Horizon Shift ’81
Developed By : Flump Studios
Published By : Funbox Media
Category : Arcade, Action
Release Date : Dec 20, 2018
Horizon Shift ’81 on the Nintendo Switch takes an old, classic arcade style game, and spins it to kick your brain and thumbs into overdrive. This single-screen, wave shooter exhibits moments of a bullet-hell type game, while capturing the feeling of an old Space Invaders session.
That old school feeling will blossom right up as soon as you start a new game, except one thing will definitely be off. The ship you control starts in the middle of the screen, instead of at the bottom. You’ll be fixed along a line, or horizon, with waves of baddies flying in trying to attack your horizon from above and below. To survive, you’ll need to defend both sides of your horizon by shooting in both directions.
Enemies come in a bunch of different shapes and sizes, from asteroids to ships, both big and small. The asteroids will sail straight for the horizon, and if they’re not stopped, they’ll plow right through and leave a gap for a few seconds. As for the ships, some will hover back farther away and shoot at you, while others will go right for the horizon and and slide along it, taking up some of your crucial space.
So, what can you do? Your ship fires a normal attack round, as well as a more powerful missile-like attack. You can also jump, which comes in handy when you need to grab one of the many power-ups that will float by, but we’ll talk about those shortly. Lastly, while situated on the horizon, you can perform a side-dodge move in either direction. This is the perfect move for those enemies that land on your horizon, since you can sweep multipler of them off in one slide.
Power-ups take your ship, and improve (or hinder, depending on how you feel) your ship. These include different styled shots for your base attack, ranging from a super fast machine gun shot, to a shotgun-spread blast, to gigantic single rounds that can eliminate larger ships with a single blow. There’s also power-ups that can boost your shield, or improve your dash to a double dash, since the generic one needs a few moments to recharge between uses.
All this together makes for a pretty great experience. Gameplay takes you right back to the arcade days of surviving as many waves as you can on one set of lives. Every five waves, the horizon will drop down to the bottom of the screen and you’ll deal with a boss fight which is where the bullet-hell feel comes in.
If you’re a fan of the old school arcade games, then Horizon Shift ’81 is a perfect game for you, and absolutely deserves a spot in your library. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and it does a beautiful job of carrying the old visuals with the smoothness of today’s games. And, if you’re a lucky Switch owner who just so happens to own a Flip Grip (sadly I do not), you can rotate the display of the game and make everything much larger to play. Don’t own a Flip Grip? Just find a way to mount or prop your Switch screen vertically and you can enjoy the same visuals!