Screenshot via SoulGame

Review: Minishoot’ Adventures

Mini ship, big adventure.

If there’s a type of game that I never tire of, it’s a breezy Metroidvania. The best find a perfect balance between satisfying gameplay loops and combat but never reach a point where they are overwhelming.

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Minishoot’ Adventures (apostrophe stays in the name) by two-person SoulGame Studio promises to be just that. You play as an adorable ship traversing a bright world taken over by the dastardly Unchosen, and saving your friends along the way.

It’s a neat premise for a bullet hell/metroidvania hybrid inspired by the top-down Legend of Zelda titles, and the game lives up to it. Minishoot’ Adventures’ story is minimal, but more than makes up for that by being an incredibly charming title that wears its influences on its sleeve. It also provides some of the smoothest twin-stick shooting I’ve played in ages. Tightly-paced exploration, fun side activities, and an adorable art style are extras to an amazing ride.

Screenshot via Destructoid

Minishoot’ Adventures (PC [reviewed])
Developer: SoulGame Studio

Publisher: IndieArk
Released: April 2, 2024
MSRP: $14.99

Gliding to adventure

The biggest compliment I can give Minishoot’ Adventures is how laser-focused it is on being a fun adventure. Much of this comes down to just how amazing shooting is. It’s a bit of a no-brainer that a twin-stick shooter would focus on good controls, but I was surprised by the ship’s responsiveness.

Focusing on Minishoot’ Adventures’ “game feel” above all else might sound odd, but it’s genuinely incredible, to the point it lifts the game from fun to fantastic. Part of this comes from how rock-solid it should perform on a computer made in this decade, but it mostly stems from its tight controls.

The ship glides across its environments but never feels slippery or weightless. There’s a clear momentum in movement, but it always remains strong. Bullet trajectory has the slightest curve toward enemies keeping moving and shooting smooth. It’s subtle enough not to hinder the challenge and only helps the combat’s pace. Anyone wanting more automated firing has the option available through the game’s difficulty settings, which is a nice touch.

The challenge while dungeon-crawling remains in the shooting, with bosses as a highlight at the end of major areas. While normal enemy and mini-boss variety are fine for Minishoot’ Adventures‘ length, bosses let the bullet-hell side shine. None reach the absurdity in titles like Ikaruga or similar bullet-hell/Metroidvania hybrids like TEVI, but that’s not the intent here.

Minishoot’ Adventures excels at being a more casual experience while remaining challenging. I died a handful of times on my standard difficulty playthrough, but there was never a point where I felt stuck, whether on standard or boss encounters.

One thing I appreciated when starting a second playthrough on the highest difficulty, was Minishoot‘s focus on changing bullet speeds and patterns as a difficulty modifier. Those adjustments in place of buffing damage make the experience worth revisiting if you want to squeeze more playtime out of the whole package.

Screenshot via Destructoid

Pretty chill for a bullet hell

As fast as combat goes, I found Minishoot’ Adventures incredibly relaxing. The normal difficulty is always manageable, and the art design paired with the soft electronic score makes it a chill experience. Secret areas are plentiful with notable tells, and the game’s short length means you’re bound to find something cool every few minutes.

Flat upgrades, like increasing damage and ship speed, are done through a simple upgrade menu with skill points earned by killing enemies. I wasn’t initially sure how I felt about it, but it made lulls between bigger upgrades less noticeable since even killing enemies works toward something.

It’s the exploration and dungeon design where Minishoot’ AdventuresZelda inspirations are at their clearest. Some light platforming elements are also present, using ramps and dashes to get over bottomless pits. These are simple but satisfying to blaze through without much thought.

Most major areas also contain some major upgrades for traversal or weapons needed for progress and are all simple and wonderful. Getting to glide over water, or destroy those boulders blocking your path, were game-changers in a way the best Metroidvanias can capture. The short game length means this satisfaction hits incredibly often.

