Ever since shooter classics such as Galaga and later ones like 1942 and 1943, I’ve been a fan of the genre as long as I could hold a joystick. So when the opportunity came for me to review one of the latest shoot-em-up games out there called Solar Shifter EX, I just had to take a look as its interesting premise of being able to teleport out of danger. Thanks to smooth controls and an overall fun feel, bullet hell fans have another shooter they’ll want to blast out of the sky.
As with most shooters, there’s not much as far as plot goes. Some aliens are invading and it’s up to you and your awesome spaceship to take them and their epic-sized enemy bosses out. The main thing that separates this shooter from the pack is the cool ability to teleport or “shift” your way out of the bullet hell barrage that will frequently plague you on your missions. It take a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of being able to either quickly shift in a direction or use the direction stick with the shift one for a more accurate control of the shift, you’ll be able to handle the incoming carnage with ease. Another cool thing about this shooter is the the different angles and views the action can take place from depending on the mission at hand. Most time you’ll be looking at the classic top-down, vertical shooter view, but other times it will change to a Star Wars-like trench run view that keeps the action fresh as you play.
Every game like this needs to have power ups, and Solar Shifter EX has a few that you can purchase for your ship using credits you earn for taking down baddies. At the end of each level, your ship will dock into a hanger and you’re able to choose from a selection of different upgrades for your primary and secondary weapons. It would’ve been nice if you could really be able to customize your ship with different looks and upgrades such as speed and optional stuff for it, but for a budget title it’s not too bad. Speaking of budgets, this game doesn’t look or sound bad at all in the visuals and audio departments, especially since it was released on the PC via Steam not too long ago with me reviewing this recent Xbox One release.
The only gripes I had with the game is that when the view angles change at times, it did throw off my controls a bit as I had to get used to whatever view I’m looking at. Also when you lose a life, it takes a long time for you to respawn, which is anywhere up to ten seconds which feels like an eternity while waiting to get back into the fray. The only good thing is that you have an infinite amount of lives with multiple checkpoints to keep fighting the good fight, but the sometimes awkward views and taking forever and a day between losing and playing again does tend to take you out of the experience.
If you’re looking for a unique and fun shooter game on a budget, you’ll want to giver Solar Shifter EX a shot. I enjoyed the awesome ability to teleport when the going got rough, and it looks and sounds great with its audio and visuals. While the changing camera angles and the long respawn times can get even the most hardcore gamers down, those who can look past these faults will find themselves shifting into gear with this one.