Writing about games is particularly pleasant because it forces you to discover little-known gems. Games previously overlooked now become the focal point of an in-depth analysis which adds to the appreciation of the task at hand.

SYSCRUSHER is one of those gems, punctuated by lo-fi cyberpunk visuals without any reservations or ego, a style complemented by primitive synths, artificial voices, and diode-lined hallways. It comes from the mind of Maine Indie Developer Dirigo Games (@Dirigo_Games), A developer previously known for Minotaur-’em-up Depths of Fear :: Knossos.

The game presents itself with a difficulty curve that is neither hand-holdy nor oppressive. Head shots and weak points are nothing new to games, but the tongue-in-cheek art style just makes it feel so much better. The game throws small groups of hit-scan hostiles at you, exactly the right amount of larger enemies pacing the experience wonderfully. A graceful checkpoint system challenges you to stay on your toes as you master the flow of gameplay, but keeps the fatigue of repeating segments to a minimum.

With streamlined visuals and gameplay, SYSCRUSHER maintains a finely-tuned feel on every level.

*chainchomp wav files*

Speaking of scenery, right away the game starts with a fun opening sequence; you’re deposited via hovercraft onto a skyscraper resembling a vertical mainframe, the endearingly comical design played up for flavour. Frowning red LCD “faces” and little cyber-dogs with holographic jaws immediately set a playful tone. With your trusty laser pistol, and later, additional weapons, you take on the monolith and the swarms it contains.

Do yourself a favor, and give it a shot.

Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice