Every now and then a game comes along which just makes you go back for more. No matter how hard I’ve tried not to. Blue Rider is the latest title to hit me right in the chops with its addictiveness.
A twin stick shooter in which you control a small blue ship through nine vertically scrolling levels, Blue Rider brings nothing new to the table, and it fails to excel at any one moment. But strangely, no matter how hard you wish you didn’t, you’ll want to keep going back through the repetition it brings as you attempt to complete the entire game.
Various enemies litter your path to success, but none of the standard opponents will cause you too much hassle. Some move fast, some move slow, others fire off tons of rounds of orb-like bullets, whilst others are dealt with in a second as they attempt to shoot homing missiles your way. You’ll find that the further you progress, the bigger the battle and the more shots will be coming your way, but with a simple move of the left thumbstick, should be able to dodge just enough to avoid any form of destruction.
With super simple controls – RT to fire your primary weapon, LT to drop your bomb, the bumpers to utilise the boosters for a sprint and a circular motion on the thumbsticks to do the rest – Blue Rider is a cinch to get hold of. There are upgrades to your weapons, and should you happen across a destructible structure, will be able to switch between a focused laser and a more widespread rapid firing gun. Unless of course you decide you’d rather upgrade the gun you already have equipped…for that is quite possibly the only real decision you’ll ever have to make in Blue Rider.
You’ll probably find yourself blasting through the first few levels with utter ease, dying little and hardly ever taking an actual hit, especially if you take things slow and methodically. But reach level four and things crank up a notch and whilst the enemies are the same, their frequency and population is much greater. In fact, by the time you reach the super tricky mid-point boss, you’ll be on your last legs.
It is here where you’ll no doubt find yourself stuck for a little while, needing to learn the patterns of not just the standard grunt enemies, but the big plasma beam wielding end of stage burrower itself. It’s hard, and I very nearly gave up trying, but once you finally find the tactic that works, will fly through with ease, with subsequent levels all requiring the same commitment to success.
And you see, that is Blue Rider in a nutshell. Easy to play, but hard to master – until you work out the overall tactic required for each stage and its big boss. But thanks to the length of each level, even if you die, you will find that you just have to go back over it time and time again until you finally beat it.
There is no story and there is no lore, but there are a few little collectibles nuggets to waste a little more time with. A delightful backing track accompanies you through the entirety of Blue Rider and with the bright and colourful visuals throughout, there is absolutely nothing that will possibly be able to offend. But then, there isn’t an awful lot to Blue Rider either, because once you complete a stage, you simply move on to the next and go through the whole damn thing once more.
Points are awarded for each kill and completion, and should you get really good, will find yourself maxing out a ‘rampage’ mode, but these are hardly utilised, with the only ‘leaderboard’ being that which shows your personal best. Even then it’s hidden away in the corner of the main menu like it’s been added on at a later date. In a world that is connected more and more by the day, it’s strange that a game fails to bring any sort of comparison to those from around the world, let alone allow for any form of cooperative affair – something which Blue Rider might just have been able to find its calling card with.
If you’re looking for a well paced, slightly tricky, very repetitive twin stick shooter then by all means check out Blue Rider. It won’t wow you, but it is well priced and much like me, you’ll probably find you like it more than you really should.