Looks can be deceiving.
Don't be fooled by adorable diminutive kittens. More often than not, they will fool you. Take Project 83113, for example. At a glance, it conjures platforming you think you've seen thousands of times over. Belle, the adorable mascot featured within this gun-happy platformer, feels right at home within this world of action and danger, and so did we. If you're thinking you're in for some completely banal exercises in game design 101, you've got it all wrong.
The titular Belle (make a note of the "83113" and you'll see it) was created as a last-ditch effort by her people to deliver them from slavery and a life of oppression as enforced by the machine race that's taken over her planet. It's their hope that Belle may overthrow the malevolent machines and return life to normal. And they seem to have outdone themselves with little Belle, who's packing plenty of heat.
Except it's not up to you to control said heat. Instead, you're tasked with ensuring Belle navigates successfully throughout the chaos on-screen and gets where she needs to go. It all feels quite similar to games like Robot Unicorn Attack, but the catch is you can swipe to change the direction Belle's moving in, when she's moving at all, and when she will jump or slide. Belle will automatically shoot at each target she encounters, so all you really need to focus on is where you're going, and the rest will come to you.
And while Project 83113 may sound like a relatively pain-free game, it's actually quite chaotic. Between Belle's acrobatics and the many oncoming enemies there's plenty going on and much to focus on. So much, in fact, that sometimes it can be quite difficult to ascertain where Belle is on-screen and her relation to other enemies. In the furious flurry of oncoming projectiles it can be quite easy to lose the tiny Belle and in this, many stages later on in the game can become quite tedious and frustrating, like with the shoot-em-'ups this adorable little game conjures.
But it all feels so fluid and frenetic it's hard to fault Project 83113 for smaller complaints. It's smooth, addictive, and packed with side-missions, alluring worlds, and boss battles that you'll remember long after the game ends. Just know that you will be dying, and often. You could never have mistaken this game for being a fair and balanced challenge. There are cheap deaths, and there are times you will mis-judge your jump due to some imprecise controls and platforming. But you'll come right back, if not for the action then to see what upgrades you can get your hands on next.
Project 83113 is an excellent platformer with bullet hell elements that should be right up your alley if you love games like Super Meat Boy or Ikaruga, as it seems to meld the two worlds in a satisfying medley. Check it out if you've got a few hours to kill.