For my first review, I was originally going to write about a certain indie title that I had become quite enamored with. Then, I found a nice little surprise in my inbox. It was my first review code from a publisher. I was pretty damn excited. Maybe a little too much. The code was from EastAsiaSoft for their new Nintendo Switch release, Blue Rider. BR was developed by Ratalaika Games and Ravegan.
I can’t remember where or when I first saw footage of Blue Rider. (Forty-six years will do that to a memory.) What I do remember is that the game looked like it had some interesting gameplay. Maybe it could even offer up something different to set it apart from the flood of indie games on the Switch’s eShop. Or maybe I was sleep deprived and a little loopy. Either way, I definitely wanted to try it for myself.
What Blue Rider’s About
Blue Rider is a shoot-em-up played from an isometric (3/4 view) viewpoint. I haven’t played every platform in existence but I haven’t seen too many shooters go that route. Vertical or horizontal. Those are the norm. Personally, I like Blue Rider’s slightly skewed perspective.
The game is single player with online leaderboards for all of you score chasers out there. You start each game with one life but can earn extras through scoring points.
The controls are simple and easy to come to grips with. You control your ship’s momentum with the left stick and you can change the direction you’re facing with the right stick. Your ship has an unlimited primary weapon (ZR) and some secondary missiles (ZL) that you can find refills for. The little ship also has a handy turbo boost to help you get out of tight spots.
Thoughts on Gameplay
Your ship just feels good when you’re flying (hovering??) around, attempting to dispatch enemies. It’s tight yet, at the same time, you can feel your little craft has some momentum to it. Once you’re comfortable with the handling, you’ll be pulling off some cool maneuvers. At one point I found myself spinning around as I was strafing through a group of enemies while on my way to trying to secure one of the game’s secret collectibles. It felt kinda cool as I finished off the last of their group and received a weapon upgrade for my troubles.
About those enemies. You come across a decent variety of enemy types as you work your way through each of the game’s nine levels. Even though I was encountering some of the same enemies, I never found myself getting bored. Plus, I always knew there was a boss waiting for me at the end of each level…. I really enjoyed the bosses in this title. They were one of the big surprises in the game, for me. And I mean that literally. The bosses were bigger (and more involved) than I expected. I won’t spoil anything but I will say, if you decide to pick this one up, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised with them, as well.
Let’s Talk About Content
There are 9 levels (or biomes, as the game calls them). Each with it’s own, unique environment. The levels are pretty straight forward. No branching paths or alternate routes. There are weapon upgrades to be found as well as hidden relics. You move through the levels, taking out enemies and their defenses, until you’re ultimately faced with another fun boss battle. It’s enjoyable, simple fun. I only wish there were more. More biomes and glorious bosses. More ship and weapon options. Give me more of everything!
Graphics and Audio
The graphical engine being used isn’t groundbreaking but the game still looks great. The biomes have different color pallettes. Your ship and the enemies are all well done and the explosions are satisfying. The game also performs well. I only noticed one graphical hiccup (I’ve got a clip on Twitter) and the frame rate is smooth. (I’m not a frames per second snob so I can’t give you hard numbers.)
The audio and the soundtrack are both very well done. The sound effects are satisfying and, again, the explosions in particular are the highlight. The background music has a sci-fi feel to it and it never tries to dominate what’s happening on screen. There are plenty of titles where I end up turning down the background music and play my own through Spotify. I didn’t do that while I was playing Blue Rider.
I’m happy to say that Blue Rider delivers on the promise of offering something a little different from the myriad of shooters on Nintendo’s hybrid console. Now, I’m no hardcore SHMUP gamer but I do rank them as one of my favorite genres. In my opinion, Blue Rider is a great indie shooter. Especially at the asking price. At only 9.99 USD, Blue Rider has more than enough content. Plus, it looks and plays great. If you’re interested in SHMUPs, do yourself a favor and check it out on the Switch eShop today.
8/10 Highly Recommended !!
- Clean, bright Graphics
- Tight controls
- Fun combat and Great Boss Battles
- Good Replayability
- Great value for the price
- No story whatsoever
- Limited Ship and Weapon Selection