Sophstar (Xbox One) Review with stream

A new, vertical arcade-style shooter, Sophstar takes the best aspects of your favorite shmups and merges them into a quality concoction all from a budget price.

This shooter doesn’t do anything new but presents everything with polish, respecting the player’s time and skill every step of the way. In fact, there are so many options it embarrasses most other titles in this genre.  With numerous difficulty settings and nine playable ships, the game encourages experimentation since each option and vehicle comes with pros and cons. Each ship plays entirely differently too, and the game rewards the player with an Achievement just for trying each one.

With one button to shoot and other that unleashes an auto-regeneration sub-weapon, gameplay in this vertical shooter is simple. Make no mistake though, it is a difficult game especially on the higher difficulties. I wouldn’t call it a bullethell since the screen doesn’t constantly fill with enemies and projectiles, but it is still fast paced, swarming, and always action packed. The left trigger and shoulder buttons also allow for more detailed movement, giving the player the right tools to complete the job.

There is a teleporting gameplay mechanic, the game’s main gimmick, that can help the player evade cluttered trouble areas. Also on a regenerating meter, it takes a second to summon but let’s the player ghost warp to a new area of the screen while the original position continues to shoot for a short amount of time. In my embedded stream, I totally forgot to use this feature and died within a few stages. Once I remembered to use this evasive feature, I was able to get further into the game after some practice.

If the multiple difficulties and numerous ships were not enough, plenty more added replay value is given to the player. Besides the narrative mode with story dialog scenes, there are plenty of optional score and time attack variants, each outfitted with their own online leaderboard. The leaderboard also has its own dedicated set for each difficulty so competition is also fierce. Then, if you dig in the options menu, there are tons of quality-of-life features to toggle, screen settings, and the game can even be rotated into tate mode.

With so many consideration options and smooth gameplay, it is easy to see that the developers put their heart into this one. Even though it is a uncomplicated vertical shooter, nothing you really have not experienced before, it still comes highly recommended simply because everything is so considerately laid out and it is released at a budget price point.

SCORE: 9/10

More Detailed Than: Rick Henderson

Don’t Forget About: Spacewing War

Also Play: Rolling Gunner

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief

Twitter: @ZackGaz

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