Super Galaxy Squadron EX on PC
When I think of genres in gaming that are at the top of the list for punishing gameplay and near-impossible odds, bullet hell is right up near the top. Super Galaxy Squadron EX certainly fits the bill, but with plenty of options to make it a little more approachable than its kin. A selection of difficulty levels, fourteen playable characters, and devastating weaponry all feature in Synset’s “shmup for the people”.
Super Galaxy Squadron EX does a great job of toning down the usual unforgiving nightmare of its genre. While there’s plenty of challenge at the higher levels for veterans, lower difficulties make for a much friendlier approach. Plentiful weapon upgrades, health restoration items, and the vast array of ships to take into battle can accommodate for nearly any skill level or play style.
Aside from being a “friendlier” bullet hell, Super Galaxy Squadron EX is a pretty straightforward entry in the genre. Set eleven years after a bloody conflict between humanity and the alien citizens of Tau Ceti, the story follows an elite military force put together in secret for the inevitable rekindling of conflicts.
Players may choose any of the 14 characters at the beginning of each stage, launching them into high-energy space combat against the enemy from there. Perhaps Super Galaxy Squadron EX’s best trait, the roster of heroes to select from is impressive. With each ship equipped with different primary and secondary weapons, the play style for each is distinct. Collecting items from fallen foes also charges the player’s Hyper meter, enabling devastating attacks that can lay waste to the opposition with impunity.
Since each pilot and ship is different, I took some time to play around with each member of the Super Galaxy Squadron. My best fit, the Martian pilot Yun Anjou’s ‘Orange’, brings ruin to the enemy with short-range flamethrowers coupled with her standard fire. While her traditional area-bomb Hyper attack may not be as potent as some of the other offerings, I found her base attacks suit my playstyle better than many available options.
Ultimately, Super Galaxy Squadron EX isn’t reinventing the genre, but it is making it a little easier for non-veterans to enjoy. It excels at it, making for a frantic, but fun experience that’s suitable to any skill level, and full of plenty of classic arcade action. The 16-bit style graphics and chiptune soundtrack round out the game for an all-around great experience that’s sure to satisfy those who look back fondly on the likes of Aero Fighters.
While the $9.99 price on Steam may be a bit high considering the relatively short story mode, Super Galaxy Squadron EX packs in a few extras to make it worth it. As the EX might signify, the game is an update to last year’s Super Galaxy Squadron, which is included in the purchase. In addition, an available Endless mode means that, while you pay power through the story in an hour or so, there’s plenty of action still waiting to be found.