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530 Eco Shooter

Flaying waste.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

The Wii-propelled renaissance of the on-rails shooter is in no way unwelcome. Both Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles and House of the Dead: Overkill have reawakened an affection for laying uncomplicated waste to the undead that had lain dormant since the golden days of lightgun games.

What's more, Sin and Punishment 2's awe-inspiring screenfuls of pretty bullets and three-pronged whale assaults remind us that this can be an insanely creative and visually gobsmacking genre.

For its part, 530 Eco Shooter is an eyebrow-raising concept - blasting away at sentient rubbish with a recycling gun sounds like it might be fun - and the fact it's been put together by Intelligent Systems, of Advance Wars and Fire Emblem fame, had our radars twitching. But sadly it's no milestone on the road of the on-rails shooter renaissance. In fact, it's actually a bit rubbish.

The irony of 530 Eco Shooter is not lost on us - it closely follows Nintendo's abysmal Greenpeace write-up, in which the company earned a career-worst 1.4 out of 10. Evidently the price of worldwide success is tonnes of planet-killing toxic emissions.

530 Eco Shooter does, at least, provide ample opportunity for one-liners. Aheghgh. "Good riddance to bad rubbish!"

530 Eco Shooter is loosely based around recycling, taking you through levels full of rubbish that needs shooting, but it's not a simple clean-up operation. Shot once, the sentient cans or barrels fall lifelessly to the ground, and you have to shoot them again to destroy them and harvest 'recycling energy' for your gun.

Shooting uses up energy, as does getting hit by empty soft-drink and sardine cans, so the idea is to expend as few shots on eliminating garbage as possible, industriously stocking up on gun energy in preparation for the boss battle. You shoot everything once for points and once again for energy - rapid-fire is an extremely bad idea in all but the most desperate circumstances, as it drains energy at an alarming rate.

530 Eco Shooter's sense of pace is frankly bizarre. Rather than trying frantically to keep pace with screenfuls of enemies and projectiles, you spend much of your time shooting patiently at already-dead rubbish in order to hoover up glowing orbs.

The strange energy economy means the game is unexpectedly demanding at first, before you realise that shooting wildly at everything on the screen won't get you anywhere. Even once you've grasped the game's simple but weird principles it's never easy.

This is partly because the enemies are all just cans and barrels rather than a more exciting menagerie of rubbish, and it's sometimes difficult to pick them out from the brown-and-grey backgrounds, or distinguish the aggressive rubbish from the lifeless. 530 Eco Shooter could have instantly made itself more interesting by giving us more varied things to shoot - having rogue shopping trolleys or flying bits of Big Mac to blast at would make it far less boring to look at, too.