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Sniper Ships: Shoot’em Up on Rails Review

Official Score

Overall - 75%


Using a mouse with a shmup sounds like it wouldn’t work, but Sniper Ships: Shoot'em Up on Rails' unorthodox control scheme manages to be its strong suit. Although the cluttered graphics prove to be a handicap, this title hits all the right notes for the genre.

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Shoot ‘em ups typically follow the time-honored tradition of spray and pray, but Sensen Games gives players a bit more control with their new title Sniper Ships: Shoot’em Up on Rails. Targeting enemies with pinpoint precision certainly changes the formula up, but is this change an improvement?

Sniper Ships: Shoot’em Up on Rails Review

At first glance, this vertical shmup looks like the rest of them. A number of foes are dead-set on taking you down, and it’s up to you and your tiny little ship to dodge said threats and take them down first. With a bevvy of bullets coming at the player at any given time, players must be mindful of their positioning while bringing the heat.

However, Sniper Ships gives players some heavy weaponry with the use of its sniping ability. Players can still fire an endless stream of bullets, sure, but lining up enemies with the mouse and clicking does away with most threats before too long. With movement mapped to WASD, this unusual setup works far better than it has any right to. While it does admittedly take some adjustment, those weaned on first person shooters will get the hang of it before too long. Either way, those looking to get through all three waves and finish before time runs out best learn how to use this functionality.

Each wave in this title follows a similar structure, complete with a steady stream of enemies that culminates in a boss fight. These sections are a bit by the books with telegraphed movements and a lack of background detail, but they still manage to be inoffensive.

Rather, it’s the presentation that proves to be both a blessing and a curse. While it’s great that the neon-drenched world of Sniper Ships stands out, it also makes it hard to see what’s going on at any given time. Enemies explode in a dazzling array, and your fire can quickly blend in with the fire of your foes. While it’s nice that you can shoot down bullets, the sheer amount of junk that is thrown at players makes it hard to process it all.

Thankfully the title is pretty lenient when it comes to damage – players are given a shield that can withstand three hits. Completing the title won’t take too long, meaning that the difficulty curve of this one is right on the money.

Outside of the main game, players can gun for a chance to put their name on the leaderboards. There’s also the chance to earn achievements for reaching point thresholds, not losing your shields, and finishing each wave.

Using a mouse with a shmup sounds like it wouldn’t work, but Sniper Ships: Shoot’em Up on Rails’ unorthodox control scheme manages to be its strong suit. Although the cluttered graphics prove to be a handicap, this title hits all the right notes for the genre.

This review of Sniper Ships: Shoot’em Up on Rails was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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