Review: Syder Arcade

Syder Arcade 1
Review: Syder Arcade

Platforms: Windows PC, Mac., Steam, OUYA

Game Name: Syder Arcade

Developer: Studio Evil

Genre: Side-scrolling shooter

Release Date: April 9th 2012

Developer Summary

Syder Arcade is a free scrolling multi directional shoot ’em up. A love letter to ’90 classics for the Amiga and PC. Designed as an uncompromised old-school experience, Syder arcade is a furious and challenging action game that will bring you back in time, when games were all about skill, perseverance and madly swearing at your computer.

This is Studio Evil first commercial game and is born from the developers gaming roots and intends to be instant-action fun, rewarding player skill and lightning reflexes, just like the old times.

What We Think

Syder Arcade is a retro inspired side-scrolling space shooter that harkens back to the days of Thunder Force and even older arcade classics like Defender. As a self described “love letter” to Amiga and PC games of the early 90s, Syder Arcade comes with a couple of unusual features that set it apart from its peers. But is this enough to warrant the price tag?

The first and most striking aspect of Syder Arcade is the quality of its graphics; from the menu to the gameplay itself, Syder Arcade demonstrates an ambitious level of spectacle. The background of each level ranges from a chaotic asteroid field to a massive gas giant. Meanwhile the foreground is taken up with a manic spread of enemy ships and, in true “bullet-hell” style, an endless barrage of weapons fire. Syder Arcade may be inspired by retro titles but it will still push some machines.

In terms of gameplay, Syder Arcade does exactly what it sets out to do – you start with a choice of three vessels ranging from heavy to light with advantages of speed over power or vice versa. With this choice made the player is dropped into a classic side scrolling shooter with the ability to fly in either direction, Defender-style. Enemies drop pickups that improve your primary weapon or provide additional ammunition for a special weapon (dependent on your ship) that can clear large groups of enemies.

Enemies range from small fighters to massive cruisers covered with cannons. There is a decent selection of things to shoot at and some thought has gone into varying the challenge. Some enemies have shields fixed to one direction, forcing you to flank them, while others simply pack an enormous amount of firepower. Most of the time, however, you’ll mainly be shooting anything that moves and desperately dodging hundreds of incoming shots.

The goal of Syder Arcade as a retro styled shooter is clear and it’s fair to say that the game has achieved this goal adequately. Unfortunately Studio Evil hasn’t pushed the concept very hard and the result is a graphically impressive but fairly derivative game. More customization or immersion would go a long way to making Syder Arcade more involving. For example, rather than a limited selection of three ships it would be great to see a system for modifying your vessel and unlocking new parts as the campaign progresses.

Another, more damning drawback for Syder Arcade is the absence of content. The game comes with six missions set across a story campaign and one survival level. The six missions, while visually impressive, just don’t feel diverse enough in style to justify the small number of them that come with the game. The story itself is somewhat lackluster and it feels a little out of place, slowing down a game that is otherwise designed for fast paced and frenetic action.

Syder Arcade is fun, that’s a certainty. You can open it up and easily jump in for some frantic shooting action with no strings attached. Those here for the retro fix will also be pleased by the various graphical options available to make the game emulate the look of older systems like the Amiga. This is backed up by an entertaining soundtrack that supports the retro atmosphere. Sadly, this isn’t enough to make up for the limited content and missed opportunity to provide some new and exciting features for the genre. Syder Arcade has good potential and it looks great, it just needs more content to make it worth your time.

Visit Syder Arcade – Official Site

Syder Arcade on Steam Greenlight

Get Syder Arcade on Steam

[xrr rating=”3/5″]