This is a free-scrolling 2D shooter. Unlike most shmups, you're free to turn around to destroy your enemies behind you as well as terminate anything that would dare attempt a frontal assault. It's kinda like Defender, except levels don't wrap-around. In fact if you hit either end of the level you'll bounce away like you were hit by a galactic tennis racquet.
The story is about aliens or pirates or hot babes or I can't remember. Basically it's an excuse to have six stages of blastemup action. You're given a choice between four ships, each with their strengths and weaknesses. Each ships has its own special weapon that does great damage while putting up a temporary shield. Unlike most other shooters, the federation gave you an actual armored ship. In short, you don't die in a single hit, unless you crash into something, or play on the "pure" difficulty which all but removes armor.
The campaign has a decent amount of variety to it. First stage is the bog-standard destroy everything, second is an escort mission (ewww), third you're expected to survive for several minutes. By the 4th stage you're fighting off a pirate armada, 5th has you taking on alien battleships, and finally the last stage you're trying to outrun a storm to destroy a...thing. I think this thing is dangerous to the human race so yeah, definitely blow it up.
There are three survival stages as well. First one can get pretty difficult, you're most likely going to die in 6 to 10 minutes. The second one you have to race through a passage of ice to destroy another thing. I don't get along well with 3D walls in shmups, I tend to do a lot of crashing. I don't know what the deal is with the third survival stage. It's wave-based, but nothing happens after I blow up the juggernaut, no more enemies appear or anything.
The score is mostly influenced by the difficulty. The harder the setting, the better the score. There are a bunch of medals that are awarded for performing certain tasks (dodging a lot of bullets, getting combos, etc) so look out for those as well.
There's not much else to say about this game really. It's not bad, though I think the player weapons are a little underpowered. This is especially apparent in survival stage 1, where it can get overwhelming simply because it takes too long to destroy the boss ships. Also when you lose a life, your ship doesn't really explode and disappear or anything. Perhaps the next ship could fly in from the foreground. Half the time it looks like I just took damage, but now I'm down a life. It's an odd feeling. I'd rather have a brief moment to realize "Yup...I died. I better not suck as much next time." like every other shooter. Also in the third stage, enemy bullets can get lost in the sunny background. This has never caused me to die, but I'll wager it happened to somebody.
And uh...that's it. No really, I've stretched myself thin as it is. Syder Arcade is a decent enough game. It's nothing fantastic, but it checks all my boxes.