The key factor of Strider is mobility. Strider is a ninja … robot … guy, and he has full control of his body. He can control the trajectory of his jumps in mid-air, cling to surfaces and eventually zip forward in any direction. Double Helix’s new take on the character opts for the “Metroidvania” style over arcade action, and makes full use of the abilities it gives him to make a compelling, if a little bland adventure.
Strider handles like a dream. It runs at 60 fps (with one bizarre exception: the game lagged like crazy until I restarted it after trying Remote Play) and Strider responds to button presses in an instant. It’s necessary that the game performs flawlessly, since many of the jumping puzzles require strict timing and enemies attack relentlessly. Strider is sometimes a little too responsive, so avoiding every bullet can be difficult. Luckily, at least on normal, Strider is generally pretty resilient. Some attacks cause knockback, but you can usually just run through bullets with little consequence. Enemies also drop health when defeated, and plenty of health pickups are available.
The game really only ramps up in difficulty when you fight a boss. Bosses are a breath of fresh air as they tend to drastically shift the mechanics, and also have a bit more thought put into their design than the usual enemies and environments. The bosses are beatable, but if you want to win with any degree of finesse, you really need to have an understanding of the mechanics.
As the game progresses you gain more powers, and mastering your array of tools quickly becomes a matter of memorizing your options and being able to make your fingers dance across the buttons when you need them to. Plenty of stumbling happens along the way, but Strider ultimately succeeds in going easy on the player while simultaneously encouraging them to improve.
There isn’t much to Strider, but it is very fun while it lasts. The large, gated world is well-designed, but it along with the enemies are bland. However, it is mechanically flawless and does well to ease players in and facilitate improvement. Strider really shines in its boss encounters, but the real joy lies in simply finding your way around.