No. 1, it is a tough and challenging shooter that will really push you to try your best just to survive a little longer. The action is frantic and the enemies that attack from all directions really made me panic some times, which is both a positive and a negative as it may be off putting to some players. The variety of weapons is a good touch, but the random drops can be disruptive during stressful encounters.
I can easily recommend this game as it is a solid shooter on a budget. The gimmick for it being an enclosed arena works well as players know what to always expect, which can allow players to adapt and work up the leaderboards. The different game modes make this a good option for players who want to mix things up, as well as the gallery that incentivizes players to keep playing just that little longer for the next unlock.
In the end, I give Rule No. 1 a final score of 4/5. This is a frantic and intense shooter that is as chaotic as it is fun, with gun play, movement and action reminiscent of old-school FPS games, but modernized just enough to create a challenging experience that can be picked up with ease. If you want to check this title out for yourself, a link to each version of the game will be below.
Link to Nintendo Switch version (HERE)
Link to PlayStation 4 version (HERE)