Syder Arcade PC Review

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Syder Arcade is a wonderful title that has brought all of the good components from the 90s arcade side-scrolling shooters into the modern-day era. Developed by Studio Evil, you are a singular ship thrown against innumerable amounts of enemy crafts to accomplish different missions, ranging from protecting a friendly but immense warship through an asteroid field, to simply destroying every ship that you aren’t piloting. These six missions are delivered to you in sequence in the form of a simple yet endearing storyline, and after a good ten minutes of flying around space with a level of skill that you can look back and be proud of, you can compare your scores to all the other pilots out there.

Immediately upon launching the game, you will notice the graphics, which can only be described as stunning. Even the menu screen is pleasing to look at and simple to navigate. The game also offers a “GFX” setting on this menu where you can select from between 20 different graphics filters. These filters are great fun to play around with, and some will certainly bring back memories of days gone by for older gamers while the more modern filters are very impressive for gamers who are perhaps not old enough for the nostalgia to extend to them. The graphics really shine through during the fighting; if you can manage to tear your eyes off of the seemingly unavoidable shots being fired at you for even a second, you will be able to appreciate the asteroid belts in the background and even the amount of effort and detail that has gone into the mines – which will only be on your screen for a few seconds before they violently explode.

In close relation, the title promises to deliver the 90s kick in terms of difficulty, and it delivers on its promise. Years of playing video games might have you egotistically notching up the difficulty before you have even experienced the first few seconds of fighting, only to be brought down a peg and a difficulty tier. But what the title manages to reach a perfect balance with is that even though it is difficult, it is still enjoyable. It might take you a fair amount of time to complete a mission, but you will feel like you truly deserved the victory. You have a choice between three ships to pilot, but none of the ships are dominant; it completely depends on how you play. If you prefer to zip around the battlefield and slowly whittle at the enemy whilst avoiding direct confrontation, you might want to pick the ship with the lighter armor than the brute of a ship which sacrifices its speed for its slightly more impenetrable hull; or if you are not sure, you can simply choose the ship which has a compromise between the two. Each ship has its particular charged attack which can be immensely useful for bigger enemies, yet not enough to make the game easy. Health bonuses are exceedingly rare; if the deadly accurate marksmanship of your enemies don’t buckle you, the sheer volume of their attack soon will.

Furthermore, the title has really managed to remain as a great competitor to modern titles whilst at the same time keeping the values that made 90s gaming so popular. A lot of games nowadays require a complicated and deep storyline to keep the player interested, whereas a lot of the older arcade games simply had very little in terms of storyline because there simply was not enough memory. What Syder Arcade has accomplished very well is…although there is a storyline to follow in the game which gives reason to you flying through space and completing missions, it does not tear your concentration away from the action – which you will almost certainly need to survive the oncoming few minutes. Yet at the same time, the mission briefings and ship selection are executed in a format which allows you to really feel endeared to the universe.

In addition, the playtime of the game is extended by the survival mode, badges and online leaderboards. The survival level is simply a test of how long you can last, using all the skills you have picked up during your piloting career. There is a great feeling in not only beating other people, but bettering your own scores. After each mission attempt, you will see your ranking with all the other pilots and it’s great to see exactly where you stand in comparison with the rest of the gaming community. Finally, you will also be awarded badges according to your performance within the game for acts of warfare that the title deems commendable, such as massacring a handful of enemies in one swift attack. It is fantastic to feel the game rewarding you for your efforts in a manner which does not distract you from the intense combat.

On the other hand, the title does not come without its faults. It is particularly frustrating to be affected by one of the few pretty game-crashing bugs that can spring up out of the blue, and these certainly need to be fixed by game patches in due course. Personal experiences included missions not loading, the camera not following the ship, the game suddenly closing down out of the blue, and many more bugs that have been reported. However, it would be stupid to think that the developers would just stop working on a game upon release; one can be certain that the developers are working hard to resolve these issues. Perhaps one can hope for a few more campaign missions, for, although the missions are good and the survival mode and leaderboards certainly extend the lifetime of the game, the title could do with perhaps just a few more missions.

In conclusion, there are just not many bad points that can be brought up against Syder Arcade. In terms of what the title has set out to do, it has gone beyond expectations and returned with what should be a staple in the gaming libraries of longtime and recent gamers alike. Syder Arcade is visually incredible and the music and sound effects only add to the atmosphere that it generates. Although not a title that will take you a while to get through if you really tried to push through the campaign, it is very easily recommendable because of the amount of enjoyment you will get out of it for a very fitting price tag.

9/10

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Version tested: PC

Also available on: Mac, Linux

Developer: Studio Evil

Genre: Action, Shooter, Arcade