06th Jun2018

‘Hyper Sentinel’ Review (PC)

by Britt Roberts

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Kim Justice has recently uploaded a very in-depth (as usual) video describing the evolution of the Uridium series, of which Hyper Sentinel can be viewed as the third entry. A Kickstarter-backed success story, Hyper Sentinel is a rootsy neo-retro shooter which gives players a pure arcade challenge with all the benefits of modern design.

If you’ve played Uridium on the Commodore 64 or its sequel on the Amiga, the gameplay of Hyper Sentinel will be very familiar to you. Each of the 12 levels (split into smaller stages) play out the same, you view the action from a top-down perspective with the screen scrolling horizontally (your ship has the ability to flip around at will). Your goal is in two parts, firstly you must blast away at a large space-ship, destroying all gun placements and objects scattered along its surface whilst avoiding the enemy ships and defences. Upon destroying enough of the ‘space leviathan’, a guardian will appear for you to battle. These boss sections can take many forms from large crafts to shield-defended mounted turrets and more and add variety and mounting challenge to the levels as you progress through the game.

Whilst the game has its style firmly footed in the past, Huey Games have really made it look, sound and run as smoothly as possible. It’s a slick 60fps all the way with vibrant, chunky pixel graphics and a squelchy, neon sound track as an accompaniment to the intense on-screen action. Hyper Sentinel is also easy to pick up and play with just a couple of buttons needed to dive into the action so there isn’t a steep learning curve to master, all you need are quick reflexes.

There are also many weapons on offer from a powerful laser to a rear-spread shot and spiked maces that damage anything that they touch. The pace of the game combined with the frantic action is really evocative of the days when if you had the high score, you were king. Speaking of high scores, Hyper Sentinel keeps track of your highest score on each stage and uploads it to an online leader board, which is a must in these sorts of games as players will clamour to get at the top of the pile and I’m pleased to say that there seems to be a healthy amount of players pumping up the scores. The game also has quite a wealth of options behind the scenes including the ability to alter the screen type to CRT, Commodore 64 etc. and also in-game medals which unlock as you pass certain achievements.

Hyper Sentinel is a great game that recaptures the old-school ‘high-score’ searching days of old whilst also looking forwards with its design philosophies, a melding of eras that plays fantastically. The only downside I can really find with it is the fact that sometimes the amount of action on-screen can be perhaps too hectic to keep up with on occasion. That and a split-screen two player mode would be a nice addition, but I could say that about any game!

Right, I’m off to see if I can break the top fifty!

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