Fast Striker (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gabriel Jones 03.11.2018

Review for Fast Striker on PlayStation 4

The galaxy is in dire need of saving! Three heroes have teamed up and are coming to the rescue! There are bosses that need to be destroyed and… uh… that's it? Usually videogames, even shmups, have something resembling a plot. Fast Striker throws out that silly notion and focuses on the things that matter: dodging bullets and scoring a lot of points.

Fast Striker is a blast from the past! More specifically, it's a blast from 2010. Though SNK all but left the NEO-GEO behind ages ago, a handful of independent developers continued to make games for the classic hardware. Similar to titles like Pulstar and Blazing Star, this STG makes full use of CGI graphics, giving it a really interesting look. There are four modes of play, though it's probably best to look at them as four levels of difficulty. Not only do the harder modes up the firepower, they also offer more complicated scoring systems to figure out.

In Novice mode, pilots get a basic idea of what it's like to fight off an armada. Each stage has its own combination of enemies and obstacles, and learning the ship's capabilities will guarantee at least some success. Tapping the fire button produces a basic spreadshot, while holding it down generates a wideshot for covering a large area. There's also a rearshot for covering hindquarters. Lastly, a temporary shield can be enabled with the push of a button. They are good for getting out of a bad situation, but only use them if there's absolutely no chance of escape, as they are quite limited.

Screenshot for Fast Striker on PlayStation 4

The most important aspect of the scoring system, and this extends to all modes, is the chain. When empty, destroyed enemies are worth practically nothing. Every collected star adds to the chain bonus. When enough stars are gathered, even the tiniest, most useless foe can be worth tens of 1000s of points. If certain conditions are met, a devil is uncovered. As long as this little bugger is on-screen, enemies drop valuable… tiny devils. There are other secret bonuses to look out for, but the basic idea is simply to collect or destroy everything.

Unsurprisingly, Original mode represents a sizeable jump in difficulty. First off, the weapon system has undergone some changes. When holding the fire button down, the ship launches rockets. Rockets that collide with enemy ships will generate gold nuggets. They add to the chain, so be sure to grab them. Players should also be mindful of rank. The better they play, the higher the rank gets, which also makes the game just a little bit tougher. At devil rank, certain ships will fire off a spread of bullets as they explode.

Screenshot for Fast Striker on PlayStation 4

For those out there who are ready to take it to the next level, Maniac mode awaits. The chaining system has been overhauled as now it's tied directly to the destruction of the bad guys. Everything that gets blown up adds to the chain, although it will decrease if too much time passes in-between kills. Also, holding down the fire button activates the laser. Its range isn't the greatest, but when trained on larger foes, it will change colour. As long as the laser is green, all enemies increase in value. If that wasn't enough, there's an extra bonus depending on how close the pilot is to adversarial ships. By the way, even more bullets are flying around, so try to avoid getting blown up!

Finally, there's the Omake mode. This is for the battle-hardened warriors who desire the most manic of challenges. Perhaps the developer went a little too far. Not only has the bullet-count been upped significantly, but shields are also much harder to come by. This is also where the player-ship's limited range becomes a problem. It's hard enough trying to be everywhere at once, let alone when the immediate area is glutted with enemy fire. Still, it's worth trying, because the other modes will feel so much easier afterwards.

In every respect, Fast Striker is a strict no-nonsense game. Whether it involves scoring or survival, this shmup communicates exactly what it wants out of the player at every moment. Each of the six stages has some sort of gimmick, such as moving walls or oversized missiles. Thankfully, they never become overbearing. It's not like the "moving wall" stage becomes absurdly claustrophobic, forcing pilots to work with only a tenth of the screen. Their ship's small hitbox almost feels generous, as it allows the ship to slip through the tiniest of crevices.

Screenshot for Fast Striker on PlayStation 4

The brisk pacing is also quite nice. On average, a play-through only takes about 20 minutes. None of the stages waste time with "dead air." Granted, this is to be expected due to the chaining system, but it's welcome all the same. The four modes complement each other well enough and challenge players of all skill levels. The option to adjust screen settings is quite appreciated, particularly the scanline support. Unfortunately, there aren't any online leaderboards. Considering the budget pricing for this title, it's not a huge loss, but it still might rub some players the wrong way.

At this point only one question remains: is the game fun? Definitely! The act of weaving through scores of bullets is pleasurable in itself, and the action is very dynamic. All of the boss fights require different strategies, making them a little more memorable than just "giant targets that fill the screen with death." Plus, there's enough of that all-important intensity that makes 1CCs or even near-1CCs very thrilling.

Screenshot for Fast Striker on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Fast Striker is solid all round. It has four modes of ever-increasing challenge and complexity. Novices are able to get a feel for the game, while Maniacs can push their skills to the limit. The shields are an interesting idea. Under the right circumstances, they are a satisfying means of escape, yet they can also be a crutch. If they are always being exhausted, it's proof that the player needs more practice. Overcoming the impossible is what STGs are all about, and this title clearly understands that mantra.

Developer

NGDEV

Publisher

EastAsiaSoft

Genre

Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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