By Joe Sigadel / December 4th, 2015
|Publisher||Plug In Digital|
|Release Date||October 1, 2015|
|Genre||Shmup / Bullet Hell|
Bullet hell shooters are on the rise on Steam, from classics like Cave’s Mushihimesama, to more recent and unique titles like Astebreed and Revolver 360 Re:Actor, as well as the critically acclaimed Assault Android Cactus. It’s a good time to be a fan of shmups on PC. Joining these games is Steredenn, which takes a more traditional setting of space sci-fi and combines it with hardcore “one death means game over” roguelike gameplay. In this respect, Steredenn is far more punishing than Mushihimesama, because at least in that game you got to use infinite continues with no restrictions. With Steredenn, I can barely make it past the second stage half of the time, which sadly makes this a maddeningly difficult game for me to review as a whole. I am improving little by little, but this is one hellish ride.
For what it’s worth, Steredenn is actually a pretty good looking bullet hell shooter. It contains some very nicely detailed animations, particularly when your ship takes off to the next level in hyperspace, or after acquiring an upgrade that visibly attaches itself to your ship when you take out a boss. The music is a sort of electro rock sound, a continuous song that changes pitch and tone as you proceed through the game. There’s no sort of variety here, it sounds kind of dull and it doesn’t grab my attention, although that could be due to the fact that I’m far too busy trying to stay alive.
At the end of each stage, you’ll face a boss. Boss fights are a struggle, if you can manage to get ANY shots off while avoiding the rapid firing, randomly changing bullet patterns, consider yourself lucky. The difficulty just ramps up too quickly, it’s not what I’d consider beginner friendly at all. There are a large variety of weapons to try out to give you an edge, including some unique ones like a drill that pierces through the enemy ship’s hull but requires you to be up close to make use of it. One kindness Steredenn bestows upon you is the ability to fight bosses you’ve defeated in an Arena mode, so you can practice your movements until you have it just right. Bullet hell veterans might like to try the Daily Run mode, which is a challenge with preset weapons, levels and bosses. You only get one shot at this per day, so go for the highest score you can so you can make it on to the leaderboards.
At its regular price of $12.99, you are paying for a good degree of quality when it comes to Steredenn. It’s a well made game, there’s no doubt in my mind, but it wasn’t for me. However, I’m confident that shmup and bullet hell enthusiasts will want to give this one a look. For those of you on the fence or who don’t play these kinds of games regularly, maybe you should wait for a sale.
Review copy provided by the publisher