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Issue 0 - Second Quarter Special Edition 2017

Issue 0 - Special edition - 24-48 pages - Free PDF download - ETA June 2017

Our Mission: To review every game available for SteamOS!

Posted 30/3/2017

The Power Wants You!The Power Wants You!

The Power Need's You!

As you can see from this articles headline we have quite a task ahead of us, there are currently 3 permanent writing staff members, but for this objective to be even remotely possible we will be needing at least that many contributors again. We are accepting writers from Australia and general contributors from around the globe to cover SteamOS games.

  •   The Power Magazine ( Australia : ) is currently seeking writers to work part time reviewing games. We are currently a volunteer operation and you can expect to be writing 2-4 reviews in addition to other miscellaneous duties that come from working on a magazine.
  •   So if you have 10-40 hours per week to spare towards playing games and then writing a detailed, objective but personal evaluation of at least 2 games a fortnight you can expect to get as many free SteamOS compatible games as you can review, as well as the possibility of other review material for senior writers. 

Title: Syder Arcade
Genre: Arcade, Shoot-Em-Up
Developer: "In-House"
Publisher: Studio Evil
Release Date: 24 Oct, 2013
Languages: English, Italian, Spanish, German
Price: $9.99
Steam: app/252310/
Website: www.syderarcade.com

Serious Technical Issue!

I've had this game sitting around in my library virtually untouched after my first attempt to play it where I made the fatal mistake of attempting to reconfigure the gamepad controls, where a single button press is assigned to all the functions, which is perhaps the most debilitating but certainly not the only bug present in the Linux version. Anyway if you make this mistake it cannot be remedied by uninstalling the game, manually removing any remaining game data and re-installing. And the unlike many others, the developer of this game does not seem to care that they have coded a fatally bugged game. So whatever you do try to resist the urge to reassign the gamepad controls, otherwise you will be stuck using the keyboard or Steam Controller, which is not quite as good as using a bona-fide gamepad.

Story Mode. All six stages of it.

Graphics Modes

I liked your old stuff better than your new stuff

One thing you may notice about this game is that it features a large variety of “oldschool” graphics filters. Now while this may sound appealing to anyone who has fond memories of the computers of the 80’s and 90’s they are really just a gimmick, and using most of them makes playing the game unplayable. Just take a look at the different graphics modes on offer and tell me if you could make out what’s going on with most these poorly implimented filters.

20 filters, 50% unplayable!

Post-Script:Bundle

Studio Evil Bundle feat. Super Cane Magic Zero

 

  I actually purchased this game as one half of the Studio Evil Bundle (Steam bundle 781). But Super Cane Magic Zero, the other game in that bundle is Early Access, fairly expensive and it’s not very much fun to play at this point in time. Buy the bundle if you must, but be warned that Syder Arcade is by far the best game of the two in the bundle and even that is flawed as you may have ascertained from my review.

UPPERS


It's as pretty as it is playable, which is to say both qualities rate highly.

DOWNERS


But it simply seems to lack that addictive quality present in so many other shoot-em-ups. And there's just not enough levels.

BOTTOM LINE


It is a quality arcade shooter and anyone who liked the original arcade game Defender will surely get some ejoyment out of this game. And I do feel like a little bit of a bastard giving this title less than 8.5. But then I probably won't be coming back to play it again much in the future. So there's that to consider, plus it has more bugs & flaws than I have space to mention!

8.2/10

Have you ever fantasised about being the Defender of the universe?

If so then you may like to consider the following...

