The sequel to Petite Games’ arcade shooter Super Destronaut DX has hit consoles, and the kind folks at Ratalaika Games have given us a copy to play and review. So the question is, does it hold up to the fun and frenetic action of the original, and is it worth playing for more than just an easy Platinum trophy?
Gameplay and Modes
Taking heavy inspiration from arcade games of the past like Galaga and Space Invaders, Super Destronaut DX 2 sees you taking down fleets of enemy spaceships in fast-paced gameplay, but unlike the original where you are restrained to the X axis, the sequel allows you to freely fly around both the X and Y axis. This adds a welcome twist to the formula in that it mixes up the threats the game can throw at you, while a layer of challenge is presented by your shooting still being restricted to the Y axis, so enemies pursuing you from below always have to be taken into account.
This isn’t just a Space Invaders clone though, it has a number of modes (including the classic arcade action for the purists) such as time attack that adds time when you clear a wave, time rush that gives you a set amount of time to clear as many waves as possible without losing all your lives, and bullet mode that gives you a limited number of ammunition to defeat enemies and of course hardcore mode for players that want to be severely tested. The hardcore mode features the same gameplay as arcade, but the enemies move far faster, shoot a lot more frequently with bigger bullets and have much more sporadic movement. It never feels unfair though, and progressing far into the mode has the same feeling of accomplishment as getting through tough patches in any game.
Art and Sound Direction
Super Destronaut DX 2 has an 80s neon aesthetic that uses stylized pixel graphics to replicate the nostalgic vibe of playing in a dark room illuminated with LED lights. It really immerses you into that environment and if slotted into an arcade cabinet you’d easily feel like this is an authentic arcade game. However, due to repetitive colour schemes and no customization this aesthetic can get stale pretty quickly, which is why I believe the game excels in being played in short bursts when you have that itch to shoot some pixels. It also features three tracks as its backdrop that play during gameplay and all have that 80s synth style that fits this type of game so well. I have attached a YouTube video to the tracks above for you to see for yourself, but if they aren’t doing it for you, muting the sound and playing a synth Spotify playlist over it instead works just as wonderfully.
Overall, the game has a very polished feel— menus and movement feel very snappy and the game loads almost instantly on my PS4 so I would expect the same of its next gen equivalent. The game adds a lot of quality of life changes from the original such as more precise hit boxes on yourself and enemies as well as the extra mobility options. This all culminates in it being a worthy upgrade from its predecessor and definitely one of the best games from Ratalaika’s publishing. The best part is that the game is only £4 and has cross-buy between PS4 and PS5, so it’s an easy purchase for any arcade shooter fans. You can buy the game here.