If you're a fan of retro spaceship shooters like R-Type, then Syder Arcade should definitely pique your interest. It offers up much of that same side-scrolling, laser-dodging action, but also throws in a multidirectional twist. The graphics are impressive, and even with dozens of ships engaged in battle onscreen, the game didn't slow down.
Syder Arcade has two different game modes: Campaign and Survival. Campaign is the primary game mode with a storyline and narrative cut scenes. It has six different levels, and even in the easiest game mode, they can be very difficult. So, even if you consider yourself adept at these types of shooters, don't expect Syder to be a walk in the park. Meanwhile, Survival mode plops you in the middle of enemy onslaughts and asks you to simply stay alive for as long as you can. The concept of this mode is pretty straightforward.
When you start your game, you get to choose from three different starships, each having its own unique set of weapons and attributes. It's always nice when games like this offer a choice of vehicle, but I found Syder's three-ship selection to be underwhelming. It would be nice if the game offered unlockable ships or perhaps upgradable attributes, but it doesn't.
When it comes to actual gameplay, Syder is impressive. The controls are smooth, and the addition of subtle gravitational pulls against your ship adds an element of realism (not that I know what it feels like to steer a real starship). The virtual directional pad on the left is adequately sensitive and the Special Weapon and Flip buttons are comfortably placed.