Looking to the skies to save me
This past weekend was a very exciting one for shmup fans, as it saw the 2021 edition of Japan’s Shooting Game Daikanshasai presentation, bringing a full magazine of headlines regarding the timeless and beloved shmup genre — one of the most niche and enduring mediums of video game since the humble Space Invaders launches back in 1978.
While yours truly has definitely fallen a little behind the times with this adrenaline-filled genre, I’m so happy that it still has a global community of followers in the modern gaming environment. So let’s take a look at some of the news that came out of this year’s event. Thanks to Gematsu for translated information taken from the weekend’s stream.
Perhaps the biggest news belongs to fantasy goth-lolita shooter Deathsmiles, with the announcement that Deathsmiles I & II will be launching in Japan on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on December 16… Damn, that’s quite a wait. The compilation will include 2007’s Deathsmiles, its rare expanded edition Deathsmiles Mega Black Label, and 2009 sequel Deathsmiles II. All games will be available in the arcade and home console formats and will also include new — but undisclosed — features. Here’s hoping for localization in 2022.
Publisher City Connection also gave fans their first look at Strikers 2020, the long-awaited new title in the classic Strikers series. Unfortunately, there was no video in effect, with developer Zerodiv only having a small selection of screenshots to offer. From these scant shots, we can see that Strikers 2020 will offer a revised, modern take on the iconic vertically scrolling action that rocked arcades in the late ’90s. A release date is still to be announced.
Over in the super cutesy world of Cotton! City Connection announced that Cotton Guardian Force Saturn Tribute is in the works for PS4 and Nintendo Switch. The new compilation, which will launch in Japan on September 30, will feature three titles from the franchise’s Sega Saturn days: 1997’s Cotton 2, and 1998’s Cotton Boomerang and Guardian Force. The Saturn Tribute compilation will feature a few new features including auto-fire options, save states, and a Rewind function.
Sticking with Cotton!, it was also revealed that 2020’s Cotton Reboot! will be getting a free update in May. The update will feature improvements to the game’s visuals, a run of bug fixes, and will see a new roster addition in the form of Cotton 2‘s adorable troublemaker Appli ke Pumpkin! In addition, it was announced that work continues on the brand new Cotton! title, which will see an arcade and home release at some point in 2021.
The Psikyo Shooting Collection, a compilation of recently re-released Psikyo shmups remains in development. The collection will include a much-requested Training Mode, allowing players to re-run their favorite stages of any of the collections’ 12 titles. Expect a release date for the PS5 soon. As for the individual releases of each game — already available on PC and Switch — a release schedule for PS4 and Xbox One will be announced soon.
Finally, developer G-Mode announced that its sci-fi shmup DoDonPachi Blissful Death DX will be making the leap from mobile platforms to Nintendo Switch. Blissful Death is an adaptation of 2002 arcade DoDonPachi: Dai-Ou-Jou, but closed service in 2014. This Switch edition will allow franchise fans to plug that small hole in their shmup collection. No release date was announced, but Blissful Death will retail for a modest ¥500 (roughly $5).
It looks like shmup fans should keep those aging knuckles in shape, as there’s still plenty of rapid-fire action lined up for 2021-2022. While some of these titles may see a western release, for the most part fans will have to follow the import/alternate account route. But, as a shmup fan, you’re already well versed in this methodology… right? Pew-pew!