It is strange for me to regret buying a shmup, but Steredenn
just left me with that: Slight Regrets
This XBOX One shmup aims to be a retro-themed shooter, with an easy-to-learn control interface
for newcomers in the shmup genre, three extra modes to enhance the gameplay further, it suffers of some flaws that only makes you regret of buying and installing the game on your console.To begin, let's start with the good parts of this game.
Your have two available modes by default, so can select between "Play" (the normal game) and "Daily Run" which is the challenge of the day, that means you have only one try to either complete the game or reach a high score or even both if you have enough experience in this kind of games. The Daily Run also tells you what weapons will be used on the Daily Run of the day (Example: "Today is Flamethrower & Plasma Gun, without Cargos"), if you die on the Daily Run you'll have to wait 24 hours before you can give this mode another try, except for one instance when the game says "Today is a Normal Run" which means it will be the same as the normal game and you can retry it as much as you want.
In any of this modes, the controls are very simple and easy to learn. A button shoots, X swaps between weapons and Y is for pick and replace a selected weapon, and dude, there's a vast array of weapons with different functions. Blasters, Missiles, Lasers, heck, those are the categories or types, since there's a whole arsenal of 35 weapons to choose from.The Blasters (or Bullets) comprises every Vulcan-type weapon.- Blaster:
This is your default weapon which is your basic "linear shot" machine gun. It will be helpful in the first two levels but you'll be overpowered later if you don't change it.- Crusher:
This is a high damage bullet weapon. It features two high-damaging bullets that move in two different directions before shooting forward.- Demuxer:
This curious weapon consists of small 8-Way shots with a boomerang shaped bullets that fire on the last direction the ship moved, so it requires aiming and memorization.- Hyperblaster:
An adaptable vulcan weapon, as long as you're holding the A button, the bullet pattern goes on a more erratic spread shot, so that means you have to tap constantly the A button for a more "Straight" firing.- Hypergun:
Not to be confused with Hyperblaster, You can think of this as the Powered-Up version of the Blaster.- Impaler:
shoots a fast, forward firing string of 4 bullets that have Armor Piercing / Wave Beam like properties, allowing them to damage multiple targets at once. If a bullet travels through a particularly large ship, it will damage it multiple times; which is ideal during boss fights.- Megagun:
This is a 3-Way shot of considerable strength, but it has a small flaw: It's fire rate is sluggish compared with other bullet weapons like the Blaster.- Shotgun:
This is your semi-automatic bullet weapon that fires a spray of ten pellets that fan out as they travel on the screen. As a Semi-Automatic weapon, you have to tap the button to fire it again, until you get an "Semi-Auto becames Autocannon" upgrade to fully improve its potential.- Supergun:
Basically, this is the Spread Gun type, which fires multiple bullets like the "S" weapon from the Contra
series, the red crystal of the Raiden
series, and Exelica's Spread Shot in Triggerheart Exelica
.The Energy weapons are your "Laser Type" weaponry.
This weapon cuts through waves of smaller enemies, while against larger foes, it will stuck on them and deal damage for a few moments before returning back. It's major flaw is the cooldown time, which needs to pick a specific item to accelerate its reloading.- Death Ray:
This high damage, semi-automatic weapon fires a single, purple energy beam that penetrates enemies; but firing the weapon decreases your ship's movement speed until the weapon reloads. It is effective against larger ships, bosses, and shielded enemies, but its not the ideal weapon for small enemies.- Laser:
Your basic, default energy beam weapon, unlike the Gradius-like laser, this is more of the Sword Over Weapon from Thunder Force V
/ Thunder Force VI
. It deals a good ammount of damage with a minimal slowdown.- Lightsaber:
This is a short ranged beam, very reminiscent of the Aryustailm's "Sword" in Blazing Star
. However, the Steredenn
Lightsaber has two properties: First, it can block bullets with the "tip" of the blade, and Second, the blade pierces infinitely after making contact with an enemy.- Plasma Gun:
Combines the vulcan-like shooting of the Blaster with the energy properties of a laser. With a high rate of fire and very good damage, this is a "Good when you have nothing" kind of weapon, but only has a limited fire time before you must wait for it to recharge. It is similar to the Blaster because it fires a rapid stream of bullets directly in front of your ship, but it's projectiles are larger and it has significantly less bullet spread.- Shockwave:
This is a "Defensive" type of weapon. Holding down the fire button will charge it up; releasing the fire button then causes the player's ship to generate a rapid circular burst of energy that will destroy all projectiles and damage or destroy any enemies within its radius. The burst radius depends on how much the weapon was charged before releasing the button.- Ultralaser:
A Powered-up version of the Laser with a wider range, armor piercing and greater strength. The laser slows down the ship while firing, and will slowly decay over time to a much smaller, less damaging laser before needing to be recharged.The Heavy weapons comprising the "Power" part of the arsenal.
