While I don’t remember it, back in 1986 there was a hit space shooter game called Uridium that would go off to help form the modern shoot-em-up titles we enjoy today. Now three decades and a Kickstarter campaign later, we have its spiritual successor in the form of Four5Six Pixel’s Hyper Sentinel. If you love retro games of the 80s or just space shoot-em-ups, there’s plenty to get hyped about here.
As it goes with most of these types of games, there’s not much in the story department, but that’s not why we’re here, right? There’s twelve huge dreadnoughts going around causing trouble in the galaxy and the only thing standing between them and complete chaos is you and your Hyper Sentinel fighter that’s locked and loaded and ready to kick…um…shoot butt. Those familiar with Uridium will feel right at home here with the gameplay and controls, while others will soon learn that it’s your job to fly across these giant dreadnoughts and take out waves of enemies while also doing damage to these mega ships, causing an enemy boss to rear their ugly head and take you on.
Thankfully the controls are simple as you have buttons to fire your weapons and one to give yourself a speed boost that you can either use to chase down targets or use it as a quick way to avoid enemy fire. This wouldn’t be a shooter if there weren’t any power-ups, and luckily there’s a few at your disposal such as smart bombs that clear the screen of enemies, and more. You’ll need these and a cool head to get through these enemies while also doing your best to keep your combo multipliers going to rack up points and shoot for the top of the leaderboards. Yup, seems like every game has those nowadays.
In true retro fashion, the pixel graphics are nice and simple, but aren’t much to look at. But everything moves at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second, which is nice given all of the chaos that happens on screen. For those who really want to take a trip back to the 80s, there’s visual options to give the game a CRT effect, and has more for either the ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64 graphic modes that’ll make you want to break out some 80’s music while you play. But then you’d be missing out on the cool sound effects and chiptunes by Fractures Music that really sets the mood as you take out swarms of foes.
While I never had the pleasure of checking out Uridium, Hyper Sentinel more than makes up for it as it’s one of the fastest and frantic shooters I’ve come across. It’s easy “pick up and play, but hard to master” gameplay is sure to capture the attention of retro and shooter fans alike. If this sounds like a good time to you, then strap in and get hyped to blow away some baddies in this new retro classic.