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Review: Gley Lancer

Publisher: Ratalaika Games

Developer: NCS

Release: October 15th, 2021

Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch

Also on: PlayStation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X and Series S,

The 90s was home to many great side-scrolling shmups, and Gley Lancer is no exception. With it’s addictive gameplay, anime inspired art, catchy music and compelling story, Gley Lancer is a game worth playing. And priced at $7, this game’s a steal. If you are a fan of side scrolling shmups, Gley Lancer should be in your library.

Gley Lancer is unique in the fact that it has a narrative and an interesting one at that. The game takes place in the not so distant future of 2025. Earth has been at war with an alien race, and the game opens with a space battle between the aliens and the Earth Federation. During the battle, one of the battleships is taken hostage, being teleported away. You are introduced to the protagonist, a 16 year old ensign named Lucia, whose father was the captain of the battleship. With the help of her friend, Lucia steals the prototype fighter, the Gley Lancer, and sets out to find her father.

The game is a side-scrolling shooter, similar to that of Gradius or Life Force. You pick up different weapons by shooting containers that hold the weapons. Picking up a weapon will give you an additional “side kick” turret; you can have up to two turrets at once. You can control how the turrets will fire, with some options like reverse or search. You’re able to change the different options during gameplay, so you can find which option fits your style of play. The game also boasts a wide range of weapons, from twin shots, to lasers, to bouncing bullets. If there’s one complaint in this area, it’s that you can’t tell what the weapon is before you pick it up; picking up a new weapon type will automatically switch you to that weapon.

Gley Lancer isn’t an easy game, one hit and you are done. What makes it even more difficult, is that sometimes, some of the obstacles or bullets blend into the background. The game is gorgeous, but it does make for some frustrating moments when you collide with debris you didn’t see because it looked a lot like the asteroids in the background. The game also starts you on hard mode. I’m not sure if the developers intended for you to play on the hard level, but you do have the ability to change that in the settings, prior to starting the game. And you do have the ability to save your game, which is a nice addition.

The other standout feature of Gley Lancer is the music. Each stage has a unique track and the music is well done and it pairs nicely with the action that is going on in the game. The game also includes some “voice overs” which for the time was probably unique, but by today’s standards, it sounds robotic. But the voice overs are few and far between, mainly to let you know that there is a boss approaching.

The boss artwork is stellar. If you are a fan of the 90s era pixel art and the bosses that are associated with that timeframe, you’ll love the artwork of these bosses. They are bigger than life and detailed. Each boss is different, so you aren’t fighting the same looking boss over and over.

Final Grade: A

Gley Lancer is the epitome of what a good side-scrolling shmup should be. It’s beautiful artwork, interesting story, fun gameplay, and catchy music makes Gley Lancer a must have for fans of shmups. And priced at only $7, chances are you might have enough gold coins to pick this one up without spending a dime.

Review code provided by PR Hound.

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