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Super Hydorah (Xbox)

Developed by Locomalito and Gryzor87 and published by Abylight Studios, Super Hydorah is available now on PC for £15.49, PS4 for £15.99 and Xbox One for £14.99.

Super Hydorah is a side-scrolling, non-linear shmup. An evil force is invading the Omios star and it's up to you to defend it against the hordes of Meroptians!

It looks like an older game with its nostalgic art style but happily, it doesn't play like one, the controls are easy to pick up and are very responsive; I've successfully dodged a fair few bullets! The menus are simple to navigate through and you are even given an option to change between CRT effect which essentially makes the game look more or less retro (shown below) which I thought was a nice touch.

Super Hydorah has an original soundtrack with over 60 tracks and thankfully it doesn't get annoyingly repetitive even though you may be repeating levels over and over again. The sounds of gunfire will mostly overpower the background music if you're anything like me and constantly fire!

I find that Super Hydorah is brutal at times and personally, it has been difficult to progress through. You can pick up upgrades as you play but if you don't have a shield up, you die in one hit. You can respawn from the beginning of where you were killed but after 3 deaths you can sacrifice your score to continue (from the beginning of the level you were on) or keep your score and accept the death which means you'll start over from the beginning. I frequently find myself in the position of dying multiple times before I reach the final stage of the level (a boss) and then I die again which means I go right back to the beginning of the part where I was already struggling to get through!

I really wish there was a more forgiving difficulty level or something available in the game to help people who are a fan of the genre but are not necessarily going to be able to succeed in getting very far without a little help. Perhaps a life bar rather than one hit and death, with life pickups along the way? I just can't help but feel that there are very similar games out there which are possibly more appealing because they cater for both sides of the ability spectrum.

Single player is made up of 21 missions which you are able to choose your own route through. These missions have then been divided up into 35 sublevels including 35 bosses and over 100 enemies! The levels themselves are well designed and fairly easy to fly your ship through whilst killing enemies and attempting failing to avoid the environmental hazards! You unlock weapons and power-ups as you progress through the game and can choose your loadout before each mission.

There is the option of playing local co-op which honestly makes so much difference! I felt like I was finally able to progress at a decent speed! I find that the game is significantly harder when playing alone. I really wish that there was online matchmaking rather than just local couch co-op play, as my kids wouldn't be much better than me and it is really hard to convince my other half to play local co-op with me when he can't earn any achievements!

You can also play the coop mini-game "Robot chase" which I really loved playing. You and your co-op partner are robots and when you are close enough to each other, you have a link between you that kills the enemies around you. You need to pick up the energy balls that drop in order to recharge the link to continue killing enemies. You'd probably have to play it to really appreciate it but it's so much fun, it's such a shame that you can't play it in solo play.

Overall, Super Hydorah is more enjoyable for me when playing co-op, but that doesn't mean I didn't have fun playing alone, I just found it so much more difficult to get anywhere! If I had to give it a score it would be 6/10. Since my initial review, the cost of Super Hydorah on Xbox and PC has doubled with an unclear motive as to why as there is no additional content and so I have adjusted my overall score accordingly. I can't imagine such a big price increase will be a popular move for the developers. If you're a fan of the genre and are skilled at it (or have a friend that is), then you'll be right at home here but perhaps wait for a sale.

Super Hydorah has 20 achievements available for a total of 1,000 Gamerscore. They are made up of a mix of score-based achievements as well as finding hidden secrets. I think ultimately it will be on the harder side to complete for the average gamer. If you need any help or guidance with any of the achievements then head over to True Achievements where you will find plenty of useful information.

A game code was provided for the purpose of this review. Thank you!
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