  If you were enticed by this games title, rest assured the word "Arcade" in the title is in no way a misnomer. As there is none of the grinding for stats, equipment, etc. present in many modern computer shoot-em-ups, which I personally think is a good thing. And on "Pure" difficulty enemy projectiles do sufficient damage to effectively make them one hit kills. Although arcade purists may be a little disappointed with the difficulty level, as I did not have too much trouble completing the campaign on "Arcade" difficulty. Still I found the four difficulty levels ("Tourist", "Young Gun", "Arcade", "Pure") to be aptly named with the first two a somewhat beneath my personal level of skill.Confrontation with a Space Pirate captain leads to what can only be described as an "epic ( if a little easy - Ed) space battle" between rival star fleetsConfrontation with a Space Pirate captain leads to what can only be described as an "epic ( if a little easy - Ed) space battle" between rival star fleets

  The game itself pays homage to the classic 8-bit arcade shooter Defender, with similar movement to either the left or right and a radar map of the entire level at the top of the screen. Although it isn't as fast paced as Defender and the players ship has a small but natural amount of inertia, especially when speeding up, stopping and turning around, and it's possible to shoot forwards while travelling backwards. Also featured in addition to the main weapon is a special weapon, which is charged by destroying enemies and collecting grey powerup cubes. Firing the special weapon also temporarily activates a shield which renders the player invunerable for a second or two, which is quite handy on Pure difficulty I can tell you.

Round The Clock

  There are four different ships to choose from, the Dart, which is fast and has reasonable armour, but pretty weak weapons. The Wasp, which is slower and has poor armour, but has a rapid firing machine gun and powerful “fire and forget” missiles, this is perhaps my favorite ship. The Mule which is slow but powerful, and has a kind of shield for a special weapon. And finally the Overseer, which looks more like an insect than a spacecraft. It's quite fast but has poor armour and weapons, but it is possible to use its special weapon which summons drones to set up a defensive wall which can make taking out bosses quite easy. All of the ships start with pretty weak weaponry, but it does not take too long to collect enough powerups to deal more damage.

  The game features three different flavours of survival mode: "Last Line of Defence", "Ice Canyon" & "The Lighthouse" in addition to a six mission campaign, which I will get to in a minute. The first survival mode is pretty much your classic survival mode where you take on endless waves of foes which increse in frequency and ferocity until you die, the second is a race against time, speeding along an ice canyon very similar to level six of the campaign to collect all the powerup cubes before the 4 minute time limit runs out. And the final is similar to the first, but instead of an endless wave of smaller enemies you will be facing a series of waves featuring large ships which need to be destroyed.

  Now the main campaign features six missions, each with its own distinct game mechanics. The fist mission, "Pilot", which I actually found to be one of the harder levels. Has you zooming backwards and forwards taking out the various mines, fighters and drones defending a massive pirate battleship before destroying the battleship and moving on to the next level, "The Road Not Taken". Where you must retreat through an asteroid field, which if you're anything like me you'll just completely obliterate with your weapons, while defending a starship from damage. There is a boss at the end of this mission, but one time when I was dealing with enemies in another part of the level I found that the starship that you're supposed to be escorting is perfectly capable of dealing with this guy all by itself.

I managed to keep all three ships alive on "Pure" difficulty. I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.I managed to keep all three ships alive on "Pure" difficulty. I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself.

  In the third mission, "Starship Down" you must fend off several waves of enemy fighters and destroy clouds of mines before they can do too much damage to your fleet while you wait for repairs to be made to one of the ships. Then in the fourth mission, "Unfinished Business", your now fully functional starfleet has what can only be described as an epic space battle with the pirate fleet. This is perhaps my favorite mission, and I did get a kick out of the way my superiour officer responded to the enemy pirate captain with the line “come at me bro” although this level is also by far the easiest and I usually pick up a few extra lives in this level.

Start As You Mean To Go On

  Now is probably a good time for me to mention that it is possible to start the campaign at any mission on any difficulty level. Now personally I don't think this is a good thing, I do like being able to continue from where I left off. But having the entire campaign unlocked from the beginning does take a bit of fun out of the gaming experience. Anyway, the reason I'm mentioning it now is because level four is probably a good level to start on if you're going for the achivements as quickly as possible.

  Back to the campaign plot, in mission five "War Stories", you get orders from your commanding officer's commanding officer, Captain Reyes (the woman who features prominently in the game artwork) to disrupt the enemy reenforcements by destroying an unknown device they are using to generate warp gates. So off you fly, from left to right through a cloud of enemy fighters to destroy a massive military installation. By this point I'd noticed that the majority of the campaign levels are of the linear left-to-right variety despite the Defender inspired game engine. And at this point I might mention that I generally found the explosions to sound a bit dissapointing compared to other games, especially the weak sound made by destroying such a large device as the end of level boss.

