Shoot, shoot, shoot.
Twin stick shooters don’t require a story, but here we find generic space marine, alone with an AI robot, trying to making it back to safety when surrounded by a relentless alien menace. I wish I could say there was something more robust or detailed to really appreciate here, but the story feels slapped together. Now that we got that out of the way, how’s the gameplay?
Being a twin stick shooter, players can expect to fight an onslaught of menacing creatures of various size and nature. Doing so enables the player to gain experience and attain skill points that enable them to fight better. A typical set up and one that has been proven to work, so if it isn’t broke, why fix it? Usually levels consist of trying to complete objectives like starting generators or making it from point a. to b. During these times, fighting enemies is common ground, yet sometimes a massive horde will get released, affecting the aggression meter at the top. The higher it goes, the more enemies come, and surviving can be a brutal.
Would pay $5.00
Multiplayer: local co-op only
How long to beat: ~5 hours
This is where the handy robot AI that accompanies players comes into use. Using a block wall or bomb can keep some of the horde at bay, using the taunt can lower the aggression meter, and then the robot can also scrounge the area for weapons, ammo, and health, which will be needed as finding ammo or new weapons can feel limited by yourself. Weapons prove more effective the more they are used, so it encourages using favorites in order to upgrade them.
Here is where I have to be completely and brutally honest. Solstice Chronicles: MIA simple bored me. It doesn’t really seem to do anything new or bring anything to the genre, which is completely fine. A well-made, polished experience can go a really long way, but the game just feels “rough” for better or worse terms. Graphically it doesn’t seem very detailed even on high settings; I experienced framerate chugging but of course each person has a different computer rig and performance can be varied. Missions will just abruptly end without feeling like there was an objective or any idea of coming to a conclusion to the level. Nothing comes off feeling smooth or intuitive, aside from perhaps the controls.
I wouldn’t go as far to say this twin stick shooter is bad or even a horrible experience, as there is fun to be had, and if players are into the theme and style, it can offer a handful of hours of entertainment. Survival mode is an additional mode to keep players busy, and co-op is always fun, but being limited to local only is a missed opportunity. The red planet can be an extremely exciting setting in videogames, but here it’s just another color palette.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.