Apr 30, 2014
Star Champion is old school. 2D, pixel art, insert coin, AWESOME old school.
The game wears the retro tag well. Looks-wise, it uses the simplest of colors and animations on a black background to convey the desired persona of an old-school arcade classic. The game uses up the entire screen, and the blots of color are differentiated to show power-ups and enemy craft.
Actual gameplay boils down to a war of attrition. Using a choice of craft with different attributes (single shooters, double shooters, side shooters, rapid fire, etc.), there is a spread virtual dual stick control method that manages the flight of the spacecraft and shooting at enemy ships; there is a small direction joystick to the left and a shooting button to the right. The enemy ships appear randomly with a simple warning, and then commence to fire on our protagonist ship. The basic concept is to avoid enemy fire and destroy as many ships as possible, to make it easy to monitor the health of the ship, there is a percentage health gauge at the bottom.
To add to the fun factor, there are few elements that come to bear. One is the transitive nature of the barriers of the playing area; they work like the portals in Pac-man. When our craft goes “out” the left side of the playing area, it seamlessly reappears on the right; similarly, if it goes through the top, the spacecraft pops out a the bottom, and vice versa. This creates strategic opportunities to flip on attacking ships. Another elements are the power-ups, which an arcade game is useless without. There’s stuff like limited helpers like better weaponry to take ships down with. Staying alive and destroying the enemy yields points.
I am not a fan of the controls, even though there is a little bit of choice available. I think the joystick could be a bit more intuitive. A better reward system would probably work too.
Whines aside, it is a pleasant game that is hard not to enjoy, even if one didn’t grow up in the arcade rooms of the 80s.