ark area hamster arcade archives ps4 switch

Multidirectional blaster Ark Area warps into the Arcade Archives

Shmup No. 5,483 hits retro range

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It’s Saturday, and that means it’s time to take a look at this week’s Arcade Archives offering — Once again, publisher Hamster is looking to the stars to save it, with the arrival of another galaxy-blasting shmup from yesteryear: Ark Area, now available to download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

Developed by UPL and released to the coin-op market in 1987, Ark Area is a multidirectional shmup that chooses not to follow any strict horizontal/vertical plane to provide full 360, alien-zapping action. A loose sequel to UPL’s own Nova 2001, Ark Area puts one or two players in the pilot seats of cute lil’ ships, which must fend off extensive waves of enemies, which can attack from all directions. In typical shmup fashion, power-ups can be acquired to increase firepower, and meaty boss battles are peppered throughout the game’s 23 stages.

Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber SBH Gameplays.

Following a fairly standard run on the arcade market, Ark Area simply faded into the annals of time, only to be resurrected by this here Arcade Archives release. It’s a fun, formative little trip into shmupland, but even on release,  Ark Area was already being eclipsed by some of its flashier and more exciting contemporaries. Still, for completionists, you now have another finger-mashing zapper to add to your collection, no doubt bursting at the seams by this point.

Ark Area is available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, priced at $8. Next week’s Arcade Archives release will be Namco’s excellent run ‘n’ gunner, Rolling Thunder 2.


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Chris Moyse
Senior Editor - Chris has been playing video games since the 1980s and writing about them since the 1880s. Graduated from Galaxy High with honors. Twitter: @ChrisxMoyse