I’ve already confessed my undying loving for rhythm shooters with Rez, Child of Eden, and most recently, Dyad. All of those games take gameplay and forge it into music. Shots, bombs, and hooks become blips, bleeps, and bloops of a musical track that’s enchanting, mystifying, and very electronic sounding. Now there’s a new love to add to my list and it’s a different take on the genre. It’s a game called Symphony.
Everything about this game is based in rhythm. The enemies come in patterns that allow you to keep a certain pace, every sound you make affects the music ala REZ, and even the colors of the menus change at a very specific pace. It’s this underlying rhythm that sets the pace for the entire game. It’s hard to notice at first, as the entire landscape is spinning around and colors are flashing, but once you slip into the groove, the entire game becomes hypnotic and has a trance-like effect. Every stage begins to blur together into one long color-melding experience where interaction and visuals meet.
I was walking through Square Enix’ sizable booth at E3 this year, y’know, minding my own business when, out of the corner my eye, I saw a row of iPads. One of those iPads had Darius Burst, a horizontal space shooter in the vein of Square’s own forgotten Einhander.
It’s a simple throwback kind of game, nothing elabroate, nothing too flashy, but it’s solid and a great fit for the iPad. The touchpad controls work well. I used my left thumb on the left side of the screen and pressed some “fake” buttons on the right side to shoot and to use a “burst” move that made my fighter invincible for a while so long as I followed an energy ball thing it produced.
Grasshopper Manufacture and Digital Reality’s Sine Mora is the tale (with all of the dialogue in Hungarian, mind you) of fuzzy woodland creatures taking flight in aircraft to save their world from a murderous evil empire. Sounds like TaleSpin, only better, right? It is. Sine Mora is a bullet hell shmup with a few unique gameplay mechanics that makes it stand out from the rapidly-expanding 2D shooter pack, and is one of the more refreshing genre entries.
Storm Strikers is the follow up to the 2D-X Excellence Award-winning Danmaku Unlimited. Although Storm Strikers shares many features with its predecessor–manic shooting action, dark Tron-like graphics, and challenging gameplay–it serves up a few new tricks. Unfortunately, the game also feel very similar to Danmaku Unlimited in certain areas as well.
It’s been a long time–a seemingly eternity, really–since my mind had reason to focus on America’s earliest days. Sure, I love the works of Thomas Paine, but those philosphical and political pieces, don’t dig into the minutae of colonial and pre-colonial times. Likewise, Final Form Games’ Jamestown also doesn’t detail John Smith’s and Sir Walter Raleigh’s adventures in a settlement that would evolve into Virginia –it details John Smith’s and Sir Walter Raleigh’s Martian adventures to hunt down a crazed Spanish conquistador in a delightful 2D shmup.
Retro gaming fans recently celebrated (lamented?) 9/9, which was the launch date of the groundbreaking and much beloved Dreamcast in 1999 . The system may have died prematurely, but Germany-based Redspotgames is adding to its legacy with a new game release: Sturmwind. The region-free shmup, on paper, looks nicely stacked. Check the features:
Treasure’s SEGA Saturn shmup classic returns to action very, very soon.
Just a few years ago the 2D shooter/shoot ‘em up/shmup genre was on its deathbed, but the category has seen a resurgence in recent years on an unlikely platform: iOS. Danmaku Unlimited, Sunny Tam’s $1.99 iPhone game (also available in a free, abbreviated “Lite” version), brings yet another manic bullet hell sub-genre to Apple devices. Featuring excellent Tron-like graphics, a pulsing techno soundtrack, and surprisingly accurate controls, Danmaku Unlimited is a must-have download for masochistic gamers.
Pits long-awaited return appears to be a flawed one at this early stage.