Blue Rider is a top-down shooter that has you going from zone to zone battling enemies until you reach a boss and go from there.
You pilot a ship in a top-down view, shooting enemies from floating units to ground turrets, gaining points towards your rampage as you play. You also gain power-ups for your primary weapon and extra bombs to use against the boss and other enemies. To its core, Blue Rider plays as an old school shooter.
The in-game audio is a mixture of background music that semi-loops in the level as well the basic sound effects that you would hear in a shooter, like lasers, explosions, gunfire and other general sound effects. As the game does not have any talking or verbal sound at all, there is no need to worry about anything offensive for younger gamers to hear. Blue Rider does not support 5.1 surround sound, but it doesn’t need it. The game sounds fine through a headset, and you can adjust the in-game sound effects to your liking. Again parents, please use caution when allowing your family gamer to use a headset for extended gaming sessions.
The game uses a basic set of graphics to showcase the in game action. From the design of your ship to enemies on screen, everything is presented with full detail. The game uses a lighter color pallet with more greens and yellows. As the game does not have a colorblind mode, some gamers may have a harder time seeing the reds in the game because of the higher usage of green, but this was a minor issue in our testing. The game does not contain anything that would be offensive visually, as the game’s premise is to be a shooter. When enemies are killed on-screen, they have a basic explosion that is shown and then they fade out. The game’s graphic nature is designed to be able to be played by anyone from age 10 and up. During our play testing, other than the color issue, we did not run into anything that would be a problem for any gamers in your gaming family.
With the left thumb stick to move, right stick to steer, and the shoulder buttons to shoot, use your bombs and sprint, Blue Rider’s controls are very simplistic to pick up and play. The game does not need any special type of controller to play, so using the standard controller should be fine. During our playtesting we did notice some stiffness of the ship movement. On the PC we did not get to test this, but if you are using a controller to play PC games you should be fine. In our special needs playtesting, we saw that the game controls are fine and very easy for anyone to pick up and play.
“Blue Rider has the makings of a great shooter, but with bland level design, enemies, and power ups, it just made it another run of the mill shooter.”
Those looking for a challenging shooter may get some fun out of Blue Rider, but more casual gamers may be disappointed. Blue Rider’s gameplay revolves around being more of a hardcore shooter; if you die in a mid level, there is no continue feature in the game, which can be punishing for those not as familiar with difficult shooter games. Also, as the game is all about trying to dodge bullets from enemies, there are some times in the game when the controls become too stiff, and that does cause some movement that would cause players to get hit by the enemy. The game is more suited for hardcore shooter fans, and these features may be a turn-off for some of the more causal gamers.
One of the things that came up during the play test was whether Blue Rider is too hard for casual shooter fans or general gamers to get into, and the answer is yes. During the playtesting, a lot of our testers were getting frustrated with the game’s level of difficulty, and this led to some testers just stopping the game. However, the more seasoned shooter fans in our testing group were the ones who kept on playing, as they were more adjusted to the game’s style from their experience with shooters. If anything, Blue Rider is more geared toward hardcore shooter fans, so unless you have a hard core shooter fan in your gaming family, it is best to either download a demo or watch a video before purchasing. We didn’t find Blue Rider to be a bad game, but it’s not a must-have title that everyone in the family is guaranteed to love.
Blue Rider is a hardcore shooter, but a shooter that misses its mark… or maybe hits too narrow of a niche.
Be sure to listen to our podcast for our real thoughts on Blue Rider!