One thing I would have liked to see more of was more puzzles within the dungeons themselves. While fighting enemies and clearing environmental hazards were great, I tanked damage by the mid-game with relative ease. There are some instant kill hazards and rooms with timed goals, and more of those would have been great before Minishoot’ Adventures‘ latter half.

It’s more of a nitpick from me and wasn’t something I had thought about until after I started collecting my overall feelings. As it currently is, the overall package is a blast, with little breaking the pace of combat and exploration.

Screenshot via Destructoid

The cutest apocalypse around

Minishoot’ Adventures is one of the cutest games I played recently thanks to the adorable art direction. Its world is soft and bright, even after it’s been ravaged by sinister forces years prior.

It’s genuinely beautiful too, with vibrant hues giving life to the lovingly illustrated 2D environments and objects. My favorite area is the forest just south of the starting zone. The way its more muted blue-green grass and trees are drawn makes it feel cozy to exist in, rather than eerie. Another forest in the northeast is lovely with its vibrant autumn-like oranges, but the southern forest’s soft blue-green and calming score gives it an atmosphere where I could see myself taking a nice nap.

Complementing this is the lovely sound design. Subtle touches, like how each hit creates a satisfying ding, emphasize the already great combat. The sounds also explain why I grew slightly attached to the title character and playable ship, Minishoot’. While the design is tiny in a cute way, its happy beeps are adorable, and I cared about the little guy finding its friends.

This isn’t to say Minishoot’ Adventures has a complicated or emotional story beyond what the premise implies, but solid design and sound add quite a bit to the attachment factor. The world is gorgeous, and worth saving while there’s still so much life left in it

The actual narrative is thin, however. There isn’t much beyond the basic concept of defeating the Unchosen and helping your friends. Despite keeping this straightforwardness for the entire plot, one development caught me off guard with how bittersweet it was.

I won’t spoil what it is, but it helped put into perspective how much I liked the little playable ship and had me thinking about what its story was trying to say. It wasn’t massive, but I appreciated this story beat’s bold direction, even if the overall experience remained simple and cute.

Screenshot via Destructoid

Making the best of well-used parts

Not much about Minishoot’ Adventures sounds noteworthy when talking about it, but it’s one of those games where everything clicks when playing. All the pieces fit so well together that, even if nothing is new, it’s refined to the point I slipped into a cozy rhythm of exploring my former home and fighting bad guys. It’s a title proudly wearing its inspirations on its sleeves and dedicates itself to bringing the best out of them, and I admire that.

Minishoot’ Adventures is a 2D Zelda game capturing the feeling of exploring a beautiful and dangerous world, and it’s a bullet hell whose movement and shooting are as satisfying as some of CAVE’s best. It’s not exactly like either, and uses elements from both to create an experience all its own, but it’s not perfect.

Beyond the lack of truly perilous hazards and puzzles, the singular notable issue I have with Minishoot’ Adventures is some minor bugs. It’s mostly in some collision detection, as the ship sometimes clipped under passageways, but these were rare. Another oddity I noticed was one area where performance tanked to under 60 FPS when it otherwise stayed locked at 144 FPS everywhere else.

This is otherwise a highly polished experience, and these blemishes didn’t impact my time much. The developers have also been steadily releasing patches that fix issues I hadn’t encountered, so hopefully, anything I noticed will soon no longer be present.

Minishoot’ Adventures may be simple, but it’s a blast. The story is thin and occasional bugs dampened some moments, but the experience remained amazing overall. Most of that is thanks to the moment-to-moment gameplay having some of the best shooting and exploration I played in a long time. It’s pure fun, and I honestly can’t ask for anything more from a game.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

Impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.

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Andrea Gonzalez
Andrea has been playing games for around 20 years and has a particularly strong love for RPGs and survival horror. Her favorite game at the moment is Baldur's Gate 3, but there will always be a special place for NieR and Signalis. She graduated from Portland State University in 2021 with a degree in English and has written about games since 2022. When Andrea isn't gaming in her free time, she's likely either reading or having a coffee.