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[Review] Ranking all the Switch shmups Ep26 – Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade

We’ve all had a game that is a gateway to a specific genre. That one game which made us pay attention to a style of games and allowed us to fully experience the genre. It might not have been the first one we play, but it is definitely one that stays closer to our hearts. For me, this game was Darius.
I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I will say it again: Darius is the shmup that is closest to my heart. I loved the horizontal gameplay, I loved the Silver Hawk, I loved all the huge bosses that looked like fishes. The gameplay also hit bunch of chords that resonate with what I love about shmups. I’ve been waiting so long for this, so alas, I present to you: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade!
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Price: $44.99
Tate: Built-in
Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a collection of the Darius games released on the arcades. This wasn’t your typical cabinet, as one of its main features was the usage of multiple screens. Darius used 3 screens, while Darius II/SAGAIA used 2 screens. M2 really went out of their way to bring the most authentic arcade experience! The result is impressive to say the least!
This collections includes 4 games:
Darius and SAGAIA include 3 and 2 different versions respectively, bringing it to a total of 7 playable games.

ARCADE GLORY

As hard as this might be to believe, I have never played an arcade Darius game before. I always mentioned Darius as my favorite shmup, but the truth is that I began with the SNES games. I had heard on the street that the arcade versions were superior so I was very excited.
When I booted the original version, I couldn’t help but feel like I was standing next to an actual arcade cabinet. The game greeted me with 3 screens places next to each other on the center of the screen. I was excited to play, so I pressed the coin button. I was not prepared for what I was about to experience…
As soon as I inserted the coin, a typical fanfare played along as my credit counter increased by one. But there was something else. The controller started vibrating to the tune of the music. I just can’t make justice to this effect with words. It felt like being inside an actual arcade cabinet. Vibrations and sound made the experience feel authentic. It made me think about the arcade days where you would hear cabinets everywhere and just feel the energy of the place.
As soon as I started to play, the screen changed and the empty spaces were replaced by arcade artwork. This artwork was exactly the kind you would see pasted near the controllers to show you how to play and other general information. Everything about the game was designed to make you feel like on the arcade. This is the kind of presentation that every other arcade port should try to achieve.

FISH GRAVY

What truly sets apart the Darius Cozmic Collection from any other collection is the amount of features and arcade fidelity that M2 added to the game. Every single aspect, every single menu and every single feature was lovingly added to create a masterpiece.
From the get go, you will be presented with the very familiar “A boss is approaching” message featuring King Fossil. The message just says that your game data is approaching fast. It really is only a fancy way of saying the game is loading, but it sets the tone to the orgasmic experience that you are about to have with the game.
After going through the intro scene, you will be greeted with the main menu which contains all 7 playable titles in this collection. You also have a replay, manual and staff options. If you are wondering where the options are, they are specific for each game, so they must be adjusted from within each game. My only complaint here is that the manual is in japanese. There isn’t much to learn from a manual though. The only thing was the Darius Gaiden capture mechanic, so I picked that one up from the internet.

AN ENTIRE LEGACY

Speaking of the games, 7 different titles can be quite intimidating. If you are anything like me, then chances are you don’t know what’s “new ver” or “extra ver”. Thankfully, each game features a sort of museum display that features a screenshot of the menu, the title, the launch date and a very thorough description of the game. The text will navigate you through each version of the games and specifically highlight why it is different from its predecessor or what was changed when going to western markets.
Each game includes a training mode for those who wish to challenge specific parts of the game. Training mode will let you choose to play any stage and customize a variety of settings such as the strength of your Silver Hawk and the game rank, which is the in-game difficulty. The obvious use for this mode is to practice your piloting skills and go for the 1CC. Even casual players can view this as a pseudo level select cheat code for maximum enjoyment!
Perhaps one of the most amazing inclusions of the collection is the replay mode. For every one of your play throughs, there is an option to save a replay of your play session. What differs from regular replays, is that they pack an incredibly robust set of features. Other than being able to watch a recording of yourself, you can see your inputs and control the playback of the replay. You can rewind, fast forward, go back, increase the speed or even go full slow-mo to analyze your gameplay.

KING OF THE ARCADE

Challenging oneself is one thing, but going after the world is the true spirit or arcade shmups. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade features online rankings which are separated into 2 categories: “Arcade” and “All-mix”. Arcade is played with every setting on default and using only one credit. If you are playing and choose to spend an additional credit to continue, then your scoring is changed to “All-mix”. All-mix is a catch-all for every other style, from easy difficulty to hard or even static rank modes.
If you ever wondered what’s it like to play like the king of the leaderboards, then you’ll be glad to know you can download leaderboard replays! This allows you to watch the entire play throughs of top players, along with their inputs and the previously mentioned playback features of a replay. A must have for those willing to go for the record or even those curious about what it means to be a champion.