This is a semi-automatic weapon that fires a slow moving projectile after a short delay. For this reason it can be hard to hit your enemies, but if a Baygun shot hits, the projectile will explode into a vertical wall that will damage all enemies along that line.- Charger:
Your R-9/Dino-246 Charge Beam weapon. It has several varying levels of strength depending on how long the fire button is held. By just tapping the button, the Charger will fire a small projectile that does less damage than a Blaster pellet. At the next level, it does more damage and deals an Area of Explosion damage. At the next charge level, the damage is increased and the radius is larger; the projectile also splits off into four separate projectiles. At the last charge level, the projectile will deal the most damage and it will split off into six separate projectiles.- Flamethrower:
Similar to the "F" weapon in Contra III: The Alien Wars
and the Flamethrower from Gradius V
. This weapon releases a spray of fire in front of your ship. Hitting an enemy also leaves behind an after-burn effect that lingers for a short time, dealing damage in addition to the spray itself. The spray and after-burn count as two seperate damage types that differ in effectiveness between different enemies. For example, the initial spray deals increased damage against bosses, while the after-burn deals reduced damage against bosses.- Homing Missiles:
It fires small missiles that track their targets down. They fire somewhat slowly and deal little damage, but they allow you to focus on dodging more than other weapons typically allow. You can compare them with a "Level 2" homing missile in the first Raiden games.- Mines:
Fires a mine each half of second, once they get static it only needs to make contact with an enemy or a bullet to explode and either damage or destroy your enemies. They are good on boss battles and they can block bullets, making them a good defensive weapon.- Rockets:
This Heavy weapon stays suspended in the air for a brief moment before propelling themselves forward in a straight line. Once they collide, they deal moderate damage and create a small Area of Explosion that deals damage to the enemies in the radius of the explosion. - Stasisgun:
This weapon fires a long stream of blue and white particles that does constant damage and slows enemies being hit by it. It's stream and radius is shorter than that of the Flamethrower, but it grows considerably longer if you upgrade your ship with the "Minirockets & Larger Radius" upgrade specific to Heavy weapons.- Torpedoes:
A Heavy weapon with a delay of 1.5 seconds per missile. It fires a single projectile that takes half a second to accelerate at full speed, causing heavy damages upon impact and destroying smaller enemies with its Area of Explosion. Good on bosses, but its fire rate is useless against waves of fast enemies.The Contact weapons, which consist of short ranged weaponry.- Driller:
This weapon deploys a large drill from the ship when activated. The drill will deal constant damage to anything it touches. It has a small radius compared to weapons like Saw or the Jaw.- Jaw:
Like its name says, your ship will deploy a chomping jaw that will crush your enemy causing moderate damages, its not very useful in my opinion.- Saw:
a circular saw around your ship when activated. It deals constant damage to any enemy that comes into contact with the blade. It's main drawback is that your ship will slow down once the saw comes into contact with an enemy. But there's a price to pay: The weapon has the shortest range of all the game's arsenal.- Sword:
Your ship will deploy a large blade that damages your enemy for a short time until it retracts. Unlike other melee weapons, the Sword needs to reload before using it again.The Bots, which they're your Gradius-wannabe Options.
