Countless action titles see reboots and most can barely grasp the awe that the original created. Some action games try to bring back the legacy they left behind while introducing fresh new mechanics and, unfortunately, fall short of our expectations. But, sometimes sticking to basics and recreating a beloved experience, while keeping things simple, is just what is necessary to stay competitive in this industry. Losing Megaman was a crushing blow to many fans of the action platformer genre, but as Capcom simply put it, the money wasn’t there. Strider is coming in at a time where the action platformer genre isn’t very well received and many don’t really know who the main character is aside from his appearances in Marvel vs. Capcom. Double Helix Games is bringing back yet another title that is nearly a decade old, and hopefully Strider’s return can rekindle the action platformer genre thought to be long gone on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, and PC.

With a nearly decade long disappearance in his own game, Capcom, alongside Double Helix Games, keeps it safe by recreating the classic Strider story with elements from the NES version. Strider Hiryu is sent in from the Strider organization to assassinate Grandmaster Meio who is hidden within the walls of Kazakh City. The Grandmaster has many minions and cohorts to stop Strider from completing his mission successfully. However, Strider’s story is not where the game is meant to shine, but merely a backdrop to what is truly important of this action platformer.

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Strider Hiryu making quick work of his foes.

Although the linear and simple gameplay of the arcade classic is gone, Strider keeps its speedy action while adding exploration to the mix. The game brings a mix of Metroid and Castlevania when it comes to exploration; going through an area once may allow you to clear the area to progress further in the game, but additional power ups are almost always found on a second run though the terrain. Strider Hiryu keeps many of his staple abilities from the previous games like the climb sickle and his signature star jump.

Unlike many “Metroid-vanias”, Strider keeps his normal abilities from the start and only grows stronger from there. From the minute Strider touches the ground, you get a feel for his immense power as you mow down enemies with his Cypher, which is still accompanied with that ever satisfying “ching” sound. Later in the game, you quickly unlock the slide dash, Kunai, and eventually unlock Options A, B, and C, becoming even more powerful than you were from the start. Option A is a robot panther that runs across the map, and its damage grows with each enemy it runs into. This option also allows for the Panther Run ability, which helps to quickly traverse to other areas of the map. Option B is Strider’s classic satellite shield bots. These allow him to shoot projectiles across the screen and deflect incoming enemy missiles. Finally, Option C is a falcon that swoops in on enemies from the air and also flies Strider to locations around the map.

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The Panther Run ability in action, unfortunately this isn’t how Option A works in combat.

Like many Metroidvania games, Strider has many bosses and challenges that generally revolve around the new power up you’ve received. Almost every item and boost has a use, and many of Strider’s abilities are actually effective to use in normal combat. The controls are tight, and the inputs make sense, which makes it comfortable to navigate around the controller. The game didn’t over complicate things despite its new found abilities and mechanics, which made the action much more enjoyable.

Strider is played in a 2.5D perspective, keeping a very familiar 2D feel from the classic strider, but also embracing what modern day graphics have to offer. This allowed the artists to create new looks for many of the game’s familiar characters. Everyone, including Strider, received a graphical revamp; each character looks more futuristic and cybernetic when compared to Strider’s previous classic ninja garb. The levels had to have a major redesign since free roaming is now allowed, but it works well for the game. These redesigned levels have much more of a maze-like design, which adds more content for completionists, but it is still beatable in record times of an hour for speed runners.

The colors are bright and vibrant so players can easily recognize abilities or the types of enemies they’re facing. Since the plasma types can be switched on the fly it’s helpful to know which is used in any given situation. Enemies are affected by the plasma types differently, and with their distinct coloring, it’s easy to tell what plasma type they’re weak against. Whether orange for explosive, blue for cold, or red to deflect projectiles, the colors remind you how to counter each enemy you face without having to constantly pull you from gameplay.

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One of the many survival mode challenges that add additional play to Strider.

In Strider, there are plenty of unlockables for you to find, so if your sole purpose was to simply beat the game, your journey most likely wasn’t a 100% completion rating. For the completionists out there and players seeking more story, finding all the collectibles hidden throughout the game is going to take multiple playthroughs. With the story being no longer than a few hours, it’s very easy to jump right back into the action your second or third time. Whether its finding and unlocking every costume there is or getting all the concept art, there are plenty of extras lying about for players to find be found as rewards to the highly explorative player.

Also, Strider has Survival and Time Trial modes to fill the needs of competitive players. Players either race through altered challenge sections of the game for the best time or fight waves of enemies to see how quickly and effectively they can be dispatched. The leaderboards are all based on timed scores, so making repeated plays in the story mode gives something to compete for as well. Unfortunately the challenges are very simple and easy to beat; the lack of difficulty can make the Survival and Time Trials an easy run. The time trial stages are rather short and can be effortlessly beaten in under a minute, and with a lack of boss rush mode, there isn’t much of a challenge to the survival stages either. The survival stages are filled with regular enemies leaving you wanting more for your combat needs.

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A sub-boss that you’ll face in the game, but later is seen as a regular enemy. A testament to Strider becoming stronger as the game goes on.

Strider is certainly a welcome change of pace. After a near decade long hiatus, it’s good to see the world’s strongest ninja making a strong comeback. Although the game is quick to beat, there are plenty of extras to find for completionists. But, the lack of a boss rush mode or challenge can make this game more of a one shot than a repeater.

Strider‘s true strength is its action. It’s pacing will have you quickly navigating the game’s stages without a second thought, and the simplicity of the controls has you feeling like a Special-A class Strider in no time. Strider is great fun and a good homage to what we loved from the classic games, but it feels like there is more missing from this game that could really make it shine a little bit brighter.

Strider Review
Strider makes a strong impression right from the beginning, but its lack of difficulty and replayability keep it from making it even stronger.
Gameplay10
Replayability7
Exploration8
Difficulty7
8Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
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About The Author

Broadcast Team Lead

Alex enjoys long walks on the beach, mountain biking, and spending time in his extensive library reading novels from authors of yore. His hobbies include traveling the world putting small critters into ball shaped capsules, slaying Flying Wyverns, and mastering his wake-up Heavy Shoryuken!