March 24, 2015

Soldner X:2 Review for PS Vita

The PS3 hit from 2010 finally comes out onto the Vita, with DLC, too. Should you give your thumbs the workout they'll get with this classic shmup?

Let's start with the plot. Here's the short end of it: Aliens are invading the galaxy, threatening to take over. There is only one pilot who can stop them all. That's you. You've got a ship that has enough firepower to wipe them out. Go.

All right, now that we have the plot out of the way, let's focus on the gameplay. There's a steady stream of narration about what is going on, but pretty much you head to a level, fly through it and wipe out wave after wave of enemy, face massive bosses, and try to maneuver your way through enemy blasts.

All in stunning 60 fps speed with pretty much no load times. It is really a pick up and play game tailored to the Vita. It looks stunning on the Vita's screen... detailed backgrounds whiz by as the varied enemies approach and attack. I found the controls easy to use with spot on tight handling. One thing I missed was a way to know how to switch weapons, or even that you COULD switch weapons. I had to check out the control scheme to know I actually had a few weapons I could cycle through. 

I found that later I used different weapons for different enemies/level designs. Sometimes a wide spread shot is good, but then at other times a concentrated beam weapon would be best. And then when your ultimate weapon charges up, knowing when to nuke the enemies with it. This added a bit of strategy to the blasting. 

You grab different power ups that enemies leave behind, like health, spread shot, extra wingmen, speed upgrades, and blast power. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice picking up a power up so you don't take a hit. One thing you don't want to miss though are the Key power ups that, if you collect enough, will allow you to fly in some advanced levels. 

This is one thing that you may like or hate. I "finished" the game and wondered why it was so short. In a minute I realized I hadn't actually finished the game, but only finished the levels I unlocked with those hidden Keys. Even though I had the whole game purchased. I had to go back through the previous levels and destroy certain enemies to find the keys, and still I had a hard time locating them. I just wanted to play the next level, not have to be a perfectionist and find the unlocks for it. 

Like I said, you may like this method of level progression, but it feels negative for the casual gamer who just wants to play the whole thing in one go. Are you a casual gamer? Well, this game has "dynamic difficulty." That means if you aren't that good at shmups the game will be more forgiving. Flip side, if you have the skills, the bills will be a lot higher to pay. 

It says "impressive." At least that's better than the "Lousy" I got once. 

The game is single player, but there are other modes to play and leaderboards to race to the top of. "Challenges" ask you to do things in a specific level, like collect a certain amount of rings in a time limit and defeat that level boss. These add depth to the game and indeed are pretty challenging. There's an unlockable extra ship too, to add to your two you can initially choose. They have different weapon types and armor, all things to balance when figuring out your game style.  

And the Bosses? They are varied and huge. Boss battles have you learn their patterns and make intricate jukes to avoid their blasts. And of course, keep that thumb on the fire button to lace into them. You've got mech robots, giant heads, subs... enough to keep you entertained for a while. 

Your ending screen reminder that there is more to go back to...

Did you happen to buy this game and DLC on your PS3? Well good news for Vita owners, you can just download all that for free. Otherwise you're paying $10 for the core game, $5 for DLC, or $13 for both at once. Depending on what you want to get out of the game, the price is pretty reasonable. If you are a casual gamer and wonder "Why is this game so short?" then you need to realize there is more, you just have to work for it. 

Good! If you love twitch type games and like scouring games for every last scrap you'll love this game, otherwise you might feel the game is too short. 

Things you'll like: 
  • slick, fast, smooth graphics
  • intricate boss battles
  • varied enemies
Thanks, Eastasiasoft for the codes! We look forward to more games from you!

Readers, let us know if you like shmups like this, and if you've played it!

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