So, Much, Color, and particle effects plastered over my screen! (Editor’s Note: This game looks like a seizure inducing mess, be careful folks) Shinorubi is an arcade style bullet hell with an ample amount of game modes that modify your goals and abilities. It even has a ninety-nine continue option available to you to essentially allow you to learn any difficulty or any game mode. However, the game strongly encourages you to try to complete the six-stage runs in one continue; so that’s three lives with the occasional 1up sprinkled in. I like this approach, as it allows players of many different skill levels to learn the game at their own pace, while giving veterans a tangible goal to up their scores across the difficulties and various game modes. The developer has made it very clear that new characters and a couple promised game modes are still in the works as the game continues through Early Access. In that way, there may be more of a consideration to wait for the game to be closer to full release, but I can breakdown what is there NOW for you to decide.
In terms of bullet hell games, the base game without any modifiers or anything will feel like putting on a glove in the hands of seasoned players of the genre. Mechanics are pretty straight forward: holding down the fire button lets out a concentrated laser, which while it slows down your mobility, it also puts out the most amount of damage. Additionally, the laser will slowly fill up a fever meter that once it’s maxed out, every bullet on the screen transforms into stars, and the game goes full acid trip as it showers you with points and visual stimuli. For some players, it may just feel like over-stimulation and hard to keep track of what’s going on, but once you get into flow, man this game just finds that dopamine button and spams the ever living shit out of it.
Runs themselves are relatively short, but I think it will take some time for players to reach a mastery that they can win without requiring a continue, especially in the later difficulties. In that way, I think the game capitalizes primarily on its core gameplay loop, and expands on it by using the alternate game modes that accent certain features surrounding it. There’s not much else to say… I like how the game modes have their own difficulty rating and variable game lengths. One of them is a gauntlet run to beat the game three times, all the while the game gets more and more batshit. Some of the others give your ship more abilities and ways to break the game conventions.
All in all, I had a great time with Shinorubi. I have a feeling this may be a nice appetizer for die-hard Touhou fans. However at the same time, for people who are not super ingrained in the genre, I feel like this is the most fair and accommodating among its peers. I like how much flexibility there is in terms of learning the game at your own pace, and how high the skill ceiling can get as you practice. It’s a tad pricey at the moment, might be better to wait for the game to progress further through early access. But I would still highly recommend.
Provided early access review copy from developer.
Hellfirebam recommends you keep a close eye on Shinorubi.