For me, the “side-scrolling spaceship shooter” is a game genre that invokes an ambiguous response.
In one hand it offers addictive simplicity and nostalgia. In the other an absolute lack of narrative and gameplay conventions so well entrenched that it is almost impossible to distinguish any two examples of the genre from one another… also often little room for developing a strategy beyond mashing the attack button.
While obviously “retro” in many respects, Procyon is not a slavish tribute to early scrolling shooter games. Rather, the conventions have been bent for the players benefit.
The various modes and three tier difficulty setting allows the player as much, or as little, challenge as they desire. A ‘Practice Mode’, for example, allows a level to be played with unlimited lives, although this does not unlock the next level.
The graphics are also nice and 3D looking rather than “ironically” pixelated.
Lots of explosions and a large variety of alien spacecraft, all with different flight patterns and attacks.
The controls are simple and intuitive and the spaceship is highly mobile allowing you to dodge enemy attacks and move quickly around all over the screen. The weapon/shielding compromise system also gives you something to think about as expending your energy on supercharging your weapons leaves you unable to deflect attacks. Different enemies are also more or less vulnerable to the players two (or three if you count the lightening) weapons, so button mashing is not rewarded, “use ya noggin”.
What I particularly enjoyed were the cut scenes establishing a satire narrative between the levels.
It’s a short game (5 levels only), but it’s highly replay-able and considering that it only costs $3.00 or something its very good value for money.