Last year, New Blood Interactive and Psyche Studios released a top-down SHMUP title called “Super Galaxy Squadron” for the PC. To its credit it a was a fun title a breath of fresh air as the SHMUP genre is still what many consider dead, despite releases of several new games and even remakes of old school titles such as Darius. However, the experience was still a bare bones experience and it felt like it wasn’t complete – something was missing.
Well, it was and here it comes in the form of Super Galaxy Squadron EX.
Game Name: Super Galaxy Squadron EX.
Publisher(s): Psyche Studios
Developer(s): New Blood Interactive
Release Date: Feb 18, 2016
Now, let me make it perfectly clear that if you’ve already played Super Galaxy Squadron, then you’ll be right at home with Super Galaxy Squadron EX. Gameplay-wise, nothing has actually changed and instead this up makes a few gameplay tweaks, cosmetic changes and even adds in some cinematic scenes which remind me of an old school Super Nintendo Entertainment System game.
And if you haven’t played it before, check out our original review here and then go pick up this game and enjoy it. If you’re a SHMUP fan, you’re going to love it.
So what exactly has changed?
As mentioned, this update is mainly some balancing tweaks as well as the addition of cosmetic changes. Those changes include an updated ship selection screen, which I feel is a pretty decent upgrade. And while it may not seem like a big deal if you never played the original version, the entire game has been upgraded. And I mean everything! From the enemies, your ship, weapon effects, everything. It’s all been given an overhaul and it looks fantastic. It’s like you upgraded from a 16-bit title to a 32-bit game. And while this isn’t directly apparently when starting the game, the second you start playing, you’ll see the major changes that have taken place.
Previously the ships were laid out in a circle, which was a pain to navigate and didn’t give you much useful information about the ship you were choosing. Now the ships are laid out in a more fleshed out manner, as well as each ship giving off a display of their weapons that can be fired, information about the pilot that you’ll be controlling, as well as the ships characteristics and hyper weapon info. Now you’re given an advantage with the ship selection and not just going off of “oh, this ship is cooling looking, I’m going to pick this one.”
Seeing how this update is a year later, this also gave the team to add some in-game cinematics, which goes to give the game an actual story. Before, you just selected the ship and went to town, blowing up everything in your path. Now, you have an actual story that is presented to you, starting from the intro screen, the first stage and every other stage as you progress. Pretty cool stuff and gives me that old sci-fi movie vibe.
The actual game area has also changed. Instead of the wasted space outside of the playing area, they’ve added an overlay that puts your heads up display info in a better perspective. Instead of hovering at the top and bottom of the screen, your combo meter, health bar, and hyper meter are aligned on the overlay. They’ve also added a power meter so you can track your power-ups you collected, as well as a section that tells you what level you’re playing as (casual, normal, veteran).
Rounding out the changes, they’ve added new levels of difficulty. Previously you only had access to normal and hardcore mode. But now there are several addition difficulties; Casual, Veteran, and Hell, however from there you can then choose from normal or hardcore. So yes, you have basically a multiplier for game difficulty, so if you feel like dying over and over then Hell + Hardcore may be for you.
The same game, with much needed upgrades
To sum it up, my original opinion of Super Galaxy Squadron hasn't changed at all. I still think that while it's a bit short, it's definitely a fun SHMUP title that deserves a look at. However with the addition upgrades to the updated title, it just pushes Super Galaxy Squadron further up on the must have game list.
SHMUP fans, don't miss this. For everyone else, if you like a fun and fast past game, especially if you grew up on these games then check Super Galaxy Squadron EX out.
- 14 ships to choose from
- Despite being a short game, provides a lot of fun
- It's a top down shooter and man is it fun
- Now includes updated graphics and much needed screen elements
- In the heat of battle, sometimes your bullets overlap the enemies and you'll take hits due to not seeing them
- It's too short!