Hyper Sentinel – 1 Player – Four5Six Pixel – Huey Games – Out Now on Xbox One (version tested), Switch, Playstation 4 & Steam
A sort of arena shmup, Hyper Sentinel blasts it’s way through wearing its influences on its sleeve. It looks like it would have been no stranger to the NE or even the Spectrum, were it not for the sharp HD gloss and solid colour pallette. However it’s the gameplay that sets this one apart from your average shoot em up. The missions mainly involve blowing up surface mounted defences and artillery on huge attack ships, while being attacked by smaller craft in the process. Rather than this being a straight up scrolling shooter, it’s set in an arena where you move from left to right which allows you to make sure you destroy everything that’s required.
Despite starting off quite pedestrian, it soon picks up the pace and it’s not long before things get overwhelming. This is where you need to adapt your play style, paying attention to the smallest detail in front of you, even if everything seems to be happening at once. Easier said than done however, as the environmental obstacles are either harmful or restrictive to your weapon fire. Rather than the one hit and you’re dead approach that most shoot em ups employ, Hyper Sentinel gives you an energy bar which replenishes itself if you stay out of trouble for long enough. Even though your life regenerates, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. The difficulty level seems to take the old school approach, in that anything above the easy setting is damn challenging and only suitable if you don’t mind a bit of trial and error. You will die several times, and each stage gets more and more difficult.
There’s a couple of neat touches in the options too, as it allows you to play in a few different visual styles including CRT and Commodore 64 inspired graphics. This was actually quite fun and I was hit with a wave of nostalgia while blasting through this in the C64 mode. It’s a fun little shoot em up, but there isn’t much more to it than that. It’s very retro in style and execution, so if you don’t have the patience for the games of yore, then you’re probably going to have a hard time with this. Although this is the Xbox One version reviewed here, it’s also available on the Switch, which will be perfect for the pick up and playability of this game.