Don’t be fooled by the cute dancing girl on the title screen. Super Weekend Mode isn’t playing around. You’re going to die a lot in this game; those skulls on the backdrop aren’t just for show.
Super Weekend Mode exists as some kind of crossbreed between Galaga and Rock Band. You control two paddles which each can be moved between two positions. You’ll swap them around to collect hearts, shoot at the boss, and avoid obstacles that mean you harm.
The thing is, though, that the stuff coming at you moves fast and sometimes unpredictably. As you’re frantically switching your two columns around collecting hearts and fire beams at the boss, skulls and enemies are headed towards you. If you don’t quickly dodge out of the way, your screen size shrinks, giving you less room to see what the next barrage of incoming objects will be.
This is where I think Super Weekend Mode is a bit too difficult. I’m fine with the fast switching, even though some of the objects tend to swap lanes with barely a half-second to process and react to them, but making the game harder when you play poorly seems unbalanced. This leads to “the poor get poorer” effect of being hit a couple of times, having a very tiny window to see the action, and having little other option than to just give up and try again from the (much easier) beginning.
Super Weekend Mode feels like an old school arcade game from top to bottom. The chiptune tracks feel authentic and as poppy as they ever were. The hectic vibes beg for you to play just one more round, and the second paddle can even be controlled by another player huddled around the same screen as you.
But the downsides of arcades, namely the quarter-munching, is alive and well too. You’re given three lives and you’re out. No matter how many of the seven stages you’ve completed, there’s no continuing. I typically don’t mind this, but some of the deaths feel a bit cheap. (When the LEVEL UP text appears on-screen, it completely obscures the action and almost always leads to a death!) The developer page also kindly informs you right away that the difficulty increases even if you do well on any particular stage. Whether or not you’re succeeding, the game is determined to take you down as quick as possible.
I’m all for difficulty in games, but feeling fair is an important aspect in keeping players coming back. I’m still really enjoying my time with Super Weekend Mode, but it just feels like it’s a few small updates from being an instant recommendation.
If you’re up for some punishing pew-pewing, check out Super Weekend Mode on its itch.io page.