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January 11, 2009
Soldner-X: Himmelssturmer - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
30/12/2008EastasiasoftEastasiasoftSideQuest Studios1-2None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Even as a cheap game Soldner-X looks great.
For months I had been looking at this game, in particular due to the promotions it was being given on Play-Asia (who funded the game in part), a somewhat favourite retailer of mine with the Australian dollar so strong over the last year. When the title hit the Playstation Store recently I decided to pick it up due to my liking of many side-scrolling shooters of yesteryear including UN Squadron, Thunderforce, R-Type and my favourite, Gynoug (or Wings of Wor as it was known in America).

Soldner-X retains that classic side-scrolling gameplay, but brings the series into the current generation of consoles. Indeed this PS3 version has even seen enhancements over the 2007 PC release including more music, Y-axis scrolling and new enemies.

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Soldner-X's Beam weapon looks great.
Set in the distant future, Soldner-X: Himmelssturmer contains a storyline which should be pretty familiar to any gamer. In the storyline, planet Earth's resistance aims to stop a deadly infection consuming both life forms and technology alike, oddly having to rely on an anti-hero mercenary and bounty hunter to pilot a mighty prototype star fighter. His goal: To fight his way to the virus' origin, save civilization and earn cash to boot!

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Your health is quite diminished.
So the storyline is pretty standard, and the gameplay retains the classic side-scrolling shooter feel from the older 16-bit titles. From the opening moments this game is pretty frantic, and there's little doubt that you will die many, many times before you reach the end of the game - if you actually do. Fortunately as you play, and fail, the game increases the number of available credits to continue the game after your three lives are up.

The game is split up into 12 stages in four main settings. What makes this side-scrolling shooter a little different from so many other shooters is the ability to not only move left or right, but also move up and down the screen a little bit with some Y-axis scrolling as well. It works well, and makes the playfield seem even larger then normal.

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The levels are filled with enemies and objects.
Your craft in this game contains five weapons - the pulse cannon, Laser Beam (which looks like lightning), Bow weapon which can bend around corners, Flame thrower and rocket, which is limited in shots, but quite powerful. Other little neat features. The game contains a full online ranking system so you can compare yourself to other gamers around the world. Also, and despite being released in 2008 when Trophies weren't mandatory, this game includes them which will offer you plenty of challenges. Finally the game does make use of the Dual Shock 3's rumble technology.

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Explosions in Soldner-X are impressive.
In terms of issues there isn't a lot to complain about. This game is tough, damn tough on the higher difficulty levels, but if you're an old-school gamer like myself then you'll enjoy the challenge unlike so many other current titles on the market. Also disappointing is the lack of online gameplay. That would have added in a bit of value too.

Graphically this game really is impressive. Each of the levels has a visually distinct style with a tonne of detail. Enemies are well designed and the game manages to hold a very solid frame rate with only the barest of hiccups in some of the busiest of scenes. In fact, if anything, the amount of detail and objects on screen make it harder to spot enemies without taking a second look, but we won't complain. Music is pumping enough and gets the pulse going while the effects do their job.

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Soldner-X looks great on PS3.
Soldner-X: Himmelssturmer may have one of the longest, and most unpronounceable names in a recent video game (at least, as long as we can remember), but for die-hard shooter fans this is a great reminder about what old school gaming was like. It's tough, relentless, but also gorgeous and engrossing.

This is a game to add to your PS3 downloads next time you're in the Store, especially given that it has been released the price of a cheap meal ($AU15.95).

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy through the PS3's Playstation Store.
GRAPHICSThis side-scrolling shooter looks fantastic with plenty happening.
SOUNDAverage effects, but the music is pumping and the announcer good in a cheesy way.
GAMEPLAYThis is old school side scrolling shooting at its best. Engrossing.
VALUENot the cheapest download in the store, but great value for money - if you like tough games.
OVERALLSoldner-X: Himmelssturmer brings back the frantic nature of side scrolling shooters and fans of the genre will have a blast with this great title.

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