Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser is a cheesy throwback. Setting out to parody the likes of Power Rangers, Getter Robo and Voltron, it's a loving homage to transforming robots and every localised Saturday Morning anime you've ever seen, complete with hilariously weak alien invasion premise, silly dialogue and arch characters.
I do of course mean all this as a glowing compliment. I'm delighted to report that Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser feels like a genuine example of the genre, perhaps a re-released version of a little-known anime tie-in. What matters, then, is whether it's also a good bullet hell shooter.
Things certainly start out well with four difficulty settings and native gamepad compatibility, throwing you straight into a left-to-right scrolling danmaku gauntlet. Waves of foes swoop in to destroy with your withering firepower,from small fighter craft to hulking mechs and even massive capital ships spewing out increasingly complex bullet patterns to weave through.
It's familiar and exhilarating bullet hell action with some fantastic bosses at the end of each stage (which are always fun to watch in the included replay functionality), but Supercharged Robot Vulkaiser doesn't do a huge amount new or exciting with its foes beyond their raw numbers.Click here to read more...
Horizon Shift isn't just a great shoot'em up, it's a genuinely new shoot'em up.
Following a shaky last attempt, tiny British SHMUP specialist Flump Studios (try saying that five times quickly) are back with a vengeance. Lean, muscular and exceptionally hectic, Horizon Shift uses a simple yet revolutionary idea to blend Tempest, Space Invaders and bullet hell into something completely fresh and exciting. With so many 'me-too' attempts clogging up Steam's virtual shelves, it sticks out like my sore thumbs.
Speaking of which, it's also seriously tough in a satisfying technical kind of way. Hence why the review is a week late.
Click here to read more...
Enter The Gungeon is not your typical Roguelike.
Sure, there are procedurally-generated dungeons to explore, full of treasure, enemies, traps and opportunities to permanently die. Yes, it's viewed from a top-down perspective and resembles a retro gem with its detailed faux 16-bit art style. Granted, you'll choose a character and then delve into the depths for fun, profit and eventual death.
What makes Enter The Gungeon different, however, is that it's also a proper shoot 'em up. Going beyond the usual twinstick genre hybrids we've seen over the last few years, it's a hectic no-holds-barred gunfight where every table can be flipped over, every piece of cover is potential safety, bosses turn into bullet hell barrage madness and your only friends are the hundreds of boomsticks at your side. Though still deep in development, what I've played of it is shaping up to be a game of exceptional... calibre.
I apologise for nothing. Let's get stuck in.Click here to read more...
Velocity 2X may be one of the best retro shooters in ages, but its excellent prequel is cheap as chips on PC. You can now grab a Velocity Ultra Steam code for just £0.97.
Half hectic SHMUP, half puzzler and all awesome, this really is worth a look if you're a fan of either genre. And awesomeness.
Raptor: Call Of The Shadows is an absolutely classic shooter, and the 2010 Edition pretties things up and adds higher resolutions.
That's the good news, but the great news is that you can get it for just £1.04!
It's a DRM free version to boot, which usually costs £4.09 on GOG. Thanks Gooner!
Orbital Gear is an eyewateringly gorgeous multiplayer scrolling shooter with an awesome Zone Of The Enders vibe and overwhelmingly positive Steam reviews.
Seriously, it usually costs £6.99. Note that it's PvP though, so maybe the 4-pack might be a plan?
Check this out, SHMUP fans. Raiden Legacy contains four legendary scrolling shooters in one package -- RAIDEN, RAIDEN FIGHTERS, RAIDEN FIGHTERS 2 and RAIDEN FIGHTERS JET -- which you can get at a bargain £1.64 for a DRM free download. Thanks for the tip, Gooner!
N.P.P.D. Rush: The Milk Of Ultra Violet is one of the oddest games I've encountered in ages, and now it's one of the cheapest too. Click here to buy it for £0.29! >>
It's half time attack shooter, half allegorical storyline, all visual lovechild of the ZX Spectrum and Teletext. Then it turns into a bullet hell SHMUP. Just because it can. Also there are nightmare staircases.
Though insane and frankly mediocre in some aspects, I ultimately found myself loving N.P.P.D. Rush. Find out why in our full review!
You'll need to pop your email address into the field at the top of the page, then sign up to the Indie Gala team group before being able to snag your copy. It usually costs £3.99 on Steam.
I slammed this ambitious yet lacklustre shooter in our Super Killer Hornet Resurrection review, but the price was one of my biggest bugbears. For free, I can forgive some of its rougher edges, especially as it reminds me of the good ol' Amiga days in good ways and bad. The British rock hiphop soundtrack from The Sixtyfours is also excellent. UPDATE: Thanks jaystan, who found this long before I did!
Yar's Revenge now £0.70 at Bundle Stars. Click here to buy! >>
The good news is that Yar's Revenge is stonkingly cheap at Bundle Stars, who'll give you a Steam code into the bargain. The bad news, however, is that this inexplicable reboot is lacking in fun. Still, at 70p, we can enjoy the "vividly imagined world" described in Felix' Yar's Revenge review.
Obludia is now £0.16 minimum at IndieGameStand. Click here to buy! >>
A fairly basic dualstick-shooter by all accounts, Obludia is usually £5.99 on Steam but can be yours for as low as 16p on IndieGameStand. However, you'll need to beat at least £0.64 in order to get a Steam code and those oh-so-tasty trading cards. The jury's out on quality but I'm not sure how wrong you could go for so little money.
