Many indie developers try to capture the magic of early 2000s shoot 'em ups and Fast Striker is a decent attempt so get ready to shoot.
Fast Striker originally debuted for Sega Dreamcast and Neo Geo back in 2010. Yes, it's one of those retro-inspired games that actually released on retro consoles. Finally, it's available for PlayStation 4 and Vita with the always cool Cross-Buy incentive.
So, just what the heck is Fast Striker? To be blunt, it's a rather generic vertical shoot 'em up but it does feature some interesting mechanics. For starters, you can fire projectiles straight ahead as well as behind to clear out some pesky enemies that may be on your tail. Instead of a bomb attack, there is a limited stock of Strike Shields that you can use whenever the onscreen clouds of projectiles get too hectic to deal with. This basic setup may be rather simplistic but the action is still satisfying and decently challenging.
To mix things up, you can select between 4 difficulty settings: Novice, Original, Maniac, and Omake. The former three actually change your character and ship which helps freshen up the gameplay in interesting ways. Each ship has its own weapon that can fire different shots depending if you hold down or tap the fire button. Maniac and Omake modes also feature a tricky combo scoring system that'll have you trying to shoot down enemies as efficiently as possible. It's great to experience how different these modes are.
When it comes to graphics and sound, Fast Striker delivers on some fronts but fails on others. On the plus side, the electronic soundtrack is superb and brought me back to a mid '90s arcade. The sound effects are well done, too, as the explosions and different shot sounds add a great deal of satisfaction to the onscreen action. All of that being said, the visuals definitely leave a lot to be desired. No matter if you're flying over some sort of city-like background or in the depths of space, every environment is incredibly bland and easily forgettable. The same could be said about the enemies which are mostly blobs of pixels that barely resemble alien crafts. On top of all that, the graphics can be quite ambiguous. Having giant collectibles chasing you around will make you think that they're enemies at first and some hazards blend in with the environments a bit too well. Overall, Fast Striker can be a genuine pixelated mess.
Unfortunately, Fast Striker doesn't fare well when it comes to content either. Aside from the various difficulty settings, you essentially only get 6 stages to work through. If you're skilled enough, you can also battle the True Last Boss. That's all there is to it. There are no multiplayer modes, online leaderboards, or any sort of additional extras. Of course, this sort of content doesn't make or break a game but considering the core experience is as basic and short as it is; it's hard not to want much more.
If you're a shoot 'em up aficionado who must play every single one in existence then Fast Striker will provide a worthwhile albeit unmemorable arcade-style experience. However, those not obsessed with the genre will find very little to enjoy here.
- + Simple yet satisfying shooting action
- + Difficulty settings change the shoot 'em up gameplay substantially
- + Great music and sound effects
- - Unvaried and ambiguous graphics
- - Only a handful of stages to master
- - No multiplayer or extra modes