Side-Scrolling Shooters Live on
We all have a genre of video game that we can always enjoy playing. That genre of video game that we grew up with that is ingrained into us that no matter what else we may play; we enjoy going back to. For me as a child was mostly platformers but a genre that I always had a soft spot for was side-scrolling shooters in the style of Super R-Type or Gradius.
The first time I saw the trailer for the Wii U game called StarGhost, I knew I would probably enjoy this game to no end, but I have had a lot of moments like that where the title just failed to live up to my lofty expectations. Would StarGhost end up being one of those letdowns?
The short answer is No, it was not a letdown but did not really live up to my expectations either. In this review, I will attempt to explain why I say this and hopefully help you decide whether you want to give it a try.
While StarGhost is a side-scrolling shooter like Super R-Type, it does have its differences. At its core, StarGhost for the Nintendo Switch is an automatic side-scrolling shooter that includes rather simple controls and a simple but respectable storyline. It also has a quite easy learning curve and is a title that lends itself to being replayed repeatedly. It is a good match for the Nintendo Switch and its portability.
The story, as I said before is a simple one to follow. At the start, an enemy fleet has been spotted at the outer perimeter and you get the pilot the most advanced starship to ever be built through twelve different star systems to battle through asteroid fields, never-ending enemies, exploding stars, and even dogfight with deadly Sentinel ships in-between the waves of those enemies.
At its base gameplay, StarGhost is like any other side-scrolling shooter but with some key additions that make it not just another generic shooter. Each level is dynamically generated which gives each playthrough a unique feel. The controls are super simple as it automatically scrolls which means all you need to pay attention to is where you are on the screen vertically and where you are shooting at with your auto-firing turret. Oh yeah, watch out for those cliffs you are about to hit. Your ship is upgradable between missions through an in-game currency system that you pick up during gameplay. There are also in-level advanced unlocks that can be picked up to be used during the level.
Sounds and Graphics
The game has beautiful art direction and the graphics never really have any performance issues while playing in either docked mode on your TV or in handheld mode. The game flows smoothly as enemies fly towards you and the level scrolls by you.
The game’s soundtrack is composed by renowned video game composer David Wise, whose credits include three Donkey Kong Land games and Super Smash Bros Melee and suits the game superbly. The areas of the game that have voice acting included are well done and the main voice actor’s voice suits the game nicely. There are a few cheesy lines included in the game such as “Spending feels good” but I feel with the combination of the beautiful graphics and gorgeous music, I can forgive those easily.
Final Thoughts and Considerations
I originally l played this game upon release on the Nintendo Wii U and instantly fell in love with it, I feel like the Nintendo Switch version takes what the original release did so well and built upon that. The best improvement for the Switch iteration over the Wii U has got to be with the console itself and the ability to play this game on the go. The pick-up and play aspect of the Nintendo Switch gives this version an edge over the previous.
The game has an easy learning curve that allows anyone to be able to play it and with the Switch that can be anywhere you are and any time you wish to play it whatever amount of time you want. This game does share some aspects of other popular games of the time such as Flappy Bird and Jetpack Joyride in how it challenges you to replay the game to improve upon your previous playthrough scores. The only negative here and it is an exceedingly small one at that is a lack of a permanent upgrade system for your ship.
I would highly recommend this game to any Switch owner that enjoys side-scrolling shooters or just any Switch owner that enjoys quick and easy to play games.