MetalFRO's Blog

Posted on Apr 6th 2021 at 08:00:00 AM by (MetalFRO)
Posted under Shmup, shooting game, shooter, STG, shoot em up, new games

As everyone on this site knows by now, I'm a big shmup fan. It's my favorite genre, and I play a lot of these games. I run the RF Generation Shmup Club here, as well as Shoot the Core-cast, the companion podcast. Because the shooter genre has seen such a renaissance in the past few years, more games are coming out all the time, and it can be hard to keep track of them all. Here are a handful of games to keep your eye on, to help you maybe choose a couple that will click with you.

First up is Void Gore, from Panda Indie Studio, and published by Eastasiasoft Limited. This is a fun little score chaser with a very simple setup. You have 1 life, and an endless wave of enemies to fight. There are no defined stages, as the game is randomly generated for each play attempt. As you defeat enemies, you collect coins, which you can use between each run, to upgrade your ship capabilities, such as increasing your default shot power level, increasing your firing rate, or even adding missiles to your arsenal. You can also pay coins to have the "Satan" boss show up after the 1st 10 levels, which gives you the opportunity to score more points. This game hooked me right away with the "one more try" feeling, and when I bought it, I think I dumped nearly 2.5 hours into it the 1st night.  This is available on Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series, and PlayStation 4.

Qute is no stranger to the shoot-em-up scene, having released excellent titles like Eschatos and Ginga Force on the Xbox 360 in Japan, and the former on Steam in recent years. Their most recent game may appeal to the old-school shooter crowd, with its horizontal screen orientation, and traditional approach to gameplay. Natsuki Chronicles was originally released on Xbox One in Japan on Christmas day 2019, but it's now available more widely on PlayStation 4 and Steam. There's also a forthcoming PS4 physical release from First Press Games, which is still available for preorder, as of this writing, as is a PS4 physical of the aforementioned Ginga Force. Natsuki Chronicles implements a cool feature that shows you bullet trajectory, so you can see where enemy projectiles are going to be, which may help ease newer players into the genre, to better understand the flow of enemy attacks. Impressive visuals and soundtrack complement this game, and it's a "don't miss" shooting game right now.

Barrage Fantasia is a cute new danmaku/bullet-hell style shooter with a decidedly low-res pixel style, but still oozing with charm, due to its bright, colorful graphics, and chunky sprites. The game has some neat features, like a recharging bomb system (similar to our March Shmup Club game, Demonizer), the ability to select from a list of familiars to accompany your witch protagonist, which change your attacks, bosses you can pick apart piece by piece, as well as a heart system, so that it's not just "one hit death" like many shooters. Life replenishes over time, as well as through grazing enemy bullets, or collecting hearts that appear on screen after using bombs to clear projectiles. While some fans of the genre's more traditional style may be put off by the "bullet hell" moniker, this is a very approachable game that may help give a good introduction to the style. Barrage Fantasia is currently available on Nintendo Switch and Steam.

You probably already know about this one, unless you've been living under a rock, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the impending release of R-Type Final 2 from developer and publisher Granzella, which features many former Irem staff who worked on previous games in the series. Due for release near the end of April, this monstrous title is the closest thing we have in the shooting game community to a AAA title, and based on the screenshots and footage we've seen thus far, plus the initial reactions to the recently dropped demo, it seems this will be one shooter that fans will be talking about for a while. Taking direction from its predecessor, the game will eventually unlock a large hangar full of ships to control, each with its own arsenal, as well as with customizable ship and cockpit colors, and even the ability to add a decal to the side of your craft for style. In terms of gameplay, it looks like it's keeping with the formula that's already well established, and just dialing up the style points to 11, and moving away from the more ambient soundscapes of R-Type Final to something a bit more structured and high energy. As someone who supported the Kickstarter for the game, and double-dipped for the retail release, I'm looking very forward to putting some time into this game, once it releases.

Another couple of games to watch out for are the physical releases of Raiden IV: Mikado Edition on Nintendo Switch, which brings us not only the first physical version of Raiden IV: Overkill, but also a new soundtrack arrangement, featuring music from Heavy Metal Raiden, original Raiden series composer Go Sato's band, as well as new arrangements from other composers, such as Cosio and Daisuke Matsumoto. This will be available in a few flavors, including a Japanese and Asian-region release with extras, such as a pair of CD soundtracks. Also releasing in April is the Japanese physical version of Rolling Gunner for the Switch. Following the failed Western release that was planned last year, publisher Mebius is instead producing their own physical version, in 2 flavors, 1 of which comes with a soundtrack CD. Unfortunately, this is only available through sellers like Amazon Japan, Play Asia, and other importers, as there's no Western release yet. However, this game is extremely import friendly, and should not be missed by anyone who likes challenging, bullet-hell style games. And the included Over Power mode makes a good introduction to the genre, with a twin-stick style play, and a powerful cannon that clears bullets in its path.

What other recent shoot-em-ups have you heard of that might be of interest? Let us know! Also, let us know if there's a particular game you'd like to see us include in a future Shmup Club play-through, and to cover on the podcast.

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LRG finally announced a physical for Dangun Feveron yesterday.  Hopefully they do Sorcer Striker too which will be the only M2 ShotTriggers release without a physical.
Thanks so much for the overview of new shmup-releases. As someone who tries to get a complete physical shmup collection for the PS4 and Switch, this is very much appreciated.

Andro Dunos 2 is another shmup scheduled for a physical release this September, published by Pixelheart. Pre-orders are up already on the Pixelheart site and PlayAsia. The game is available for the Switch, PS4, XboxOne, even for the 3DS and Dreamcast.
@Bear78: Yes, I saw that! That announcement came out AFTER I wrote my article, of course, but I will definitely be grabbing that one!

@lendelin: Glad you liked the article, and that it was helpful. And yes, I didn't forget about Andro Dunos 2, but that's kind of a "wait and see" thing for me. The original game is solid, but kind of unmemorable, so I'll be curious to see what they do with the sequel. I'll still probably buy a copy, but I'm wondering how they'll improve upon the formula.

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