Freeware

GIGADEEP Stage Select

GIGADEEP

Official Site (Japanese) || Official Free Soundtrack

Just like its fully-capitalized name, there is nothing graceful nor elegant about GIGADEEP. Nearly everything part of this game is sloppy, loud, frantically kinetic, and, of course, ridiculously entertaining. There is a real sense of energy to this Mega Man X-inspired action platformer that I have rarely seen matched and, even with some glaring balance issues, I find myself going back to this game at least once every year.
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Fraxy Wrath

Fraxy

Fraxy 1

Official Site (Japanese) || Fraxy HQ

Fraxy is a shmup dedicated to boss fights, but it is also a powerful and flexible engine dedicated to making those fights. With a small yet dedicated fanbase, Fraxy has amassed quite a large amount of user-created content over the years and we’ll be taking a look at some of these creations in the very near future. For now, this article will serve as an introduction to Fraxy both as a game and as an engine.
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Sengoku Youkai Daikassen Boss

Sengoku Youkai Daikassen

Official(?) Download
NOTE: The official website no longer exists, credit goes to https://panchira.wordpress.com/ for containing a link.
NOTE 2: This game seems to be based on an anime called Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox, which looks awful, but at least the game’s good!

I’m not sure as to exactly when I fell in love with the bullet hell subgenre, but I do know that I always enjoy stumbling across worthwhile entries and Sengoku Youkai Daikassen is one such entry. Taking place over the course of six stages (or ‘steges’ according to the in-game Engrish) in Warring States-era Japan, this horizontal shmup offers enough Continues to make it a good entry point for those new to the genre and enough nuance to its scoring system to satisfy most bullet hell veterans.
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Tantibus Lamp Fight

Tantibus

RPGMaker.net Page || Game Jolt Page

Surrealistic indie RPG’s have become much less rare, though still far from common, ever since Yume Nikki and Space Funeral became cult classics. Tantibus, taking its name from the Latin word for ‘nightmare’, certainly falls into this bizarre niche with its small, often-nonsensical world. If you’re looking for a deep plot or particularly engaging combat you won’t find it here, but you’re in luck if you’re looking to explore a unique world and interact with its increasingly-interesting inhabitants.
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V Prototype Gameplay

V Prototype

Game Jolt Page
NOTE: The developer’s own site no longer exists so the online high score tables and in-game links to their site will not work.

V Prototype is an inventive, small shmup which, contrary to the genre’s name, does not allow you to shoot things. There are ten short stages available and with no boss fights and two difficulty settings (the higher of which only adds in a certain enemy to stages without really changing much) this game really does feel light on content and does not offer much in the way of replayability beyond trying to achieve a high score. That said, the core mechanics go a long way and every single stage introduces a new hazard or two, often while putting a new twist on an old one.
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