Sentry City

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Sentry City (Nintendo Switch) – Review

Published by Flynns Arcade and developed by Crashable Studios, Sentry City is a cyberpunk-themed, 2D platforming, shoot ’em-up indie game that encourages speedrunning. It was originally released on PC and Android devices in 2022, and it’s now available on Nintendo Switch.

The unnamed protagonist must traverse the city, blasting his way through enemy cyborgs, drones, and more, and then destroying the AI brain in each sector and taking down robot bosses to uncover who is behind the city’s AI disruption.

From the get-go, players will notice that things are kept very simple, letting you get straight into the game. At first glance, it appears to be a simple 2D sidescroller with 8-bit pixelated graphics and simple controls, but succeeding in the game is anything but simple. It is part trial and error, part reaction-time based, and part puzzle. Each section and level is uniquely designed without being repetitive, but of course, it gets increasingly difficult as players progress.

Players will find themselves constantly falling to their deaths or being shot dead. Adding to the challenge is that players will be very limited compared to the enemies, putting them at a major disadvantage.

Armed with only a pistol, and absolutely no weapon upgrades available, anywhere, at all, throughout the entire game, players will have to be very strategic in taking down their enemies as they make their way to the end without falling.

The platforming is also very unforgiving, so players will have to be incredibly precise with every jump to make sure they land on the next platform, and almost every long jump is just within reach, but only if timed correctly.

If that wasn’t hard enough, the player can only shoot straight ahead, whereas enemies can aim their shots in any direction and they always aim at the protagonist when he’s spotted. Drones can attack from above, so not being able to aim at them also adds to the difficulty, and while enemies can take more than one shot before being put down, the protagonist will die from a single shot. Having to strategise avoiding enemy attacks while also platforming only just adds to the overall difficulty. The boss battles are also no walk in the park and will really put players through their paces.

All of that may not sound appealing, but the unforgiving and punishing difficulty is actually part of the game’s appeal. It may not be ideal for a casual gamer, but for those who are seeking a big challenge, having to memorise all the hazards up ahead, land on platforms with absolute precision, and being encouraged to speedrun, this is the game for you.

With about 16 stages available, each with a rating based on how quickly you finished. The three ratings are signified with arrows, much like star ratings. One arrow means slow, two is medium, and three is fast, so it offers plenty of replay value to get the fastest time possible.

Balancing out the difficulty, players will have infinite lives, and if they die, they will instantly restart from the beginning or last checkpoint without any loading at all. It also helps that enemies can actually damage and even kill each other, so players can definitely use this to their advantage as they attempt the stage again.

The hand-drawn 8-bit pixelated graphics really give it a retro-looking art style, and the futuristic cyberpunk theme fits in really well, both during gameplay, which runs at 60fps, and in the intro and outro cutscenes. Even the little details like rain, lighting, flash effects, and the environments add so much to the overall presentation, even in 8-bit graphics. The retro synth-wave/electronic soundtrack perfectly compliments the game’s art style too.

Sentry City may not be casual or beginner-friendly, but that’s not what it’s aiming to be. It’s a perfect example of less is more. With all the hardcore gamers, retro fans, and speedrunners out there, Sentry City is a great title to add to the list.

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The Good

  • Challenging and unforgiving gameplay
  • Encourages speedrunning with lots or replayability
  • Infinite lives with instant restarts
  • Cyberpunk art style in 8-bit pixelated graphics
  • Retro synth-wave/electronic music

The Bad

  • Not beginner or casual friendly

Written by: Sammy Hanson


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