Straight to it – Super Hydorah is a side-scrolling shoot ’em up comparable to R-Type, but better. It has a modern take on retro graphics, which in this case is done very well. Feeling nostalgic? Turn on the CRT effect – If you don’t know what that is then you probably won’t like it. Difficulty is not as steep, although it escalates rather swiftly. Super Hydorah also makes a name for itself and can stand on its own two without comparison. Let’s dig in.
Skill level can be chosen before beginning your first run, the Rookie option will allow you to be hit three times and the Pilot option just one hit. I highly suggest choosing Rookie as it as more fun and gives a better approach to the game. Professionals can give the Pilot option a try if they dare.
Collect upgrades to the main and side weapons by collecting green and red orbs respectively. There are two bars to complete for each so collecting the same colour orb once the cap is reached, is a waste. It’s cool that the pickups alternate colours so it’s up to you and timing to collect your preferred colour. I always appreciate games with any sort of collectables especially if it will upgrade your ship. Once a level is completed and boss defeated, you receive a new weapon option that can be customised at the beginning of each run. This is pretty helpful for when you lose, you can restart the level with a different weapon once you’ve progressed far enough.
Don’t let the humble beginning fool you, this game gets tough. The first few areas and levels go by pretty quick and you feel like the game was too easy. That’s a quick phase that doesn’t last. Now the game gets serious. Retry the same areas again and again until you memorise the enemy placement. You can get about halfway in a decent sitting or two if given the time. After each Game Over it says a rank has been lost, which almost doesn’t matter at all except for points. The collective amount of points gathered each continue will result in the high score. Best of luck, this game is tough.
BOSS BATTLES! There are many bosses and some may have similar design types but they have a good amount of variety between them. There are sections within each level so you will face multiple bosses within each. It’s a relief once you finally reach a boss after taking forever to get there but tread carefully for you’re likely to meet again. I felt my focus shifted each play so it may be easier or more difficult depending on what your goals are for each run. My first goal was just defeating enemies and progressing but my sequential runs were more focused on obtaining upgrades. Progression was much quicker when I was focused on defeating enemies.
I felt the level design was good, and enough to keep my focus each run. Some levels require shooting obstacles to progress, most others are just ducking and dodging. Every level most definitely requires the upmost attention. The best part of the levels was the movement up and down screens. There are times when you can move in either direction, it is both surprising and interesting. It gives the player the choice of where to go and there are consequences that follow. Maybe the upward direction will unveil an upgrade, maybe the downward direction will just be smaller enemies. Replay the levels and areas to finalise the correct direction to take at each fork in the road.
I recommend everyone opt for the joystick option for directional control. I tried using the secondary option for Switch, as well as the D-Pad option and neither worked in my favour. Joystick offers quick and continuous movement in any direction which is everything desired in a shmup.
What don’t I like about this game? The graphics alone didn’t keep me coming back for more. Achievements in the main menu aren’t really objectives to search for. Playing other shmups at the same time made me choose them over this game. There is definitely a crowd Super Hydorah caters to but it doesn’t scratch my shoot ’em up itch.
The graphics were the first positive thing that stuck out for me, and that is what should keep people coming back. I like that weapon options can be unlocked and customised. As stated previously, the difficulty gradually climbs and that may deter folks from continuous gameplay. Given a price cut I would recommend this to my peers but at the current price, please wait. Thanks for reading.
Beard Score: 6/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Nov 15, 2018
No. of Players: 2 players simultaneous
Category: Arcade, Action, Multiplayer
Developer: Locomalito / Gryzor87 / Abylight