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23 Jun 2023

REVIEW: Martian Panic on Nintendo Switch

Review by Jon Donnis
I have not played an "on-rail shooter game" for ages, I was a big fan of the Virtua Cop and The House of the Dead games back in the late 90s which probably introduced me to the genre, well on-rail shooter games are back, (apparently), this time on Nintendo Switch. I played Martian Panic on a Switch Lite.

The Martians have invaded, and you have to stop them. Thats the story. No more, no less.

As mentioned, this is an on-rails shooter, for those unfamiliar that means that you are on a pre-determined route, and all you need to worry about is shooting the aliens, you don't need to worry about which way to go etc.

The main selling point of the game is the style, everything is done in a comic book style, with a retro 1950s feel.

There are 8 levels to beat, across various locations, movie theatre, the pyramids, a farm, outside a diner etc. There are 6 different weapons to collect and use, and 10 different types of enemies, there are also a number of powerups to collect. Other than the aliens, you can also shoot various objects that might drop a bonus. For example, shoot a scarecrow in the farm level and you might get a new weapon. Try to avoid killing the civilians who will undoubtably run right in front of you, get a high score, and try to get to the top of the leaderboards.

Between each level you have short movies which further tell the story, and within each level there are short cutscenes to give your fingers a break. Everything is done with a nice level of humour, and as mentioned earlier in a 1950s comic book style.

There are the usual difficulty levels, and you can also play with 3 others on one console although I was unable to test that, I am guessing that is for the Switch regular and not the switch lite.

The Good
This is a fun little game, great humour, nice voice overs, and a silly but fun story.

Fun bright graphics and I like the comic book style in the cut scenes.

The Bad
This game needs to played using a light gun, using the Switch Lite controller joystick to move the aim icon is tough, it is hard to be accurate, why on earth they didn't make this touch screen for the Switch Lite is beyond me, that is literally the only other way that you could get the best out of this game without using a light gun. Also you NEED to play this game with the sound on, I know many people like to listen to music or have the TV on, but without the sound it is hard to tell when you are out of bullets, watch the gameplay video below, and you will see how often I kept shooting when I had no bullets left. Also, when you do shoot someone, there needs to be more of a feeling that you have hit them. This game leaves you wondering at times if you have actually hit an enemy or not.

A fun game that just struggles on the Switch Lite, if you have a Switch regular, then I am sure this game will play better. I wonder if I can plug a regular PC mouse into the Switch Lite to play this game? Would definitely make it easier? No Bluetooth mouse though, will need a converter.

If you are a fan of On Rail Shooters and have a Light Gun, then this is definitely a game you should add to your collection, if only because there isn't that many out there. Would be great fun with young kids.

Doesn't really work on the Switch Lite which is a shame, but there is a fun game here if you have the right set up, which unfortunately I don't think I did.

Out now on Nintendo Switch at and also pick up the accessory to turn your Joy-Cons into a gun like device at, its not perfect, but until we get a proper light gun it will have to do.

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