Occasionally here at Player2.net.au we will play something that deserves your attention but probably doesn’t need a full review written for it. Be it DLC for the latest AAA title, a little indie game or even an Android/iOS title. We play these titles for the same length as the average blockbuster movie (about 2 hours) and report back to you the reader on what we found. So grab your popcorn and settle in for the latest episode of Blockbuster Gaming.
Blockbuster Gaming – Soldner X-2: Final Prototype
Star Citizen may have needed $77 million – and counting – to fund its journey beyond the stars. Elite Dangerous earned an altogether more humble $1.7 mil. And Soldner-X 2? Well, the only figure you’ll find approaching that sort of number in SideQuest Studios’ Vita vision of space-based bullet hell is the high score counter that sits in the top left corner of the screen, expectant and ever watchful like a judgemental stare. It’s ever the go-to tool in the shoot-em-up developer’s repertoire, that counter: one part grading to mock or applaud, the other part incentive to climb back into the cockpit for a return journey.
And what of the journey itself? It’s entertaining, if not entirely unique. The now commonplace array of weaponry is all here and accounted for, found in the power-ups, firing modes and bombs that clear the screen, activated like a panic button when skill fails even the calmest of pilots.
The adversary is more predictable still. An assortment of ships all direct from the ‘shmup’ production line, peppered with screen-filling bosses that impress with their scale and ability to wreck your multiplier in equal measure.
Put that range of weaponry to good use and you’ll be building that score faster than a runaway Kickstarter success. 1 Mil. 2 Mil. 3 Mil. 4? The better you do, the tougher Soldner-X 2 gets, transforming the serenity of space into a labyrinth of ships, bullets and utter chaos that demands deft skill, a keen eye, or just out and out luck to succeed.
If it all sounds a little familiar, that’s likely because it is. For a genre so often discounted for its entries similarities, there are striking differences between this genre’s stars and the best of the rest. So where does Soldner-X 2 fit? It seems content to float away in stasis, lacking the innovation of the former but too well assembled to be considered among the latter.
It might not be this year’s Sine Mora. Hell, is anything? But it’s entertaining. Of that there’s no doubt. Better seen as an introduction to the big guns of this genre like the eXceed series or fabled legends like R-Type. Which is all well and good, really, as its mish mash of a campaign (the middle chapters are unlocked through finding hidden keys in earlier stages) is over far too soon.
Soldner-X 2 is a shooting star of a game, then, if not a true star in its own right. Fleeting and flirtatious we only wish it had burned brighter, and just that much longer.
Jamie’s love of the Souls series is only bettered by his ability to refer to himself in the third person. When not found wasting away the hours on Twitter, you’ll find him vanquishing beasts in Lordran or watching a sunrise on the shores of Chernarus. The Dread Pirate Roberts of videogame journalists.