If you're old enough to know of its existence, the side-scrolling spaceship shooter Uridium for the Commodore64 was one of the most influential titles in the gaming industry of yesteryear. Between the smooth controls and fast-paced laser gun action, reviewers and players alike were singing praises from the hills.
Over time, though, gaming has changed, and the releases of games similar to Uridium have been few and far between. Hyper Sentinel, a brand new Xbox title, draws largely on Uridium for inspiration, bringing the classic game style to modern consoles.
Gameplay: Strafe, shoot, score
In Hyper Sentinel, you control a small, but deadly, starfighter capable of tearing hordes of ships to ribbons with its laser cannons in order to rack up points. As you strafe to the left and right to line up shots, though, enemies will attempt to score their own attacks on you — and your ship lacks in protection what it offers in offense and speed. This creates an intense dynamic in which you have to frantically bob and weave around enemies and their abilities while simultaneously trying to destroy them with your own. In a way, it plays out a lot like the arcade game Galaga, except sideways.
At the end of each level, you'll come across bosses. Bosses are large and more dangerous foes that require some strategy in order for you to vanquish. Things such as where you're hitting the enemy or at what time suddenly become a factor, and the boss fights truly are what will really test your skill as a pilot. Figuring out how to defeat the bosses and pulling it off feels like a satisfying accomplishment, and the itch to go after the next challenge is ultimately what kept me hooked.
Overall, the game is fantastic, but one issue it does have is that often times things can feel too hectic. At certain points, you'll be dealing with so many things on screen that it feels like a bit of a miss, and dying in these situations usually feels like you were unlucky and not that you made a mistake.
Presentation: Charming and vibrant
While the original Uridium was somewhat muted color wise due to the fact that the Commodore64 was a very limited console, Hyper Sentinel takes full advantage of modern hardware in order to recreate Uridium's art direction with vibrance and expression. Colors are varied and rich, the video effects are simple and smooth, and the whole thing runs at a very enjoyable 60 frames per second.
In addition to the awesome visuals, Hyper Sentinel also has plenty of pleasant sound effects and music tracks, too. These immerse you in the game's setting and really give off that science-fiction feel that you want from a spaceship game.
Hyper Sentinel Xbox One conclusion
Though things can often get a little too crazy, Hyper Sentinel's mostly satisfying gameplay and excellent presentation make it a fantastic choice for retro gaming fans.
- Great gameplay overall.
- Fantastic presentation.
- Gameplay can feel overly chaotic.
Hyper Sentinel is available now on Xbox One for $14.99.
This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a copy provided by the publisher.
Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.