Golden Hornet, by Hijong Park, is an excellent ‘modern retro’-style, ‘twin stick’, helicopter-based shoot ’em up, set in a variety of different scrolling levels.
By ‘twin stick’, I mean: two joysticks. One for directional control of the helicopter, and the other for direction of firing (any one of eight directions). And you don’t actually need two joysticks to play it – Golden Hornet simulates the ‘twin stick’ experience brilliantly with either a gamepad or keyboard.
Golden Hornet reminds me of Choplifter, Fort Apocalypse, Airwolf, and every other helicopter game ever made, rolled into one. It borrows the best ideas from all of them and manages to make it all work. The basic game is a ‘rescue the hostages’ type affair that gets more demanding as you progress.
Golden Hornet was released in 2017 and is currently available for free on Steam. There is also a donationware version, costing a measly 79p (I thought it was so good I bought the DW version).
Indie games like this bring me a lot of joy. It’s great to see old ideas brought back to life with modern programming. Golden Hornet is both challenging, and also extremely playable and fun. It also shows that Hijong Park is a young designer to watch in future. This is just one of a number of his games he’s made available for free on Steam.