Of all the games on Rice Digital, we would understand if you though this was the ‘worst’ – taking a quick look at the screens thinking ,‘hmm… maybe this isn’t the best of the line up.’ We have to stand by our principles on this one though – we won’t ever put a game up on the store that we didn’t genuinely believe was worthy of your hard earned cash.
Personally Satazius are Ether Vapor are currently my favourites on Rice Digital – for different reasons. Ether Vapor is pretty, but relatively simple in terms of mechanics. Conversely, while Satazius obviously doesn’t have Edelweiss’ shooter’s stunning good looks, it more than makes up for it in depth.
One thing both titles have in common however, is this feeling of a journey – that you’re progressing, enjoying an intergalactic space-romp though dangerous territory. And I LOVE that. Much like Ether Vapor – Satazius is the perfect antidote to those who find the constant barrage in Bullet Hell a little too full-on for their tastes.
If anything, in Satazius, YOU are the bringer of bullet hell – in that the game centers, very pleasingly, around your exceptionally beefy arsenal of weapons.
You see, on starting up the game, you’re presented with a wealth of customisation options. A choice of main weapons – full on frontal assault, or balanced with rear fire power, for example. And then a wealth of secondary fire options, from angular shots, to terrain-hugging rockets to take care of grounded enemies.
There’s a great range to choose from – and from the offset, different players will feel comfortable using different load-outs. The way the power up systems works is also quite pleasing – in that you’ll find them in abundance and you’re never overly penalised for dying, so it’s rare that you feel like you’re underpowered.
Likewise, as you progress, more weapons are unlocked – bringing with it an even more satisfying feeling of choice. If you feel like you need to change things up a bit to improve your odds in any given level – it’s great to have these options to experiment with.
The danger with this feeling of power of course, is that Satazius would lack challenge, would feel a little cheap – but far from it. The game’s difficulty is balanced in a couple of ways. To start with, strategic switching of your weapons will be the key to dealing with the range of situations, enemy patterns and bosses you find yourself up against. Secondly, the game’s environment plays a major role in each of the levels – particularly as any contact will kill you outright.
This in itself is quite refreshing, as it’s an element of shooters that we don’t always see these days (fans of Gradius and R-Type will appreciate this), and learning and mastering the terrain can prove both exhilarating and satisfying as you dodge and weave though the obstacles it throws at you.
I miss these kinds of shooters, I really do. There are a handful of 16-bit, arcade and PSone shooters that I have really fond memories of. Thunderforce and Einhander being good examples – and in many ways Satazius harks back to those good old days. If you’re of a similar disposition to me, in terms of your taste for Shmups, then you’d do well to investigate this one.
Satazius is now available to download here.