Blue Rider from Ravegan is a straight to the point twin-stick style shoot-em-up game that doesn’t let a silly plot get in the way of a good challenge; in fact there is no plot. This simple plotless approach is a bold move, but it works and it continues throughout the game. From the main screen the game offers up two options: Play and Help. Select Help and the game shows you a screen with the controls. Select Play and the first stage loads.
As I’ve just mentioned Blue Rider has no plot but that’s okay, it doesn’t take long to work out the aim of the game. Each stage is littered with various enemies. You can either avoid these and try to locate the end of stage boss or you can choose to destroy them all then make your way to the boss. In situations like this I always go for the Destroy Them All option! This, however, is not as easy as it looks. Firstly your little blue ship is a bit of a slider – if you take your finger off the left stick the ship will continue moving for a short time. This makes lining up shots a little difficult so the better way of aiming is to continually keep moving and circling around the enemies, similar to the tactics you may use in games like Resogun. Secondly due to the sliding you may accidentally stray into the path of incoming projectiles and this is a problem because Blue Rider is old school. It harks back to the days of one credit, no checkpoints and no continues. There are random health drops and weapon upgrades scattered here and there but these a usually few and far between and it makes the game very challenging.
The controls in Blue Rider are slightly different to what you’d expect from a twin stick shooter. The left stick moves your pixel perfect blue hover-ship around but the right stick rotates the ship and camera. Firing is handled by the trigger buttons, with R2 unleashing the primary weapon and L2 dispatching the secondary weapon if you have any. You can also use L1 or R1 to sprint which is a useful if you find yourself in a spot of bother.
When I saw the first stage I was surprised by just how good everything looked. The environment is extremely bright and colourful. The enemies are different and easily identifiable so you can quickly learn which ones attack with one projectile or multiple projectiles or even missiles. The end of stage bosses are both oversized and weapon laden just like all good bosses should be. You’ll be pleased to know this is the case throughout the game with each of the nine unique biomes all looking diverse and different enough that they don’t appear repetitive.
The only down side to Blue Rider is the omission of any kind of online element, and this means the only score you are trying to beat is your own. Adding an online leaderboard may increase the appeal of the game a little because we all secretly like claiming bragging rights over our online buddies, don’t we?
Blue Rider has thirteen trophies for you to try to pop. These are obtained by defeating each of the nine end of stage bosses, finding all the relics, surviving all the stages without getting killed and destroying all the enemies in a single game. I’ve not managed to make it through two stages without taking a hit so I think if you manage to make your way to the end and pop “Survivor” you’ll have bagged an ultra rare trophy.
Blue Rider is another one of those games that falls into the “looks easy but is as tough as old boots” category. Don’t let the child friendly visuals fool you because this is one difficult game. One life, limited health pickups and a weapon upgrade system that kind of forces you to start from the first level each time if you want to progress. This game may not be for the fainthearted but it sure is fun to play.
NelMaNo Rating – 7.5/10