Sometimes, all a game needs to do to stand out is provide solid gameplay. Blue Rider may not have many bells and whistles but it's a competent and brutally challenging shooter that's very satisfying to master.
Blue Rider is a twin stick shooter but not in the traditional sense. Although the left stick moves your craft around, the right simply rotates the camera (as well as your ship) left and right. All you do is dodge projectiles, shoot, and deploy bombs from your limited stock. It's shooting gameplay in its simplest form yet you'll be surprised by how challenging it is. Not only are stages quite lengthy with no checkpoints, the boss at the end of each will surely put your skills to the test. Admittedly, I didn't have a very good first impression when I jumped into the campaign due to the very basic gameplay setup but as I slowly progressed through stage after stage, the satisfaction of mastering its tough yet easy to pick up and play gameplay made me want to keep pushing on to see if I could beat the next formidable boss.
Besides the rewarding gameplay, one thing that impresses me about Blue Rider is its colourful visuals. Not only are stages detailed and easy on the eyes, the clearly distinguishable projectiles, enemy types, and hazards all make gameplay that much more enjoyable. For example, spotting a red tank will let you know that it's going to be tough to take down while a gang of yellow enemies might make easier targets in the meantime. It's great to see graphics that complement the gameplay as well as they do here. That being said, the audio is quite boring with subdued electronic tunes and generic (often cutesy) sound effects.
As I've already touched upon, the boss fights are awesome. Right off the bat, the first one is a walking tank that relentlessly chases you while firing loads of bullets and missiles. As you progress, you'll come across a massive scorpion that launches exploding stingers, an octopus that can't be damaged until you destroy its protruding tentacles, and many more. Considering you'll likely be low on health when first confronting a boss, here's hoping you managed to gather enough power-ups to have a chance. You could always try to get your score multiplier as high as possible so that you can earn additional lives but doing so requires a lot of points.
The biggest downside of Blue Rider by far is its lack of content. All you can do is work through the campaign's nine stages. Each completed stage unlocks the next one and you can choose any that you've unlocked whenever you wish. Besides that, I guess you could try to find relics that award you extra points and a trophy for finding all of them, but just beating the stages is hard enough so I can't imagine most gamers would care to do so. Also, for a game with an interesting score mechanic, the lack of leaderboards is disappointing. On top of this, there is no multiplayer whatsoever. I wish there was more to it because the core gameplay is very enjoyable.
Blue Rider is a simple shooter that's a heck of a lot of fun to master but the lack of content prevents it from being a must-own title for genre fans. However, you won't be disappointed if you're looking for a challenging yet bare-bones arcade shooter.
- + Simple yet challenging shooting gameplay that's easy to pick up and play
- + Incredibly awesome boss fights
- + Clean and colourful visual style
- - Content is limited to just a nine stage campaign with very little replay value
- - No leaderboards or multiplayer
- - Audio is rather lackluster