September 25, 2015 1:15 PM | John Bridgman
It is rare that an authentic retro experience comes along. Often we see elements or inspirations of gaming's bygone eras in new titles, whether in aesthetics or game play, but it's few and far between to find something that tries to harken back to the years past in every way. Recently launched on Kickstarter, Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs is a 2D sidescrolling run'n'gun game by Team Saber Rider for Nintendo 3DS, PC, Mac, Linux, Sega Dreamcast and PC Engine/Turbo Grafx-16.
The game is going all in on all things retro, going with its aesthetic and gameplay, but also the rather interesting choice of release platforms. There are stretch goals for other platforms as well, including the three major current generation consoles, and Super NES/Super Famicom. Topping that all off, of course, is the property itself, which is from the 1980's cartoon series of the same title.
Having gotten the license for the cowboy mecha cartoon series, the team has committed themselves to making something as detailed and authentic as possible. The in progress art certainly demonstrates this, as they are absolutely evocative of classic arcade style, as well as the aesthetic of the show itself. The art team is doing a commendable job with their eye to detail in making sure everything is consistent and genuine.
Gameplay is expected to be reminiscent of classic run'n'gun games, and both the setting and look of the game should suit this ideally. They plan on implementing side-scrolling shmup-style vehicle sections as well, which is risky, but if it works out well could keep the game from getting repetitive. In addition they promise lots of mini bosses in each level, as well as huge boss fights in the form of the "Challenge Phase".
This phase is where the characters enter their space cruiser, which transforms into a giant cowboy mecha called Ramrod. There is a possibility for this to be extremely silly, however, given their obvious dedication and appreciation for the style and aesthetic, I think that the Challenge Phase sections could be just as fun as the phrase "giant cowboy mecha" sounds like it should be.
Obviously a project like this is going to be banking heavily on nostalgia, and I think that those people who are wanting that arcade gameplay that classic run'n'gun games offer are the ones who are most immediately going to be interested in the game. Also retro hardware enthusiasts are likely going to want to add the new title to their collection since it will be released on some more peculiar platforms. In addition, I think this could have a lot of appeal to 2D action game fans in general, thanks to the promised variety of gameplay styles.