You only need to glance at the name and the level select screen to figure out that this is another Mega Man-style game. Nezumi Man is one of the older Mega Man-style games out there (it’s at least seven years old, though finding an exact release date has proven difficult), but it holds up just fine to this day. Its fairly low overall difficulty is a rarity for this specific subgenre, which makes this a relaxing experience where players can enjoy the various level gimmicks and many great enemy designs, which range from adorable to charmingly weird. (more…)
Lunatic War is a game consisting entirely of 12 boss fights separated by brief dialogue skits (all in Japanese) and it makes the most of the content it has to offer. Every boss has a unique and often creative design and, more importantly, each fight is memorable with some fights consisting of two or more phases. Though there are not multiple difficulties, you have access to both a Mega Man buster and a Kirby-ish magic glove and your choice between the two dramatically alters how you approach nearly every fight. (more…)
I Dreamed Ocean is a short action platformer with keeps things simple. The game begins with its nameless protagonist jumping down a well strangely located in the middle of an almost entirely barren and very dry wasteland. From there it’s a matter of fighting off various demonic foes as you traverse the caverns below the well while seeking to plunge ever deeper. Movement has a methodical, smooth feel to it as the default walking speed is slower than in most platformers, but the protagonist can jump very high and quickly accelerates both on the way up and when falling back down. Your only normal form of attack is the traditional head stomp and the exact speed and height of the protagonist’s jump gives a very satisfying feeling of weight to this attack, especially since the rebound after stomping on an enemy is rather large. There is fall damage, so you can’t blindly jump everywhere, though you can fall from fairly high up before fall damage becomes a risk factor. Collectibles along the way include extra lives, full heals (which are especially important as you don’t heal between levels), keys for specific doors, and a temporary power boost which greatly increases your speed and allows you to kill enemies simply by walking into them. Enemy variety is fairly low, but it’s large enough for a game of this length and the enemies both look fantastic and are well-utilized.
The only downside to I Dreamed Ocean is parts of the level design could use some work, both aesthetically in in terms of layout. One level has a large, empty tunnel with a full heal and an extra life at the end which doesn’t make up for the fact that the tunnel itself is just boring and pointless while in another level you can take some time to go down a path only to arrive at a gate which requires a key found in a different path. Backgrounds are also bland to look at, which is a bit of a shame as the enemy and character design is consistently great and the calm soundtrack fits will with the more methodical pacing. These issues ultimately don’t detract too much from the overall experience though and, while it’s unlikely to blow anyone away, I Dreamed Ocean has a memorable sense of pacing and style which definitely makes it worth taking 15 or so minutes to play it through to the end.
This is a straightforward, no-frills, single-phase fight and that’s just fine. As much as I enjoy the more intricate bullet hell-style bosses, fights like this one against Hellion Draconis allow the more unique aspects of Fraxy‘s engine to really shine. Hellion Draconis hits the ground running, immediately barraging the player with a nonstop spray of mostly harmless bullets alongside lock-on targeting, homing missiles, a front-mounted laser which packs a rather nasty punch, and even more bullets. With no additional phases and no destructible parts, you can see everything this fight has to offer within the first ten seconds, but the fight as a whole also only lasts about a minute and provides an exhilarating rush from start to finish as Hellion Draconis never eases up on bombarding the player with an onslaught of deadly attacks. In terms of aesthetic design, Hellion Draconis has a simple yet economically stylish appearance with a main body resembling a fighter jet alongside laser swords for wings and a flamethrower tail to make it live up to the ‘dragon’ part of its name. In virtually every way, Hellion Draconis stands as a shining example of how to make a Fraxy boss which is simple without being trivial and it definitely was a welcome surprise to fight against.
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.