Sky9 Games Preview: Strike Force Heroes

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Sky9 Games Preview: Strike Force Heroes

I have something rather special for you all today! This is slightly different from my usual coverage, but it’s something I hope you all enjoy.

First things first — updates. I’ve recently completed a four-month-long contract with Plarium Games. I was a Lore Editor for RAID: Shadow Legends — an interesting experience for certain. While I’m sad the contract ended, it was a great experience. It also means I’ll be more active in creating reviews and interviews, and with summer shaping up to be an incredibly busy time for gamers, that means more games for me!

A little bit of background story — I’ve been in talks with a lovely publisher by the name of Indieark. They’ve got a bunch of cool indie games under their wing, including Thriving City: Song, Havendock, Peglin, Terraformers, Backpack Hero, and Souls of White Star.

This brings me to today’s article. Sky9 Games have their upcoming title Strike Force Heroes scheduled for a launch on Steam later this year. While this is their debut title on the platform, they’ve been in business since 2012. What’s cool is that their Steam release is a complete remake of their original Strike Force Heroes series for Flash. With a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, this long-awaited remake approaches the finish line.

One of the biggest pitfalls in gaming was the loss of the Flash Game era — so much of my childhood was this! I even remember playing some Strike Force Heroes back in the day, although I never played the other titles in the trilogy. When Adobe announced that their Flash player was coming to a close in 2021, it killed that scene. While people have preserved this glorious scene, and some are playable to this day thanks to new software, it is not quite the same. I miss them.

While the demo will be available when this article goes live, they granted me early access to the preview build. The price for the game is currently undetermined, though you can check out the Steam Page here:

Sky9 Games have rebuilt Strike Force Heroes from the ground up for the modern gaming scene. The amount of work they have put into this is genuinely impressive, and it packs new features and plenty of changes. When developing this ambitious remake, they took inspiration from the Metal Slug’s level design and visuals, the class system and personality of Team Fortress 2, and the storytelling from the Metal Gear Series. The total number of changes for the remake is too long for one go, so here is a non-exhaustive list of these updates:

  • A rewritten campaign for the remake, featuring professional voice-acting, intelligent writing, and animated cutscenes. New, crazy boss battles have been added to the game!
  • The art design was rebuilt and detailed for 4K displays, along with physical objects in the environment and upgraded, dynamic lighting. Here’s what the original looks like compared to the new version:

  • Improved performance thanks to the Unity Engine.
  • The classes are more defined now, each character given their unique personality, abilities, and background. With a brand new loot system for hundreds of items and weapons, this improves replayability.
  • Co-Op and Multiplayer modes are available, including a new challenge system for dozens of unique missions for veteran players. The demo version also has these modes ready!

We’ve seen many remakes in the last couple of years. One of my favorites has to be the System Shock remake that launched a couple of weeks ago. After all the development drama, I’m so happy to see that team’s work pay off. After a few hours with Strike Force Zero’s upcoming launch on Steam, I can let you guys in on a comforting secret — this is a promising remake. With new co-op and multiplayer modes, tons of weapons for diverse load-outs, and plenty of unlocks like new weapons and difficulty settings, it’s shaping up to be a great game on launch day.

Of course, this is just a demo, so not everything was available yet. Work is needed with optimization, but that is what development is for. In the build I recently played, I couldn’t adjust key bindings, and gamepad support hasn’t been implemented yet. I would like to see more options to change graphical settings like shadows and textures.

The demo provides a pleasant, vertical slice of what to expect. Just booting up into the title screen got my blood pumping. The soundtrack from the original is back in force, and the graphics are vibrant. After taking my time through the gameplay and graphics settings, I checked out the campaign as well as a few challenges.

My first impressions are solid! I was introduced to some great animated cut scenes and the voice acting is superb! Playing as a plucky scientist, the player is trapped in his lab, under attack by edgy marines. The goal? Pretty easy — get out. Tutorials are the classic tutorials, teaching players how to move, attack, and jump, and I had no problem moving around with my mouse and keyboard controls. team Deck support should be on the cards for release. At launch, I’ll install it on the Steam Deck and try it there too.

As an arena shooter, combat is thick and fast. Deaths come quickly, and respawning is fortunately just as fast, so I was never left twiddling my thumbs waiting to return! After the tutorial, I was thrown into a brutal slugfest with dozens of enemies. While I was outnumbered at first, the rest of my squad came to my aid.

There are four classes to choose from, each with its strengths and abilities. From the bulky Tank to the lethal Sniper, the classes might not be unique, but they are well-designed. In the Heroes menu, players can customize their characters with the loot they’ve picked up during missions, and there’s a shop to purchase other equipment. All loot is with gold from missions — no micro-transactions here!

This game oozes charm, and the story campaign shows great promise. The team members banter with each other during the mission with hilarious dialogue. This is a fast-paced, combat-dominant game, so the story and dialogue probably did not need to be as enjoyable as it is. It is just extra gravy to go with the delicious roast dinner, and I’m enjoying every mouthful so far. I played the game solo — as I received early access, I had nobody to test co-op with. However, solo teammates played decently from my impressions. Both allies and enemies employ basic combat tactics, and I never felt like I had to carry my team to glory. You can switch freely between classes in battle after the next respawn, which is a bonus. I would like to see some control options to give orders to my team, but that’s just a nitpick.

I’m not very good at arena shooters. I’m not even a big fan of them, but my time with Strike Force Heroes was a pleasant one. As an early demo, there are things to address such as controller support and the ability to change keybinds. While I had no trouble with performance, I ran into a few frame drops during intense combat scenes. I ran Strike Force Heroes on a GTX 1060 Max-Q laptop, with an Intel 7850H processor and 32GB of ram. Not particularly powerful by today’s standards, but I don’t see people having problems running this for full release. I ran into no bugs, and I did not crash once, which is always a plus.

In conclusion, Strike Force Heroes is an enjoyable shooter revived for the modern age, and I can’t wait for the full release. For fans of the original version, I believe they will be satisfied with this remake. In the meantime, enjoy the demo!

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TheThousandScarAuthor/Blogger/Cartographer/Streamer/Narrative Game Writer/I play far too many games. |

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