Have you ever ever puzzled what would occur when you mixed campy 50s B-movies with Life Pressure or R-Kind-style shmups? When you’ve got, then your weirdly particular musings have been realized within the type of Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers, the debut challenge from Brazilian studio Loomiarts.
Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers is a retro prospect in each sense of the phrase. The gameplay is unapologetically old-school; throughout its handful of ranges, you may fly planes by means of hordes of alien craft, capturing them down to attain factors. It is all wrapped up in a intentionally lo-fi black-and-white presentation that harks again to the golden age of trashy science fiction.
After all, paying homage to your forebears is one factor, however Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers has to do greater than elicit a figuring out chuckle; it is set to work as a game. For probably the most half, this retro throwback delivers the products, nevertheless it suffers from some wonky design that makes it a difficult one to suggest when you’re not already in love with shmups.
Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers Provides Traditional Shmup Enjoyable
Generally, video games do not want bells, whistles, or extras to entertain. All they want is a strong core gameplay loop, and that is the place Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers shines. Like R-Kind, and even older examples of the style like Scramble or Airstrike, Squad 51 is a side-scrolling shmup wherein the target is easy: if one thing comes from the precise aspect of the display, blow it up.
This simplicity works in Squad 51‘s favor. The motion is large, daring, and brash, with loads of explosions and visible results marking profitable takedowns. Your airplane can at all times hearth a machine gun, however you have additionally received entry to subweapons like bombs, missiles, and a rear-firing flamethrower. All of those instruments pack sufficient of a punch to make Squad 51‘s core capturing viscerally satisfying.
Squad 51 is a side-scrolling shmup wherein the target is easy: if one thing comes from the precise aspect of the display, blow it up.
That is to not say there isn’t any complexity on show. Earlier than every mission, you are given the possibility to vary your construct round slightly. Expertise you may slot embody elevated protection in opposition to enemy hearth or collisions, in addition to further subweapons and the possibility to extend the variety of lives you need to full every stage. These selections add simply the correct amount of selection to the shmup gameplay, guaranteeing it by no means will get outdated or repetitive.
The Retro Aesthetic Does not Fairly Go well with Squad 51
Sadly, that complexity would not fully work on the subject of the visuals. Squad 51 has opted for a intentionally retro vibe, and for the between-mission live-action cutscenes, that is pleasant. The trouble has been made to make sure Squad 51 actually does look the half; it is received the identical shaky black-and-white camerawork and intentionally (no less than, I assume) awkward and hammy appearing as the films to which it is paying homage.
That aesthetic would not translate as nicely to the core gameplay, although. It is not simply Squad 51‘s films which are in black-and-white; the entire game is rendered thus, and while you’re always being bombarded with bullet hell-style projectiles, the old-school B-movie look crosses over from cute to irritating. Squad 51 makes use of pseudo-3D visuals, too, so objects always fly out and in of the foreground and background, making it even more durable to know precisely what is going on to hit you.
Nonetheless, Squad 51 is admirably dedicated to its retro stylings. The voice appearing has been filtered to sound prefer it’s being delivered by means of Nineteen Forties radio mics, and the music has a wobble indicative of a barely janky tape reel. If it weren’t for the occasional modern-sounding glitch within the voice actors’ vernacular, Squad 51 may truly be convincing as an actual sci-fi B-movie of the basic period, albeit one and not using a notably involving storyline.
Squad 51 Has Retro Problem, Too
It is not simply the visuals which are retro in Squad 51. This can be a tribute to basic shmups, and as such, it options basic shmup issue. To place it bluntly, Squad 51 is screamingly laborious in locations. In case you’re not up for a problem otherwise you thought old-school NES and SNES-era shooters had been too troublesome, it is secure to say you must give this one a particularly huge berth.
Squad 51‘s stage design is properly assorted, placing your whole airplane’s strikes to the check by asking you to maneuver by means of tight corridors, shoot down numerous totally different sorts of enemies, and even swap airplane varieties every now and then. Sadly, the extent design is wonky, with many fight situations feeling hopelessly unfair except you place your self in a means you possibly can by no means have predicted on the outset of the struggle.
To place it bluntly, Squad 51 is screamingly laborious in locations.
That is all par for the course in shmups like this, although, and ultimately, when you persevere, you may emerge victorious in opposition to Squad 51‘s challenges. It is not a really lengthy game (there are eleven ranges and two issue modes to deal with, no less than on the outset), so even when you end up repeating sections just a few occasions, it will not take you lengthy to beat Squad 51‘s appreciable problem curve.
Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers | Remaining Ideas
In case you’re a fan of old-school shmups, then you definitely’ll discover tons to love in Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers. It has loads of replay worth because of the numerous totally different expertise you may unlock, and the second issue mode, whereas not really helpful to anybody who needs to retain their sanity, is a pleasant addition for the actually hardcore.
Squad 51 is not going to set the world on hearth with its intentionally campy appearing and reversion motion, however when you’ve been wishing for the halcyon days of Fantasy Zone or Gradius to return, then you possibly can do quite a bit worse than Loomiarts’ loving tribute to these golden years. Do not count on Squad 51 to vary your life, nevertheless it’s a wonderfully agreeable approach to spend just a few hours.
TechRaptor reviewed Squad 51 vs. the Flying Saucers on PC through Steam utilizing a code offered by the writer.