Shogun: Bullet Hell Shooter offers a modern take on Japanese arcade games

by Ian Black

Some developers try harder, and that describes the creators of Shogun: Bullet Hell Shooter. You can see real effort in the details of this space shooter and those details flesh out the whole experience of playing, and ultimately make the game more fun.

Upon launch, you’ll see a list of the most recent updates and bug fixes to the game and a short list of what’s coming soon. The game also offers an animated introduction that provides the back-story. It’s set in a battle-filled future in the year 2140, and an evil general has maniacal plans to conquer the Earth. Then comes an excellent tutorial where you learn how to control your recon ship and how to use the various weapons at your fingertips. After this great setup, the game begins, and it’s up to you to find the general’s headquarters.

It’s a modern homage to Japanese Arcade space shooter of the past and it couldn’t be done better. You’ve got the familiar overpowered weapons including laser cannons, spread fire (where your missiles shoot out in an arc), homing fire (where your missiles home-in on the enemy ships without aiming), and EMP, which obliterates all enemy ships and missiles but consumes one of your precious life crystals every time you fire it. If you have enough energy – by collecting power from enemy fire with your Entropy Engine – you can temporarily upgrade these weapons into an overwhelming force.

Still more excellent details make the gameplay pop. The backgrounds you battle include an Arctic area, a flowing volcano and abstract geometrical landscapes. They look more beautiful in hi-def than the original arcade games ever did, and funny movie one-liners about “using the force” and “swimming with the fishes” from both your military comrades and the enemy soldiers keep you engaged. The sound track and effects make it rock.

My only complaint? You touch the screen and drag your finger to maneuver your ship around in space. It’s a little too easy to accidentally obscure the ship with your finger making it difficult to see what’s going on. Still, an on-screen joystick might take up valuable real estate so it’s hard to say which is best.