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Game Info:

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance
Developed by: Brainshape Games
Published by: BA Productions LLC
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Available on: PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Twin-stick Shooter
Number of Players: Up to four
ESRB Rating: Not rated
Price: $4.99 PC, $ 0.99 on Xbox 360
Price: $4.99

Thank you Brain Shape Games for sending us a review code!

In the future, mankind discovers and harnesses the power of dark matter.  As they explore and colonize the galaxy, they come to realize that they are alone after a couple of centuries of failed communication attempts.  Then out of the blue, they are aggressively attacked by an alien race known as the Constituents of Nothing.  Since this alien race uses dark matter technology as well, mankind's weapons were useless against them.  That is until humans discovered anti-dark matter particles.  This blue-energy is humankind's last hope against this alien threat.  

There are thirty-six story missions that span across nine planets.  Well, technically eight since Pluto isn't considered a planet anymore.  In fact, the Steam achievement for completing all of the Pluto missions is "Not a planet."  The story missions can be played solo or with up to four players locally.  Having people to play with is highly recommend since the missions get really tough towards the end.  Some of the missions will have an AI unit assist you, but most of them don't.  Most of the time you'll be protecting AI ships instead of working with them.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Inexpensive; upgradeable ships
Weak Points: Subpar graphics and difficult to complete the storyline solo
Moral Warnings: Combat violence and language

If you're not escorting or defending an ally's ship, chances are you're defending a generator or two instead.  The generators are crucial for converting scrap metal into usable resources.  The scrap metal can be used to upgrade various attributes of the four different ship classes.  I went with the balanced class ship, The Euphrates.  There is also the Rio speed class ship, the Volga assault class, and the Potomac support class. Most ships have a limited number of missiles and turrets, but some ships have mines and the ability to heal allies.  

In total, there are nine upgradeable ship options.  Each additional upgrade costs more scrap than the previous tier.  You can upgrade the number of turrets, missiles, and increase other attributes including armor, top speed, maneuverability, acceleration, firing speed, and bullet power.  The upgrades help, but fighting the medium and heavy class enemy ships goes a lot smoother when you have a partner fighting alongside of you.   

The controls are pretty straightforward and the PC version of the game supports keyboard and gamepads.  I used my Xbox 360 controller and it worked flawlessly.  The left analog stick moves the ship while the right analog stick fires the bullets in the direction its pointing.  Deploying turrets or mines is done by pressing the Y button and firing a missile is accomplished by using the B button.  

SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 70%
Gameplay - 13/20
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 82%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 7/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Graphically SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance is pretty basic.  The space ships all appear to be flat and the bullets, bombs, and missiles are all pretty simple with minimal special effects.  The characters in the game are cartoon like and the space atmosphere is pretty simplistic.  

The audio is pretty barebones as well.  There is no voice acting, but the sound effects are passable. The dialogue can be a little colorful with a character  threatening to kick my *ss twice if I failed in protecting them.  The soundtrack is decent and available for purchase for $0.99 on Steam if you got the game by itself.  Alternatively, the soundtrack edition of the game sells for $5.99.

While SCHAR: Blue Shield Alliance is rough around the edges, there is some fun to be had in this title.  Especially if you have people to play with.  Xbox 360 owners may want to consider picking this title up for $0.99 while the Xbox Arcade is still around.  For Steam users, I recommend picking this game up if you see it on sale.

 

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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