This seems as good a time as any to throw up some indie shmups for everyone to try out. I was spurred to write another IS:SE after BulletMagnet put up a new "How-To"
concerning Mushihime-sama Futari, which I urge you all to read. Sadly, I haven't picked up a copy yet, since I forgot to pre-order the Limited Edition off Play-Asia before they sold out. But fret not! I am actively searching for a limited edition set even as I type this. If you have no Mushihime-sama to play at the current moment, why not indulge yourself in some indie shmups?
The word Irukandji actually refers to a species of jellyfish, which makes it an incredibly fitting name for this shmup. In it, you'll be playing a tiny, Irukandji-like jellyfish
fighting against foes modeled after tiny bacteria and germs. This shmup also has a highly-stylized presentation, with more glowing and particle effects then you could handle. Don't be surprised if you start to not pay attention to your character because you were to busy looking at the onslaught of brightly colored germs coming towards you. The missile animation is also among some of the prettiest I've ever seen.
The Z Key will shoot your bullets off the left side of the screen, while X will shoot them off to the right. Holding both Z and X together will let you shoot in a straight line. C will shoot off your pretty pretty missiles. Power-ups can be collected from the enemies, as well as multipliers that will help you achieve a higher score. The regular enemies, for the most part, don't shoot much at you, but they will come at you in droves, completely covering the screen. Boss battles take a different approach, as you will have to step up your danmaku skills to survive. There are 6 additional ships that you can unlock, each offering a new way to play the game. Online score table provided, as well as 10 different achievements for you to obtain.
You can download Irukandji off the Charlie's Games website for a price of your choosing. The minimum being 1$(and any other offer under that will be immediately refunded). I personally put up 5 bucks for the game, and I'm finding it to be a worthy purchase. There's also a demo available on the site, if you find that you need to try out a 1$ game before you buy it. Buy/Demo Irukandji 2. Mogura 2
A bit of an oldy, but a goody nonetheless. You play the role off a bear... animal... thing. Don't really know what he is... but he has a jetpack! Anyways, you fight off against... these... things. I... don't really know what they are either...
Well, however you look at it, Mogura 2 is an addictive, fast-paced cute'em up with a highly addictive soundtrack to back it all up. It is a Japanese game, and most of the text is in moonspeak, but the menus are easy enough to navigate. A quick look at the Krobon(the developers who made Mogura 2) website shows that a third game in the Mogura series is in the works. Whether it'll be done anytime soon is a mystery to me, so we'll just have to wait and see! Download Mogura 2 3. Mikku Sumaruchipurai Supairaru
Another Miku STG? Yes, it is. Sorry folks. This particular one was released this past C76, by the Artesneit circle. Releasing a Miku STG is actually in the completely opposite direction for these guys, as most(if not all) of their past releases are hentai shmups.
As for the gameplay, it's a bit of an odd ball. First off, you can select to play as either Miku herself, or as the duo Kagamine Rin/Len. Both characters share a similar primary shot with the Z key, and both can freeze time, Dio Brando style
, with the X key to help you navigate through the bullet patterns. Using your freeze ability will deplete your Music Note gauge, but it can be easily replenished by killing enemies or picking up Music Note boxes that will appear on screen. Both groups also have a way to negate an enemies bullets, which will provide you with extra music notes. With Miku, her twin tails can be used to block an enemy bullets. With the Kagamine duo, Len will form a magic circle around him every few seconds which will have the same effect as Miku's twintails if an enemies bullet makes contact with it.
Artesneit also produced there own Miku soundtrack for the game, which is actually pretty well produced. It's actually very easily listenable outside of the game, which is always a plus for any game OST. Artesneit plans another game release at the upcoming C77, whether it will be a return to hentai-shmup form or another diversion from their usual formula is not yet known. Either way though, I look forward to what they come up with next!
Download Mikku Sumaruchipurai Supairaru 4. Final Boss
While the full version isn't out yet, a demo has been released by the two Finland-based developers who are working on it. Final Boss details the life of a fighter pilot who's goal in life is to become the all-menacing Final Boss. It has a very retro vibe to it, with even some references to older shmups thrown in once in a while.
Final Boss offers up a two player scheme so you can share the fun with a friend, gamepad support is also featured. To tell you the truth, I have an extremely difficult time with this particular shmup. Everything moves quite fast, and you're not given a whole lot of time to attack. Even recovery time from damage done to your ship barely lasts a second, so you always find yourself hustling, trying to stay alive. Still, I find great enjoyment in playing Final Boss as I try to better my maneuvering with it. Definitely a treat for those hardcore, retro shmup enthusiasts.
The final version promises a wealth of unlockables and "hidden secrets". Eboshidori & eebrozgi, the two developers of Final Boss, are looking for any feedback they can get for their game. If you happen to give the demo a try, why not leave them some at their devlog page over at YouTube?
I'm sure they'd appreciate it.
Download Final Boss 5. Desaturation
To put it bluntly, Desaturation is amazing. Made by developer Xun Zhu, his game was actually a main competition finalist for the China chapter of GDC's IGF festival. Unfortunately, he didn't win. But, the hard work he put into Desaturation has left us with one truly fantastic shmup on our hands.
According to the GDC China website, Xun Zhu's main inspiration for this shmup was based on the theory of traditional Chinese painting, which shows through in great fashion throughout a playthrough. Some obvious Ikaruga inspiration also appears to be a source of inspiration for Xun Zhu. Like in Ikaruga, you deal with a light and a dark side, switching between the two with the X key. However, your dark shot is much stronger than your light shot. To obtain ammo for your dark side, you must defeat enemies with your primary light shot, and as they are destroyed they release small pellets that will replenish your dark shot gauge. The key to winning in Desaturation is to find a balance between the two. Mindlessly depleting your dark shot will leave you wide open to when you will need it the most, such as when a horde of enemies come flying at you at once and your light shot isn't strong enough to defeat them.
Desaturation really stands out as a really nice looking shmup. Mostly everything is 3D-modeled, but placed over a hand-painted styled background. Although, the greatest aesthetic choice chosen for Desaturation is when your dark shot is fired. When it hits an enemy, dark splatters resembling ink spills mark the screen, leaving a kanji symbol behind that will act as a score multiplier. It doesn't sound like much, but when you see this happen multiple times on the screen at once, it is truly pretty to look at. Currently only a demo is available, with a bonus practice mode thrown in so you can hone your skills. I'm hoping that Xun Zhu's GDC loss won't lead to him dropping this game entirely.
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