A disaster indeed.
A Duel Hand Disaster is an indie game made by Ask an Enemy Studios. It is a split-screen shooter designed to be played both alone or with a friend. It features a very simple concept, collect points and do not die. However with very little explanation as to how to complete the objectives, it can become rather tedious to the point of being almost insulting at times. This coupled with the fact that the insinuated story is never really explained makes it hard to follow.
While there is not really a story since it is in essence, an arcade game, there is an element of story behind the gameplay that the creators tried to use to make it, at best, introspective. The title Trackher apparently refers to some person who will die if you do not perform well. Along with that, every time a new game starts, the phrase “your score is meaningless unless you exist” comes across the screen, and the phrase “fission mailed” comes across the screen if you die before it rearranges itself to say “mission failed” This may be a reference to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty but there does not seem to be a reason to include it.
At the start of any level, there is a ship on the left and right side of the screen. The right ship’s job is to collect parts and materials to earn points, while the left ships job is to shoot enemy ships and stop them before they can pass over into the right screen. The parts collected are the primary objective as you have to find a certain amount before evacuation is possible. The materials are used for a point multiplier, as well as the way you recharge the left ships batteries and use certain abilities.
The game does not explain almost any of this to the player unless you figure out where to look. With a minimal menu screen that can be hard to navigate as the prompts are not always clear, finding the tutorials to learn the rules can be a challenge in itself. If you can manage to find and watch all the tutorials from the main menu, you will stand a chance at surviving. Though not a very high chance at first.
With the ability to survive a level comes it’s own set of objectives. Unless you are capable of a high amount of multitasking, the game will still be very difficult. The longer you press on in single sitting, the more enemies and obstacles will spawn on both sides. Along with this there is a wall of fire that closes in every four minutes and will kill you if you do not know how to push it back.
The game does get repetitive fast, but has a solid techno/rock sound track which does lend itself to the gameplay, allowing you to zone out and play it whenever you feel the need to. The soundtrack might be the most enjoyable part as it ramps up and slows down depending on how much is happening on the screen at any time, allowing your level of concern to move as well.
Overall this game is not very enjoyable for long stretches, but is at least playable after an adjustment period. For the price of $9.99 that it is marked on the Nintendo eShop, I personally would not suggest it, but if it is ever on sale or if you feel that it is exactly the type of game you would like, it is not the worst way to spend your money.