The space-based shooter is among the most classic of gaming genres. There's a good reason that many indie developers have grappled onto the space bullet-hell shooter and tried to put their own spin on it. For many developers, it's the type of game that they grew up with. That's certainly the case for Italian-based Studio Evil, which is why their upcoming game Syder Arcade looks to be a throwback in more ways than one.
Syder Arcade is a retro throwback that's all about getting into the game. Rather than concern itself with modern trappings, such as assigning attributes and earning experience, the game plunges the player into the action, immediately. The only thing I had to concern myself with before each mission was selecting one of three pre-made ships, each with its own particular qualities.
Like many games of this genre, Syder Arcade wants players to blow away anything that moves. A majority of the campaign levels were simply about surviving waves of enemies and taking them out quickly. There were a couple of instances where there were a few additional objectives tossed in, such as an asteroid field stage that required me to take out all of the enemies before they could attack my allies in the background. These campaign missions offer a nice sense of variety to an otherwise straightforward bullet-hell shooter.
In terms of visuals, Syder Arcade is beautifully designed with fully detailed backgrounds. The amount of detail devoted to the backgrounds is so rich that it almost becomes difficult to tell what's in the background and what's in front of your face. There's so much going on in the background that it nearly drew my eye from the action at several points. One of the campaign levels featured a background with several of my ally ships fighting it out with dozens of enemies, adding to the atmosphere of the game's intergalactic war setting. The staggering visuals are one major draw for Syder Arcade. The game also gives players the option to go full-retro by changing the graphic settings to match vintage computers of the past, with Apple IIe and Commodore 64 among the available selections.
Syder Arcade is in the middle of beta testing, but what I played offered plenty to be optimistic about. Studio Evil is still working out several bug fixes and implementing final pieces to the Syder Arcade puzzle, but the game is on track for release later this year for both PC and Mac. An iPad version is also planned, according to the game's official site.
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