At PSX 2017 there were a handful of games that truly stood out and shined brightly compared to the other games at the show, A Duel Hand Disaster: TrackHer was one of those games. Developed by one man army, Jaycee Salinas, Trackher is a mind-bending twin-stick shooter that has players controlling two characters at the same time. Hit the jump to read on!
In 2017, a post from a notable development studio that all but specialized in arcade style games declared that the arcade genre was dead. Ask an Enemy Studios aims to change that with its mind-bending first title A Duel Hand Disaster: TrackHer. Although the game is out now in early access on PC, TrackHer is best played on a gamepad.
Most twin-stick arcade shooters have relatively simple mechanics which usually has you moving your character around with one stick while aiming and shooting with the other stick. TrackHer takes that idea, and smartly turns it on its head.
On the left side of the screen you have one goal, defend your partner at all costs. On the right side of the screen you’re constantly in danger, but it’s the only way to gather precious resources.
Using the left stick on the left side of the screen, you control your defender ship. This ship can only move from side to side but can shoot in a straight line in front of it. Luckily, the enemies all move in a straight line as well, but they just keep coming, never stopping. Even if you destroy hundreds of enemies, the others won’t stop coming. As you destroy more and more ships, the higher your score goes and the more power-ups will drop for you. You can reel them in faster with a tractor beam, but you have to stay lined up with it or it’ll just pass you by. Over time you’ll become more and more powerful as enemies appear more frequently, and eventually they’ll run right into you. But once again, you’re in luck, your ship is completely invulnerable. The only problem is, the ship on the right side of the screen is not.
The right side of the screen is where all hell breaks loose. Just about everything here wants to kill you, and you can’t really defend yourself. Using the right stick, you control the far more mobile recovery ship. As this ship you have to dodge hazards as you move about a 3D plane while collecting resources that act as both your score multiplier and a currency. The recovery ship has access to a boost ability that’ll let you quickly dart around the arena as you collect resources. But, since you don’t have any weapons you have to be agile enough to dodge everything that comes your way until you can get to a resource. While you’re over a resource you are invulnerable to all damage until that resource is recovered. If something hits you at the exact instant you finish recovering a resource, you will take damage.
On their own, both tasks are fairly simple. So the real challenge of TrackHer comes from the fact that you have to pay attention to both the left and the right screens at the same time while controlling both ships at the same time. If you let an enemy get past you on the left screen, they will appear on the right screen and chase down your recovery ship until they are destroyed by another hazard or they collide into you. And that’s not even the worst of it. As you play you’ll encounter random modifiers that’ll more than likely be detrimental to you but will offer higher and higher multipliers for your score. And if that’s not enough, there’s three stages (tears, pronounced “tiers”) of difficulties, each more brutal and modifier prone than the last.
Once you collect enough resources, you can either choose to extract (exit the level) or continue playing and run your score up higher. But if you do decide to exit the level, you are given the option to enter a higher tear level, or hop right back into the same tear lever you were just in. Now, it would just be boring if that’s all you could do, so TrackHer lets you wager your score when you enter a new tear, but doing so also increases the modifiers. I could be forgetting some things but all of this happens in the span of about 10 minutes so the action is quick and almost non-stop.
If you cannot wait for this game to be released on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch sometime this year, A Duel Hand Disaster: TrackHer is out now for PC in Steam Early Access.
Arcade is not dead.