T (Teen) Release Date:
December 4, 2008Screenshots: Link Price:
$9.99 Written By:
Matthew PruntySöldner X: Himmelsstümer
, released on PC back in 2007, garnered a large fanbase around the world and also brought attention to a dying breed of games, shmups. Developed by SideQuest Studios and published by Eastasiasoft, Söldner X: Himmelsstümer features intense battle sequences that are reminiscent of classic titles like R-Type and Ikaruga. Fast forward a year and SideQuest Studios has released the same title for the PlayStation console via the PlayStation Network. Instead of just being a straight port, SideQuest also included several improvements of the PC versions, which makes the PSN version bigger and better. While there is no special collector’s editions like the PC version, Söldner X: Himmelsstümer provides yet another entertaining and intense gaming experience for the PlayStation 3 console.
For those looking for an engaging story, this title is not your choice. Just like any other shrump, Söldner X: Himmelsstümer features a short and sweet story in which you are part of a band of mercenaries out to protect the last un-infected planet (Earth) within the solar system, while locating the evil on Conceyta (a celestial planet and its moon orbit in a dust and gas covered solar system) and destroying it once and for all. Equipped with the 10th and final prototype fighter ship designed to battle the darkness that engulfing the galaxy, Söldner X is our last hope for survival.
Söldner X: Himmelsstümer’s modes are rather on the short side, offering up single-player, co-op and a training mode. In an era of multiplayer, both offline and online, Söldner X seems to be lacking that additional feature the gamers are looking for. The co-op mode is definitely a nice addition to the game, but is limited to only local gaming, which takes away from playing with your pals via PSN. Considering this title is very intense and can be frustrating to newbies, SideQuest Studios inclusions of varying difficulty levels and tutorial will help easy your frustrations, while also helping you to better understand the gameplay mechanics.
For those veterans out there, you will be pleased with several of the enhancements over traditional shmups that are included within Söldner X. Your ship has a health/energy gauge, which depletes as your ship takes on damage. This is a nice addition simply because it allows your ship to take on more damage than normal, while also allowing the ability to heal/repair your ship. Another enhancement within the game is the Söldner X being equipped with two standard weapons (regular weapon and a lightning gun). These two weapons will receive upgrades and your progress through the game, becoming strong and the a kellies heal to various enemies. Both these weapons, and new ones you come across throughout the game, utilize an energy gauge. The more you use a particular weapon, the quicker the gauge depletes. Once the gauge is completely empty, your ship automatically switches to the next weapon within your arsenal. There is also the addition of trophies and an online leaderboard system, which keeps a track of your scores on each and every difficulty level you play on.
The chain system within Söldner X can be complicated to understand, but is very easy to implement. In order to start a chain, simply destroy as many enemies as possible within one weapon before switching to another. As you destroy ships, a gauge fills up at the bottom of the screen. Once it’s full, it will turn green, signaling you to switch to another weapon and build of the gauge again. By doing so, you can increase the damage and the rate of fire of your weapons, which will definitely come in handy as the battles get harder and more intense as your progress through the game. In the event you switch weapons before the gauge is full, you will have to start the chain all over again. Don’t fret though; sometimes you have to just go with the flow of the game, which will force you to switch weapons before you want to.
When it comes to shmups, it’s always been a battle between vertical presentations and horizontal presentations. Back in the 80s and 90s, vertical presentations were the norm do to television having a standard aspect ratio of 4:3. However, in today’s age of widescreen television, SideQuest Studio’s choice of using a horizontal presentation for Söldner X, allows them to create immersive backdrops and battle sequences that are memorable. Söldner X is part of a small breed of games that actually runs in 1080p native and 60fps. The backdrops, ships, weapons, explosions just simply look breathtaking when gaming on a HDTV. The attention to detail is so great; sometimes you can get distracted by the engaging environment. However, for those who still haven’t made the transitions, the game still looks great on a standard definition television.
The games soundtrack is definitely a plus, which complements the gameplay experience. Each and every level has a distinct tune, which helps to set the tone for each battle experience, especially when engaged within boss battles. There is some voice acting within the game, however most of it is used to respond to how you are doing as you progress through each level. The more damage you inflict without taking on any damage, you will receive comments like “keep up the great work”, however you are simply overwhelmed by the darkness and the comments become the ladder.
With Söldner X: Himmelsstümer, SideQuest Studios and Eastasiasoft have delivered a solid shmup, which caters to the hardcore, while also providing some unique additions that helps in taking the action to another level. In the era of add-on content, the possibility of an online gameplay mode is possible, however whether it is done or not, Söldner X: Himmelsstümer is an intense and frustrating experience that is well worth your time and money. 8/
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