Spaceship shooters are awesome, but they are very often overlooked in the industry. However, spaceship shooters are oftentimes, the very first type of game players get a chance to play for their simplicity, sense of action, and sense of excitement. Growing up, I played games such as Gradius, R-Type, RayStorm, and Einhander, all of which were spaceship shooters that were filled with a tremendous amount of action and excitement, even for a short time. Of course, these games were hard, so it was such a reward to complete one after repeat gameplay. That being said, there was a sense of artistic and mechanical excellence to these games. Their visual presentation and the way they were portrayed were incredibly fascinating.
Enter Fast Striker by NG: Dev. Team, based in Germany. Fast Striker began life as an independent game for the Sega Dreamcast, NeoGeo, and iOS platforms in a time where two of those platforms are no longer in production. With the game being a solid success towards the owners of those platforms, Eastasiasoft, and PlayAsia approached the team to release and distribute Fast Striker on Sony’s current-gen consoles. The end result is a short about wonderfully entertaining spaceship shooter.
Fast Striker puts players int he role of 3 pilots in their quest to save the Earth from destruction. There is no story-line or narrative, the only thing for players to do is to move fast, destroy the enemy, and beat the massive bosses at the end of each stage. Players can choose between Novice, normal, maniac, and demake difficulties. After a quick tutorial showing how to play the game, players are immediately thrust right into the action of Fast Striker. Right away, players will be swarmed with flying starships, massive gunships, small battleships, and screen-clearing bosses hellbent on their destruction. Each player will 3 lives and four continues, making each playthrough a learning experience.
Playing the game is absolutely thrilling and euphoric. Visually, the game adopts the CGI rendering of early 90’s video games, most particular the NeoGeo by SNK. Those particular systems were well ahead of their time, pushing the limited of two-dimensional gaming and 16-bit graphics. Games such as Pulstar and Alpha Mission II come to mind when playing Fast Striker, with their incredible details, styles, and animation.
With Fast Striker, the game is fluid, with flowing animated backgrounds and lively animated ships. Regrettably, it appears the entire game takes place inside of a massive space structure, so there isn’t much to discern one level form the other. However, it still looks incredibly impressive. Audio-wise, the game adopts an infectiously energetic soundtrack that feels straight from the world of 1994. I couldn’t help but get chills at how spot-on the EDM soundtrack for Fast Strikers was appointed.
Gameplay wise, it follows the tried and true formula of shooting every enemy on-screen, with a few tricks. The shooting depends on how you press the main button. Holding the fire button spreads the shot openly while tapping it keeps the shot focused and concentrated. These techniques are effective when dealing with ether numerous enemies, or singular enemies. There are no bombs or weapon powerups in Fast Strikers, but there are shield charges that grant you temporary protection. Collecting these in battle will be the key to survival.
With those mechanics established, Fast Strikers is incredible! Slaying down massive bosses the size of entire starships is exhilarating and dodging bullets from waves of enemies is thrilling. Even the maze portions of some levels, which involve ballistic missiles and laser mazes, are a thrill to overcome! My only real regret with the game is the length. At only 6 short stages, I can’t help but feel there could have been additional stages built for this game. But, considering that the game is designed to be replayed repeatedly, especially on higher difficulties, it isn’t a terribly big complaint.
Fast Strikers is a short, compact, but absolutely amazing spaceship shooter for players of all skills and ages. The incredible presentation and sharp gameplay will keep players coming back for more and keep them thrilled for quite some time.
Platforms: PlayStation, PlayStation Vita, Steam
Retail: PlayStation network, Play-Asia, Steam Store