Are you the kind of old-school gamer that regards pre-2000s as the golden age of gaming? ASTRO PORT clearly share a similar mindset. Allowing us to travel back in time to this ‘golden age‘ with their own personal homage to the era. With their latest title (or should I say titles) SHMUP Collection.
What is SHMUP Collection
SHMUP Collection, believe it or not, Is a collection of 3 finely re-designed Shoot ’em up games. Remaining loyal to the genre’s lineage.
The game was created by ASTRO PORT and although inspired by old fashioned shoot ’em up games, have all been originally designed within the last 10 years. Each game can be played using the old style, or with a reworked variant exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. With the only difference being the aesthetics of the game, there is no reason not to play the re-designed games exclusively.
Armed 7 DX
The year is 1989. 12 years have passed since the Gogoh Army’s invasion of Earth. Exposure to alien technology during the war enabled Earth’s own technologies to take massive leaps forward. International conflict that was previously rife in the history of mankind fell to an all-time low, and the Earth Federation was established as a unified Earth government. The stage was set for an era of unprecedented prosperity.
However, the period of peace proved to be short-lived and was abruptly broken. The underground militant organization ‘Neo Roland Order’ appeared, hell-bent on establishing a new world order. Utilizing weaponry stolen from the Earth Federation, the Neo Roland Order launched a global assault. Now, the fate of the newly-formed Earth Federation hangs in the balance as it begins to fight back against this global menace.
Armed 7 DX was the first game I played on the SHMUP Collection by ASTRO PORT. It was most certainly the hardest of the 3 games. It is old school in design and old school in motion. If you lose your lives you are forced to start the game again from the beginning.
This mech Shooter was a very challenging experience. yet a very rewarding one. The customisation feature on the game was also a nice touch to the game. With different primary gun options, secondary gun options and Charge moves. depending on what gun options you pick, your choice ultimately affects the cooldown of the charge weapons.
This game for me was the weakest of the lot. with the game just being an explosion-fest. Between that and the large mech you had to control with a confusing hitbox. It often left you struggling to manoeuvre through an onslaught of bullets and rockets.
The year is 2051. Location: SATAZIUS, a long-abandoned planet.
The cruiser Agano was on patrol when it was attacked and stricken by a confederacy of space pirates that had established a base on SATAZIUS. The pirates attacked the Agano intending to steal the assault ship ‘Trafalgar’ that was stowed aboard the Agano, but the Trafalgar made a successful emergency escape.
The crew of the Trafalgar calculated the probability of successfully escaping the pirate overrun planet at 0.02%; the probability of charging into and successfully destroying the pirate base was 1%. Taking the higher probability escape plan, the crew of the Trafalgar turned their ship toward the pirate horde and began their charge into the heart of SATAZIUS.
Satazius Next adopts a slower style of gameplay. The player must manoeuvre their way through tunnels whilst trying to avoid the pursuing bosses and enemies. Selecting your guns appropriately to be able to focus fire at enemies in front as well as being able to cover your rear.
This game is highly unique and one I would most certainly recommend. Satazius, like Armed 7, allows the user to customize their ship how they like. Though the decisions made on this one are much more impactful to the gameplay than on Armed 7. As the player needs to keep in mind that enemies can approach from both directions.
In the year 2005 AD, the Terran colony on planet Sig Fildonia was attacked by an alien race known as the Adorians. The offensive was swift and effective. Within days, the Adorians had destroyed the TDF fleet stationed in orbit, and commandeered the colony facilities, rapidly transforming the planet surface into a sprawling military base. With support ships sent from Earth unable to penetrate the Andorian blockade, the sparse TDF forces that remain on-planet must rally to counter the enemy invasion. They name their desperate resistance “Operation WOLFLAME”.
Your experimental Plinius class corvette, the “Siebold”, is equipped with a forward-facing cannon, burst effect plasma field, two satellite attack drones stationed at the starboard and port of the craft. The satellites can be individually configured and support numerous tactical configurations.
Ready your reflexes! High-speed enemy fire incoming!
Wolflame was another great game, much more hectic than the others and with a level design that limits your horizontal view. The player has to scroll across to make sure there aren’t any enemies off-screen that you need to take down.
This game really punishes you for staying still, with a great blend of fast shooting, low accuracy spraying enemies and other slow-firing, accurate shooting enemies. This blend diversifies this game away from the common mindless action aspect of the usual shoot em’ up game. forcing the player to have to make decisions as to which enemy to prioritise bringing down.
The game has 4 varying difficulties
Each game is quite challenging on Normal difficulty. Due to Armed 7 not including checkpoints, this one is much more so than the others. Hard and Insane are definitely more for the veterans of the genre. And not one that I would recommend for the casual.
The difficulties are very well set out with the difficulty rankings being very honest. For example, Easy is unchallenging, Normal is tough, Hard is hard, and insane is borderline unplayable for your average Joe. Consequently, This is a great balance provided by the game.
To summarise, is this game worth it? At first glance. £13.49 sounds like it’s a bit on the pricey side for a game that is inspired by games from the 80s/90s. But you need to note is that this is 3 hugely varying games of the genre packed into one bundle. which works out at just £4.50 each game.
SHMUP Collection by ASTRO PORT isn’t a AAA game. It doesn’t pretend to be either. What you get is 3 highly unique games with huge replay value and hours of fun.
One thing I would note. I feel this game could have done with local coop. Although this may make the difficulty a whole lot easier. Any game is much more fun with friends, Shoot em’ ups are no exception to this.
Not for you? Be sure to check out our “Game Releases in May” to find your ideal game!