Shoot-em-ups are great for when you don’t have an couple of hours to devote to a role-playing or strategy game. As with most genres, Linux has got you covered with several choices. There are classical shoot-em-ups, and newer experimental ones with more abstract graphics. I’m going to skip some of the more mediocre ones in the repositories. Also keep in mind that DOSbox and Wine will let you play other shooters that were only made for Windows or DOS.
openTyrian (W)– This is a remake of the classic Tyrian game for DOS. Features include an original score, high score tracking, a 4 episode campaign or an arcade mode (1 or 2 players), and the purchase of upgrades to your ship. A definite must-have.
Chromium BSU – One of the best known shooters for Linux, this game is 10 years old and is still being maintained. The game gives hints when you are at the main menu, and you have a choice of 6 skill levels, You can adjust the detail, sound and music volumes, and screen size. Difficulty is increased compared to other shooters because you lose lives whenever you allow an enemy ship to reach the bottom of the screen (if you have to run into a ship to stop it, do so – you don’t die instantly from collisions). You control the ship with your mouse and can move in all directions although you only fire straight up.
Adanaxis – This shooter seems to be full screen only and is more of an FPS. It has a tutorial and a pdf manual. The controls take a bit of getting used to.
Astromenace – very good graphics, angled top-down view, many adjustable options, instructions, upgrades, 15 missions, music. I’d recommend it.
Balder2d – This one has music, 10 maps, full-screen optional, up to 8 players, and abstract maps.
KETM – The name stands for Kill Everything That Moves. Options are limited to adjusting volume and difficulty. It has a very small screen when windowed. Limited color palette. There are collectible power-ups but the game isn’t one of the best available.
Kobo Deluxe – Excellent graphics and lots of configuring options, tricky game play (have to hit the knobs on the ends of pipes before you can destroy the pipes). It is based on xkobo. Definitely worth checking out – the official home page mentions 17 enemies and 50 maps.
Kraptor – This shooter has a Spanish language option. It starts full-screen but can be windowed, and is one of the ones you have to start from the comand line. Several video options are given, but the graphics are fairly grainy. You can buy upgrades to your ship, so there’s that.
Kenta Cho, of ABA Games, is a notable independent game designer. He has created quite a few original shooters with distinctive, abstract looks. Most of them can be installed on Ubuntu or Linux Mint (and Windows, for that matter). The games I have found in the repositories are Titanion, Noiz2sa, Torus Trooper, Tumiki Fighters, and Val & Rick. Below is one picture to give you an idea of what they look like.
Space zero – I’m not sure yet how to play this one, but will update when I figure it out. Vectorized graphics are distinctive, I’ll give it that.
An Addendum to my post on board games: After I wrote that overview on the 21st, I found that there was a Chinese Chess playing program in the repositories (labeled gmchess). Chinese Chess is called Xiangqui and there are brief introductions and tutorials on Youtube as well as websites to help you learn it. This version allows you to play another human (hot seat mode), or against the computer – although at least one person online thinks the AI is less than challenging.