Neko Navy is an adorable yet difficult bullet hell shmup filled with flying cats, strange locations, and even more bizarre enemies. Nothing about this game makes sense, but with online leaderboards, six playable characters, three very different difficulty settings, a deep scoring system, and a few secrets for good measure, Neko Navy has everything shmup fans (and cat lovers) could ask for. (more…)
You know an indie game has made it big when other indie developers start making fangames based on it and the Touhou series has a ton of fangames. I’ve played my fair share of Touhou fangames over the years and at the end of the day Touhou – Wandering Souls remains not only my favorite Touhou fangame, but one of my favorite freeware indie games. This sidescrolling action RPG perfectly translates the gameplay of a bullet hell shmup series into an entirely different genre alongside some surprisingly deep mechanics and an outright obscene amount of content all while being made in the utterly unlikely RPG Maker VX engine. (more…)
Genetos is a shmup which celebrates the history of its genre from its humble beginnings to the modern era. The aesthetics evolve along with the enemies and even your own ship in this journey through the ages. With many difficulty levels to choose from and different evolutionary paths for your ship based on your actions, Genetos is a game which can vary as much as the genre itself. (more…)
As a small, glowing red box with rapidly spinning ‘arms’, erratic movements, and fast attacks which force players to keep moving, Pressure has certainly earned its name in both aesthetics and attack design. Pressure has three distinct phases and in turn every phase consists of three attacks which it will cycle through. Though it is fast, most of this boss’s attack patterns fall into one of two types. The first, and most common, type of attack pattern present here is an arcing fan of several rows of bullets which may sometimes have a slight slant, but which otherwise allow for plenty of room while dodging. The second attack type consists of tracking attacks, such as in the form of a homing bullet barrage or a tracking laser and these patterns pose far more danger than the bullet waves. The main source of difficulty in this fight comes from trying to actually hit the boss in the first place as it is a small target and its movements become wider and more erratic with each phase to the point that it constantly bobs in and out of the arena in the final phase. Otherwise, this is a somewhat challenging yet surprisingly manageable fight which remains at about the same level of difficulty from start to finish, though the third phase is the easiest overall due to the lack of homing attacks while an attack pattern during the second phase where two streams of bullets create a double helix shape is by far the most dangerous part of the fight.
Starting off the fight with a deadly rush across the screen, this boss provides a consistently fun and fast-paced challenge. One of the first things players are bound to notice is the addition of two twining frontal turrets for the player’s own ship, which serves as a an early sign of the flashy aesthetics at play here. While most small, fixed arena fights have fairly static bosses, the Sky Leopard 42k is rather dynamic, launching attacks from the top, middle, and bottom of the screen, which adds to both the challenge and the aesthetic appeal of the fight. Most of this boss’s attack patterns consist of either bombarding the player with aimed shots or using lasers and lines of bullets to limit mobility, though it is generally easy to find safe spots. This boss doesn’t have an excessive amount of health and, between the additional turrets and the fact that damage is dealt to the boss regardless of which piece of its body is hit, this fight definitely doesn’t overstay its welcome, but the first phase does last a bit too long and the boss doesn’t really gain any new attacks until it is down to about a third of its initial health bar.
Defeating the ship leads to a second, humanoid form which moves around frequently while staying near the top of the screen. This second form has the opposite issue of the first phase as it goes down so quickly that it may not get a chance to use all of its attacks, but it otherwise feels like a nice continuation of the first part of the fight with aesthetically-pleasing attacks which are challenging without being quite as dangerous as they may initially appear to be. Overall, this fight feels like it falls into a sweet spot in terms of balance, offering up a good challenge with plenty of visual flair and nothing in the way of frustration or tedium.