  And finally "The Storm", which is another left to right level, this time you have to outrun a deadly powerful storm which starts moving in from the west when you get about a quarter of the way through the level. There's big space lasers to avoid, a narrow ice canyon to navigate, tougher enemies than previous levels. This is the only level that really gives me any trouble, and even then only really on "Pure". The boss is quite similar to the previous mission, only this time is identified as a "Reactor" instead of “Unknown Device” and is defended by a more elaborate structure, which can be a bit of a bitch to navigate."Sometimes the machine is stuck, like has happened to me here, making completing the final level impossible.""Sometimes the machine is stuck, like has happened to me here, making completing the final level impossible."

  Especially when the final boss kills you after you've already neutralised the defences, and you have to restart back at the beginning and navigate the three spinning circle gates again, the third of which can make you wait for over thirty seconds before it lets you out the other side. Oh and sometimes the mechanism which allows the player to progress on to the boss fight is stuck, making it impossible to complete the level. And the final boss spawns drones to defend itself, and these have a nasty habit of spawning right on top of the player if you aren't paying attention. And just like the previous level, considering the size of the reactor one really would expect a much more impressive destruction sequence from this final boss.

  But apart from those drones near the end, the game does not ever hit you with a cheap shot. With the map obviously displaying all the enemies on the map and a synthesized voice announcing incoming enemies, as well as when you've powered up your special weapon, picked up a powerup, etc. And the sounds the weapons make are satisfactory, but the explosions are poor as I've already mentioned.

  And with the expection of a couple of levels, such as the first survival mode, I found the music rather dull and did little to enhance the atmosphere of the game. Although I suppose it's not bad, there's certainly nothing either particularly memorable or heart-pumping to be heard here.

Boxers Or Briefs?

  After the mission briefings, the game insists on showing an instructions screen before every single level which feels a little patronising and gets quite annoying quite quickly. Surely it only needs to be displayed at the start of the first level. And also it makes no mention of the gamepad controls, listing only keyboard commands. Which is what prompted me to attempt to reconfigure my controls, which triggered a fatal flaw in this game, in the first place. I consider this to be bad form indeed, especially for an “Arcade” game which is obviously made to be played with a controller."This is the screen you will have to look at before every single level every time you play. And it does not even mention the joypad controls.""This is the screen you will have to look at before every single level every time you play. And it does not even mention the joypad controls."

  The game also features a variety of graphic filters emulating the display limitations of a variety of vintage computer hardware. But these are a bit of a gimmik really with most of them being almost completely unplayable due to the actual game graphics being designed for a high-defenition true-colour display, although I did quite like the Amiga HAM filter as you might expect me to, although I'm pretty sure the Amiga never did a 1366x768 60Hz HAM mode, and there was no HAM 'fringing', or that wierd square four colour effect in ZX spectrum mode. The game does give a small bonus for using an oldschool filter, but this is the same for all the filters and does not reflect the great degree of difficulty seeing what's actually going on if you were to use C64 mode for example.

  I don't think I have mentioned that this game looks absolutely gorgeous even on "normal" graphics quality, with beautifully rendered 3d spacescapes which zoom in and out with the action. Personally I use "NextGen" at a reasonable screen size with no slowdown. "Godlike" seems to be quite resource intensive, and gives me a frame rate of around 20fps on my Steam Machine, which is quite rare for any game to give me such a poor refresh rate. Although I didn't really notice much difference between the lowest and highest graphics quality settings. Also, don't use a screenmode less than 760 pixels high if you want to be able to see the entire menu on the title screen.

  Overall, while both well presented and quite playable, it just seems to lack that quality present in so many other shooters which just makes you want to have one more go upon game over. 'Not at all bad, but not particularly memorable either' seems to sum up my experience with the game perfectly. I did have fun playing this but I can't see myself spending much more time playing it.

‚óŹ Rob O’Malley

the power magazine 

The magazine for Linux/SteamOS games and Emulators