I enjoy frantic games, even if I’m not great at them. Roguelike shooting games especially can be fun, because each play is different and making it past a level feels so damn good.
Steredenn is a pixel-art space shoot-’em-up game where the levels are never the same twice. You are basically a small ship whizzing forward after your main mother craft is attacked by space pirates, and now waves of pirates and other hazards are ahead of you. You are armed with a blaster but along the way if you destroy big transport ships new weapons will be dropped and you can pick them up for new ways to tackle hazards. These range from a giant blue laser to a circular saw that grows from around your ship when you hit the ‘fire’ button. Of course, you don’t have to grab these weapons if you want to stick with your blaster over whatever random weapon drop you get. Everyone’s playstyle will be able to handle weapons slightly differently; and while I didn’t get on with the shotgun weapon for example, someone else will probably sail through with it.
You have a set amount of health and it’s best to prioritize avoiding enemies over shooting them down if you can. The more health you have at the end of a level, the more chance you have of defeating the boss at the end. Each boss will have attack patterns chosen from a pool of patterns, and figuring them out might take a few runs of a level before you make it to the end of the fight and defeat a boss. Upon death each boss will spew out a few randomly chosen upgrades for your ship for you to choose from. You need to choose one to proceed to your next level, so choose the one you want and then watch as the others explode and an animation applies your upgrade before you hyperjump to the next level.
Steredenn was originally out on other platforms before it came to Steam, with both the Xbox One and Playstation 4 having their own versions too. Because of this, Steredenn is suited for controller play and in fact the game will recommend this upon the first time you start playing the game. Not that there’s a lot to remember if you go mouse and keyboard.
The things this game has going for it is the simple pixel art style which lets a lot happen onscreen at a time, sometimes too much, and the fact that after a few plays you will quickly learn what does and doesn’t work for you as far as your playstyle and what weapon pickups will compliment that. I personally prefer the giant laser even if it stops me moving as quickly. If I need to move fast I stop shooting and then resume when it’s convenient to do so. I still blow up a lot, but hey – at least now I’ve learned what not to do next time.
If you enjoy roguelike shoot-’em-ups and space shooter games you will enjoy this one. I would recommend it if you didn’t get to play it on consoles previously, as the game is only £9.99 in the UK and $12.99 in the US – so it’s really not that expensive and with randomly generated levels and weapon/upgrade pickups every time you’re going to get a lot of replay opportunities from it.