Fast Striker is an arcade top-down shoot ‘em up available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4 and PS Vita, while there is also a retail release available in limited quantities individually on PS4 and PS Vita. Fast Striker has rather surprising origins as it actually originally released on the Neo Geo in the third quarter of 2010 and Dreamcast on December 21st 2010 before being ported to iOS on March 27th 2011. Can Fast Striker deliver a fresh and exciting experience within the arcade top-down shoot ‘em up genre?
There are four game modes including Novice, Original, Maniac and Omake that all feature similarities and differences in equal measure such as a similar pattern of enemies that seem to move a little differently in some areas, fire alternative weapons and your ship’s varying weaponry from mode to mode, alongside some changes in graphics and audio.
Ship design looks and pilots as would be anticipated from a futuristic spaceship, while the weaponry gradually changes and evolves within each stage. Enemy design has quite a fair amount of variety as enemy ships come in all shapes and sizes with over 40 unique enemies including smaller, faster enemies that fire their weapons towards your ship or in multiple directions to make it rather hard to move your way around the enemies without being hit. However, there are much wider and larger enemies as the player’s ship will have to defeat a huge enemy boss at the end of each stage.
Environment design particularly involves futuristic machinery and outer space scenery amongst stars and planets. There are actually some enemies that become a crucial part of the environment design such as the enemies that fire powerful lasers to form laser grids that the player’s ship must successfully navigate or lose a life within the ship’s credit throughout the course of the third stage.
Fast Striker supports cross-buy between the PS4 and Vita, although it unfortunately does not support cross-save, so you will not be able to continue from your previous progression on the Vita version when playing the PS4 version and vice versa. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing the PS4 and Vita versions of the game with just a single purchase.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the Vita and DualShock 4 controller as both versions have a comfortable control scheme consisting of pressing X to shoot your ship’s weapon ahead of your ship; pressing square to shoot from the rear of your ship; pressing O to perform a strike shield; and changing the direction of the left analogue stick or alternatively pressing up, down, left or right to manoeuvre your ship around enemies. The control scheme is fully customisable on Vita and the DualShock 4 controller as the player can adjust the button for shooting forward or backward and using the strike shield or even choosing an alternative button such as pressing a shoulder button instead of the default control scheme. However, there is no touch screen control scheme on Vita or touch pad implementation on the DualShock 4 controller that could have provided alternatives to firing at enemies, using the shield strike or manoeuvring your ship around enemies. There is no light bar support on the DualShock 4 controller that could have reflected your ship’s colour or the colour of your weapon as it is being fired at enemy ships, while there is no vibration that could have been implemented when the player’s ship had been hit by an enemy ship or when the player’s ship had been destroyed to signal that a credit would have to be used to continue gameplay.
Graphically, Fast Striker is reminiscent to that of classic retro arcade shoot ‘em ups with quality ship, enemy ship and environment design, alongside a consistently fast paced frame-rate on both Vita and PS4. There are borders on the left and right of the screen with an optional border at the top and bottom of the screen as the screen can be expanded by turning on the option for full vertical scale, although the borders to the left and right of the screen remain for a retro styled 4:3 aspect ratio. Meanwhile, the player also has a choice of optional scanlines and five wallpaper designs related to the subject matter of the gameplay, a black wallpaper with no design and the publisher’s logo for the backdrop to the gameplay area.
Fast Striker’s presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, game mode menus, options menu, local hi-score leaderboards and gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons on Vita and DualShock 4, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick and touch screen or touch pad between Vita and DualShock 4. Menu backgrounds include artwork from the wallpaper backdrops, while the mode select menu has a panning camera that rotates so quickly it can actually become a little nauseating.
Voice-overs include a female voice-over to emphasise when an enemy boss appears on screen in each mode, while a specific mode will also mention when a shield has been collected and when your score chain has ended. Sound effects include your ship firing weaponry at enemies, using the strike shield, enemies firing at your ship, explosions when enemies have been destroyed and when your ship has been destroyed by enemies; complimented by a pulsating soundtrack. There is no DualShock 4 speaker support that could have produced a range of sound effects, music or voice-overs.
The trophy list includes 21 trophies with 6 bronze trophies, 5 silver trophies, 9 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include two bronze trophies for completing the first two stages and two silver trophies for defeating the first two enemy bosses. Harder trophies include the 1CC gold trophy for completing the game with one credit and the True Last Boss gold trophy for defeating the True Last Boss. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 10 to 15 hours to platinum the trophy list.
Fast Striker is rather hard to master in each of the four game modes as almost every inch of the environment is occupied by an enemy ship or what they have fired at the player’s ship; therefore making collecting shields or strategically utilising the shield strike an essential gameplay mechanic in every stage, while only having four credits makes it extremely difficult to complete any game mode in a single playthrough.
Unusually for an arcade shoot ‘em up; Fast Striker is not local multiplayer that could have been local co-operative and competitive in the sense of two to four players looking to score the most points per stage. Meanwhile, a further form of local competitive multiplayer would have seen a player controlling the enemy ships to make it as hard as possible for the player to progress through each stage.
Fast Striker’s replayability stems from four game modes and local hi-score leaderboards, alongside the ability to play on Vita or PS4 due to cross-buy. However, Fast Striker would have been better not just in replay value, but also in gameplay if it had a few more stages and included local co-operative and competitive multiplayer.
• Title: Fast Striker
• Developer: NG Dev Team
• Publisher: EastAsiaSoft
• System: PS4/PS Vita
• Format: PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: Yes (PS4 and PS Vita)
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1 (PS4 and PS Vita)
• PS4 Hard Drive Space Required: 128.3MB (Version 1.01)
• PS Vita Memory Card Space Required: 100MB (Version 1.01)