GyroBlade is the latest retro shooter to hit the Nintendo Switch and it’s hoping to find its way onto your playlist when it releases on 19th December 2022. Those who wish to play it right now can try it on Steam or purchase it through a Japanese Switch account. GyroBlade developer H.T. Project Games aims to provide a budget experience that gets you right into the action. The bottom line is that fans of 80s shmups such as Chopper 1 and 1942 will feel right at home with GyroBlade.
There is no story for this vertical shmup, you’re simply on a mission to complete the eight levels with three credits. Each credit gives you three lives and once you use them all up its game over. The controls are as simple as it gets by simply holding fire to continuously fire and the d-pad to move in eight directions. There are no bombs or secondary fire so GyroBlade is squarely paying homage to 80s shooters. Each level ends with a large boss that has its own firing pattern that you will need to master.
As you get into the gameplay and start blasting its simplicity shines through. Anyone with a grasp on basic arcade gaming can quickly get going and will be swaying around taking down enemies. Some enemies only take a short blast while others will require a sustained barrage to destroy. Most will fire circular projectiles that either spray or aim directly at you. Occasionally you will be facing rockets from turrets or high-powered helicopters. For the most part, the enemies are predictable and you will soon learn their attack patterns.
GyroBlade isn’t a bullet hell shooter and relies more on enemy swarms to fill the screen with life-taking dangers. Interestingly, you will not lose a life for colliding with one although getting close does mean they can easily target you. They also appear in waves that reward you for taking the entire wave down. You will notice stars appearing and collecting these will help with bonus points to get those high scores. The stars build up but using a credit resets this along with your score combo.
You can switch between spread and focus shots by collecting the power-ups. They slowly rotate between green for focus and red for spread. There are four difficulty modes to work through and hardcore shooter fans will relish the classic mode that will test every skill in your inventory. GyroBlade shouldn’t take that many goes to complete but getting the elusive one credit run will take a while. The bosses have attack patterns that can be learned and there aren’t any cheap deaths here.
The only reason to replay GyroBlade will be to improve your score but this is perfect for those times you need a quick blast. One omission is a tate mode that would have worked brilliantly on the Switch’s handheld mode. There is no high score table to track your progress although the overall highest score is displayed during the game. Being hyper-critical, there isn’t much variety in the enemies but this isn’t such an issue at this price point. The controls are tight and feel very responsive using a Switch controller or with the JoyCon.
GyroBlade’s graphics are simple but evoke the arcade pixel perfection the developers are aiming for. There are times when the enemy bullets blend in with the background, especially when flying over sand. This isn’t a major issue though and most of the presentation is clean and clear. The music has a perfect blend of 80s chiptune with just enough modern fidelity to feel fresh. Overall, GyroBlade gives that traditional arcade experience that pays homage to the classics in all the right ways.
If you’re looking for a new shooter that won’t take too much of your time then you need to look at GyroBlade. It’s the perfect budget title that provides a competent blasting romp without the fuss of overwhelming scoring systems or controls. However, those looking for a more complex shmup may wish to look elsewhere as this is as basic as it gets for the genre. GyroBlade may not add anything new but has a lot of arcade fun to get stuck into. Many thanks to Tendokore for sending a review copy.