This Bots are equipped with a smaller version of the Flamethrower, and with it, they bring the same effects as the regular weapon, causing a "Damage over Time" to their enemies.- Gunbots:
Your basic backup pods. They come equipped with a simplified version of the Blaster. Like all the other Bots they can be destroyed if a bullet or an enemy makes contact with them.- Rocketbots:
Rocket launcher type Pods. They fire missiles that explode and deal "Area of Explosion" damage on contact with an enemy ship. They have a slow deployment rate compared to other bots.- Shieldbots:
Instead of expending a set amount of ammo before they explode, the Shieldbots absorb a number of enemy shots before being destroyed. Their quick deployment rate and tankiness makes them a fantastic defensive asset, but they have the obvious drawback of lacking any sort of offensive capabilities. Another drawback to the Shieldbot is it's inability to shield against laser based attacks. One last thing to note is the fact that the Shieldbot will actually block your projectiles as well, becoming a double-edged weapon.- Stasisbots:
The Bots version of the Stasisgun, they fire a stream of particles that stop and damages your enemies.The Shields, which are the defensive equipment
When the fire button is held down, the ship generates a flat energy barrier, oriented in the last direction the ship moved (allowing the player to aim the barrier in any direction). Any projectiles that strike the barrier are reflected, their trajectory depending on the angle at which they hit. Reflected projectiles are yellow, and will damage anything they hit. Its only flaw: It consumes energy very quickly when active, so it can only be used in short times.- Shield:
There's no need to explain it, this is more of an upgrade rather than a weapon. It absorbs projectiles, rather than bouncing them back at foes. Without the shield augmenting upgrade, it lasts for three seconds. With it, it lasts for four. It's drawbacks include it's lack of offensive capabilities, and it's ship slowing effect when activated.Time to talk about the gameplay:
The game is an horizontal scrolling shooter where the top priorities are survive as long as possible, along with making combos by destroying "waves" of enemies without letting a single enemy escape
, as you make combos, your score increases due to the multiplier, each enemy, space debris and asteroid destroyed is a boost to your growing combo
, which is good to have in this game, also you start with a good ammount of energy
(10 points), which can be increased if the game gives you the option of increasing it by 2 points. When you defeat a boss, you have the option to select 1 of 5 upgrades like generating a shield when you're not firing, increase the damage of your weapon, install an "Autocannon" that aims to your enemies on a full 360° angle, add two more hit points to you life gauge and so on.
If you're good enough to clear the game, there's a third gameplay mode called "Superplay"
waiting for your challenge. Also you can unlock the Arena option by defeating all the bosses you were able to defeat in your game session. To unlock the bosses, you only have to clear the level.Now let's go with the bad parts of this game:
Your ship can only hold only TWO weapons, so you've gotta be very tactical on which weapon do you choose, and lemme give you a hint: Don't pick Shockwave or Jaw, is as useful as a broken ankle on a rugby match, knowing most of the weaponry of this game you'll have to find which one is appropiate for all situation. Examples of "One fits all" weapon are the Laser, Blaster, Hypergun and the "Autocannon" upgrade.
Another flaw is with the Autocannon upgrade and Bots. The Autocannon can only be deployed with the "Blaster" type weapons, and the Bots are pretty much useless due to it's 1-hit death. If you swap between weapons and you're holding the fire button your ship won't be shooting until you tap the button again, going against a natural instinct of anygame. But guess what?, the "Swap weapons while firing" comes separately as an upgrade, and that's if the game wants to give it to you after defeating a boss. Also, the post-boss battle upgrades come at random, so you can have good upgrades or helpess upgrades for your strategy.
The fact that the only way to recover life is by surviving the whole stage (boss battle included) just adds frustration rather than challenge, but the nail that seals the coffin is that the game doesn't have extra lifes or continues.
Just one shot to survive the whole game and all the loops you can pass with one single life. Not to mention the "Try Again" option is decieving because rather than trying the stage again, it sends you back to the beginning of the game
, in that case if the game wants you to go all the way back to the beginning, it'd be better off not to have a Try Again option
, or call it "Restart Game".¿¡WHY DOES THIS GAME DO THAT TO ITSELF!?
You'll be having some regrets at this moment, but there is some light
on this dark tunnel of a game. Graphically, the game aims to a old-pixel based retro graphics, while the graphical quality can be compared with the Genesis or the Amiga computer, there's a little, or shoud i say big flaw: Oversized pixels, at first i thought it was because of my TV size, but apparently is not. The pixels look way too oversized most of the times
, which makes it look mediocre due to the zoomed-in sprites. It's a real shame since there's some beautifully detailed space scenery like galaxy clusters, solar flares and planets in orbit, also the background is splitted in 2 layers, because sometimes you'll see the planets moving faster than the background, giving a 3d-esque feeling.
Another flicker of hope in this game is the music which is perhaps the best aspect of the game
. With a title screen theme that feels like the electronic style of Paul Van Dyke, the rest of the game relies on rocking guitars, so all Vapor Trail
, U.N. Squadron
and Thunder Force
fans will rejoice with the sound of guitars rocking in the middle of an air-space battle
. To add some nostalgia effect, some of the songs have a "sound filter" effect
that makes it sound like you're hearing it from an old 80's stereo.
Would i recommend you this game?, While the weapon variety makes it attractive for most gamers, the pixeled graphics adding nostalgia, and the cool music brings rhythm to the orbital chaos, the overall difficulty and lack of continuing makes it inconcievable to beat. If your idea of fun consists of being pushed all the way back to the beginning after your only single try, then this game is for you. Otherwise you'll prefer to find something better.