#DiscoverIndies is an initiative started by @IndieGamerChick, with the purpose of helping spread awareness of under-the-radar indie games, something we at IndieHangover can totally get behind. This will be a reoccuring event, happening on the first Friday of every month, and to participate you just need to purchase a single indie game that you have never heard of before, any platform, any genre, or any price. Play the game and report back on how much (you enjoyed it on social media using the hashtag #DiscoverIndies. More info here.
For the first #DiscoverIndies Friday, I wanted to add another challenge to my hunt and find something local. I’m based in Maine, which doesn’t have a massive indie game development scene, so finding an indie game I hadn’t heard of could have been hard.
I’d heard of Dirigo Games before, and had played STOWAWAY before (great cosmic horror game with a really interesting visual style btw.). What I hadn’t heard of was Dirigo Game’s newest title, SYSCRUSHER, a neon-tinted shooter bathed in synth and retro visuals.
SYSCRUSHER puts you in the role of Syscrusher, a nefarious synthwave hero straight out of 80’s Cyperpunk. You start the game landing your hover car on an ADMIN Tower, answering a job from FORMAT to bring “a human touch to a corrupt system”. You start with only a laser pistol, but you’ll soon have a small arsenal of weapons at your disposal to shoot your way through the many robot guardians between you and the core you’ve got to shut down.
Controls are simple and work wonderfully well: WASD moves and mouse shoots, and you have a pool of concentration that you can use to slow time to get off those perfect head shots from time to time. I played the 1.06 version of the game and didn’t run into any bugs or issues.
One of SYSCRUSHER’s stand out elements is it’s visual style. Every neon colored inch of the game is dripping with nostalgia for the 80’s and I love every second of it. The guns, vehicles and environments are all as boxy as old Commodores or Spectrums, and the enemy lasers almost lazily flash across the screen,taking their sweet time to come at you. The robot enemy’s are actually quite charming, with angry red frowny faces glaring at you from the other side of each firefight.
If the visuals in SYSCRUSHER are good, the sound design is even better. every laser beam, explosion, and combo notification sounds exactly like you’d want it to. Multiple times I found myself grinning at the nostaligic tones, be they from my success, or related to my failures.
And let’s not miss talking about the AMAZING Soundtrack.Maybe I’m just a sucker for synth, but the electronic music fits the theme and tone of the game perfectly. It always seems to be pounding along at a brisk pace, melding perfectly with your running and gunning.
The only major criticism I can levy against SYSCRUSHER is that I want far more of it. It is a relatively short experience, and will probably take you around 30 minutes to complete, but that means the game doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. It’s paced well for it’s length, and I suppose it’s a pretty fantastic problem to have if a player is left wanting more!