Pilot Crusader – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Top down bullet hell
Developer: RadLabGaming
Publisher: Black Shell Media
Available on: PC
Tested on: PC

Pilot Crusader – Review

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Good: Easy to master controls
Bad: The different ships don't feel like rewards
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What happens when you are piloting a spaceship into unknown territory? If you are wondering this… Then you might want to try out Pilot Crusader. The game was developed by RadLabGaming and is part shoot ‘em up, part bullet hell. Steer your vessel clear of the lasers coming your way and make sure the enemy doesn’t have the chance to evade your gunfire.



If you are hoping for a thrilling space epic, then you are bound to be sorely disappointed because there is no narrative or background story. There is no news on the mental state of the pilot who’s in control of the spaceship or why exactly the opposition is firing at you. Sure, the developers can get away with: ‘Hey, they’re aliens, it’s in their nature to hate human life.’ but it makes the game feel lackluster. They could do with a whacky background story to go with the vivid colour scheme. Anything would have been better than the current lack of story.


Pilot Crusader has a cartoonish vibe to it. It doesn’t have full 3D models, but relies an old school aesthetic. What is strange is that the game goes full screen, but only lets you play on a sort of windowed mode, with the borders around them being black. This serves a purpose, as it clears your screen and helps you focus, but what’s so strange about it is that the edges don’t necessarily mean that it’s the edge of the playing field.The upper border is far higher than your screen permits you and there is no way in the option menu to fix this.Pilot_Crusader_01A game like this could do with a bigger playing field, as manoeuvring between vessels and the gunfire can become a bit of ‘hit and miss’. Explosions obscure the vessels you are currently shooting and knowing when a vessel is really out for the count or just taking damage is difficult to see as you can only tell when the smoke has settled and by then the enemy might have already suicide bombed you. So maybe a different kind of explosion to help distinguish finished enemies from the very lethal and alive ones would be nice.


What can be said about the sound is that though it’s repetitive, the soundtrack is not something that easily gets on your nerves. It’s high pitched and really keeps you on your toes. It’s not jarring and it doesn’t distract you. Games like these rely on the fact that you have to focus to be able to weave through the vast amount of bullets and enemy ships on the screen. Every time a level starts, a deep booming voice will say: ‘Engaging’. It’s something that will give you a heads up and is different from just a ‘go’ signal. It really makes you feel like you are engaged in a battle to the death.


Learning the ropes of Pilot Crusader is very easy. The top down bullet hell shoot em up doesn’t encumber you with a difficult control scheme. Left clicking or holding down the left mouse button fires the main cannon and when you’ve dealt enough damage to the enemies, you’ll unlock a nuke. This weapon can be deployed and detonated by right clicking. You can’t really aim the nuke, but the damage is wide spread and often clears the field of minor threats while doing massive damage to the motherships. The motherships will bother you every third wave and they’ll behave a little different from the normal run of the mill enemies.Pilot_Crusader_03

Their arsenal is far bigger and they’ll easily fill the screen with bullets, something a lesser enemy would struggle to do. They’ll also give you a heads up when they are about to fire their main cannon. A giant bullseye will appear where you last were, and it’s up to you to make sure you aren’t near the place or in the path of this bigger projectile, because doing so will get you killed. Every single shot is a ‘one hit one kill’ kind of deal, so you’ll really have to make sure to evade every single one. The enemy ships however are far more advanced in their armour as you’ll have to fire of a volley of shots to even take down the simplest of vessels, and after each level you’ll be graded by your accuracy and the time it took you to tackle the level.


Pilot Crusader rewards the tenacious as you’ll unlock new ships as you progress and take down more motherships. The second mother ship you take down unlocks the second ship and the fourth unlocks the final one. These ships have their merits and demerits. But the demerits are so strong that unlocking them and using them feels more like a burden than a reward. Making them slower but giving them more guns with shorter range doesn’t really make you feel rewarded as a player.


At the price Pilot Crusader is currently available it is most certainly a fun game to toy around with. Something you’ll just be able to pick up and play since there is no real difficult learning curve. This bullet hell game is something you can just boot up and play in between a download of another game or when waiting for another thing to load. A nice little project by RadLabGaming priced accordingly.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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First game ever was Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped, ever since then, gaming has been something that I've gravitated to. Reading's fun but not as interactive. Always up for a bout of online multiplayer. If that multiplayer is co-op. So if you are up for a friendly co-op session, hit me up. Rahenik's the name to search on PSN.

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