DieselStormers is billed as "high-octane carnage for 1-4 players featuring customizable motorguns, gas-guzzling knight armour, generated levels and randomized loot" on its Steam Early Access listing, but I much prefer the description that Black Forest games gave me in an interview last summer. It really is "Metal Slug meets Left 4 Dead meets a nuclear pinball machine."
Back then it was known as Project Ravensdale, and following their release of the brilliant Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams, Black Forest games were confident in another Kickstarter success. They failed, but a name change and Steam's Early Access scheme finally put DieselStormers on track.
Which leaves us with an unfinished yet very promising cooperative run and gun romp that resembles the legendary action platformers of yesteryear, only in a Dieselpunk fantasy universe with goblin bullet hell death balloons, persistent crafting and electric ninja ropes a go-go.Click here to read more...
The Binding Of Isaac made our Indie Game Of The Year 2011 shortlist, and with good reason. It's an addictive, infinitely replayable and utterly reprehensible 21st centuryhybrid roguelike from the artistic half of Team Meat, and it's as exciting as it is thoroughly stomach-turning. You can currently grab it for £0.59 on Steam, but Value-wise, it's probably best to grab the DLC too for 74p all-in. If you already own it from one of a thousand bundles, the DLC is available separately for £0.29.
Thanks to jaystan @ HUKD!
Waves is still an absolutely sensational twin-stick shooter, offering both gorgeous visuals and a varied, hectic selection of gametypes to enjoy. At £0.74, it's also cheap as chips. As in, individual chips.
If you're feeling a cloying sense of deja vu, that's because we've run a few Waves deals and bundles before, only never this cheap. Be sure to check your backlog to avoid doubling up.
Platform: PC (Steam, £5.99, releases tomorrow)
Developer: Curve Studios
Oh yes. Iron Fisticle is the good stuff.
Reckless innovation isn't the only way to make a cracking boutique game. Take a classic genre from yesteryear as a foundation, then build a rock-solid experience on top of it that's mechanically refined, satisfying to play and forward-thinking without losing the nostalgia factor.
Iron Fisticle nails it: an uncomplicated and deeply wholesome fusion of Robotron and Gauntlet that absolutely delivers where it counts. Hectic action, a fantastic arsenal, deceptively deep moment-to-moment action and an addictive progression system that makes each game over a little victory of its own. It's not going to change the face of the industry, but it's bloody good fun.Click here to read more...
Velocity Ultra | £1.29 | Steam (RRP: £6.99)
Velocity 2X may be one of the best retro shooters in ages, and free for PS+ owners, but its excellent prequel is cheap as chips on PC. Half hectic SHMUP, half puzzler and all awesome, this really is worth a look if you're a fan of either genre. And awesomeness.
Developer: Lets Get Kraken
At the end of the day, blasting a pixelated rat with a fireball doesn't feel hugely different from blasting a pixelated rat with a lightning bolt. Or a magic missile. Or a spiralling steam helix. No matter the devastating elemental spell at your disposal, you're still shooting rats in a box.
That's the big problem with Runers, which in fairness, brings some great ideas to the brainstorming table. As a Roguelike hybrid, it retains the procedural dungeon crawling and permadeath of its ASCII ancestor, but replaces turn-based tiles with a completely different core gameplay mechanic. In this case, top-down shooting a la Geometry Wars. However, in a neat twist, you'll choose from a selection of classes with different active spells and racial traits, then combine elemental runes to form totally new attack spells on the fly. One round you're a lizardman bard shooting out rock spikes and entropy missiles, the next you're a Dwarven Paladin wreathing the levels in flames.
It's a brilliant conceit that's fun for a while. Unfortunately, if we're honest, Runers' core SHMUP gameplay just isn't quite strong enough to prop up the rest of it.
Click here to read more...
Yesterday we previewed Myriad, a truly eyepopping indie game that elevates twinstick shooting into an artform in and of itself. Inspired by the works of Kandinsky, it allows us to reshape levels on the fly, creating dynamic unique masterpieces every time we play.
It's a fascinating concept and a ton of fun even at this early stage, and though the preview build was naturally running on PC, developer Erlend Grefsrud has designs on Sony's new-gen machine due to its unique streaming opportunities.Click here to read more...
Myriad: Make The World/Break The World is the most drool-inducingly gorgeous videogame I've seen in quite some time.
Inspired more heavily by Kandinsky than Bizarre Creations, this impossibly handsome shooter resembles the mad offspring of Rez and a lava lamp at first glance. I could have stared at it all day during the Develop Expo last week, transfixed as a configuration of striking circles danced and organically evolved before my eyes. As an art installation, it's astonishing.
What's more astonishing, though, is that it's also one of the most innovative twinstick shooters out there. Games are meant to be played, after all, and Norwegian games journalist-turned-developer Erlend Grefsrud has managed to cook up one hell of a Big Idea.
Chances are that you've probably played a twinstick shooter (or twenty) before. The left stick moves. The right stick aims and shoots. Once again we find ourselves controlling an angular minimalist spaceship, blasting constantly-spawning enemies in claustrophobic arenas. Powerful cannons and recoil initially confounds, but on a basic level, Myriad feels comfortingly familiar.
The visuals, though, are like nothing you've seen before. Your ship is the only angular entity in a world of perfect circles and soft curves, angrily disrupting the equilibrium by throwing out a jagged torrent of straight lines. Seemingly furious at your unsightly intrusion, an army of rounded foes constantly attempt to chase you down, harassing you and forcing you to weave through the tight confines of an arena consisting of a haphazard array of overlapping circles. It's a visually arresting aesthetic that, once you've wrapped your brain around it, begins to hint at surprising hidden depths.Click here to read more...