Super Galaxy Squadron EX is a fast paced retro vertical shoot ’em up developed by Synset and published by New Blood Interactive and is available on Windows through Steam.
Our lovely Ms. Sebie had the opportunity to get a glimpse of this game at the beginning of April and insisted I played it. Alas, here I am after hours of intense level grinding and boss battling to give you a review on Super Galaxy Squadron EX.
Let’s start with the most important aspect about SGSE, the gameplay. I say it’s the most important aspect because it is literally the whole reason you want to play this game. It’s essentially kill or be killed. Depending on which ship you choose you may switch up your play style. The game itself was pretty basic. Choose a ship, go through the level killing enemies, and kill the boss. What I really liked about SGSE was the fact that you had a ‘hyper’ move that you could use once the bar filled up. Some ships could clear an entire screen full of enemies, while others could clear an entire screen full of projectiles. One of the most cheesiest hyper’s was Amber’s ‘mirror shield’ it literally gave you about 10-15 seconds of invincibility where you would deflect projectiles. This was super strong against bosses as you could go straight up to their faces and just unload all your damage.
Ships like ‘Green’ and ‘Orange’ are all about power and are primarily better at longer distances, whereas ‘Cyan’ and ‘Indigo’ give up power for agility. Depending on your preference of style you may choose several different ships through the campaign of the game. Personally I found myself switching between different ships for different levels to help clear some of the more difficult waves of enemies. ‘Chartreuse’ and ‘Magenta’ were absolute beasts and could really take some punishment thanks to their ultra high armor stats.
SGSE, doesn’t necessarily offer anything that is innovative or invigorating to the genre, but what I think is more important is its play-ability for both newbies and veterans. To be honest I felt like this game was specifically designed for veterans of the genre. This is primarily due to the difficulty of the levels not only on the harder modes but on casual as well. Although this isn’t my first time playing a game like this, I cannot call myself a veteran either. I actually had difficulty getting through some of the levels on my first play through.
The boss battles themselves weren’t very difficult and were actually kind of disappointing, except for the last boss; what a pain in my ass. The game became more about optimizing the run, and trying to take no damage. SGSE is hard enough on veteran normal, never-mind hardcore mode where you get absolutely no heals and no checkpoints. The varying degrees of difficulty ultimately speak to Synset’s pursuit of creating an arcade-like experience for those who want to re-experience the nostalgia without feeling bogged down by endless amounts of quarters.
I think Ms. Sebie said it best when she said SGSE felt a bit awkward using the keyboard, and should really be enjoyed with a controller. I wasn’t a big fan of using the keyboard either and thought that maybe the experience would be more streamline if they had choose to implement controls for the mouse instead. I believe they try to compensate for this by giving you somewhat of a ‘grace period’ or ‘invincibility frames’ as there were countless times I thought I had been hit after I had pressed ‘a’ or ‘d’ to move away from the projectile.
With retro arcade like graphics and a blasting soundtrack its hard to go wrong. SGSE is a very vibrant game, lots of colours, tons of explosions, and more projectiles than you could ever count. The one thing that bothered me to no end was the damn coins you collect for your hyper! WHY DO THEY LOOK LIKE INTERNET EXPLORER ICONS!? I asked myself that question throughout the entirety of this game! One of the things I really enjoyed though was when you go into overdrive; essentially when your combo is max. The entire screen pretty much lights up and you really get the sense that this is a true arcade game. Other then that everything else was pretty standard and nothing really blew me away.
Sorry Synset, I got the jist of the story after watching one cut scene and then proceeded to use the conveniently placed skip button you’ve provided for us! Thanks for knowing your demographic!
-The Noticed One