YOUR PERFECT CABINET

The in-game menu for each game will further let you customize your gameplay experience. The amount of options is truly staggering, so suffice to know that you can change in-game setting as difficulty and score for an extend, screen quality adjustments like scan lines and gadgets, and the controllers.
One menu I really want to highlight is the gadgets menu. Gadgets are responsible for making the gameplay experience truly stand out. They track all sorts of data from yourself and the enemies. From a friendly side, you can see your current level of power, the number of hits your arm can take and the information related to the current zone. From a less friendly side, you have all sorts of analyzers that display the current boss, their weakness and detailed HP for each of their parts. There’s even a life gauge that appears at the bottom of the screen for easy viewing when fighting bosses!
Although I could see an argument against being way too much information, I’m personally thankful because I’m a data nerd and I love knowing all this information. If it is too much for you, then you can always turn off the gadgets and customize the screen to your liking. The real beauty comes from creating your perfect cabinet.

THE EMULATOR ADVANTAGE

One of the main selling points of emulators has been the ability to use save states. Darius Cozmic Collection is no slouch and features save states of its own! These save states will let you cheese the game as much as you want, but they also let you replay specific sections and master them for your future arcade runs. I won’t judge you, so have fun with save states! The only caveat is that using save states will not record your score. Unfortunately, replays will only record from the last time you loaded the save state onwards. So there’s no chance of creating tool-assisted runs.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that bringing up the in-game menu will completely pause the game and show you a fully-fledged map of the game, complete with boss encounters for each zone and the amount of power-ups featured in said zone. It really is great for strategy purposes to know which stage will allow you to upgrade your Silver Hawk! Resuming a game will also give you a 3 second count down with a jumping robot animation to ensure you are ready for action. This detail wasn’t really needed, but it is one of the many ways in which M2 shows appreciation for Darius and the player.
Out of all this nitty gritty details, I have to say the song name is one of my favorites. In the bottom right corner of the screen there is a pop-up that appears when the song changes and displays the song name. I just think it looks really cool. By the way, don’t forget to check “Olga Breeze”, my favorite song!

DARIUS, THE OG

Darius, the game that started it all. Featuring 3 screens, this is the biggest Darius game featured in this collection (ha!). If I may add, I also think this is the game that highlights all the love M2 poured into bringing arcade experiences to your living room. With features such as the cabinet art and the body sonic vibration, it really brings home the arcade feeling.
As you can expect, playing the first game on the series is both, a nostalgic and a painful experience. Playing on 3 screens is truly magical, but at the same time, it is a victim to the older design choices. Not much that can be done here, after all, it is a decades old game. Just a small detail to keep in mind.
Darius helps establish the foundations of the franchise from the very first game. One of the Darius staples is the upgrade system for the Silver Hawk. Throughout the game, you can encounter 3 different orbs which are dropped by different colored enemies. The orbs can be red, green or blue.

SILVER HAWK

Red orbs will upgrade your primary fire. Each orb increases your power, but collecting 7 will upgrade your shot to the laser, and then the wave. Green orbs will upgrade your bomb, which is your secondary fire. Bombs also get stronger with more orbs and also upgrade when you reach 7. Blue orbs will give you a shield called arm. The initial shield blocks 3 hits and any additional orb will add 1 more hit. Just like red and green, you can upgrade after 7 orbs which will make it so that additional orbs give you 2 hits and then 3.
The downside to the upgrade system is that, upon death, you will lose every orb you collected in your current tier. The good news is that if you, for instance, managed to upgrade to the laser, then your shot can never fall below that. The bad news is that the number of orbs is limited per stage, which means it is almost impossible to upgrade within a stage the same stage where you died. The exception is a single stage that has 7 blue orbs in the old version and one with 7 green in the extra version.

THE FISH

The most distinguishable characteristic of the franchise is definitely the marine bosses. The stages are all over the place with a very diverse space settings, but the bosses are always one thing: fish. Actually, I’d say it is marine biology, but fish is an overly simplistic way to describe it. Darius also has one peculiarity which is that every set of stages has the same boss. For example, the 4th stage boss will always be Fatty Glutton in a different version depending on which zone you chose.
The other defining feature of Darius is being able to choose your adventure. After each boss, you can choose to go to one of 2 different zones. This choice is made by either being on the top or bottom half of the screen, as the stage actually splits after beating the boss. It certainly took me off guard the first time as I crashed into the divider. Despite having the same boss, the zones are drastically different and carry the strategic choice of having a different number of orbs. Your path will be determined by which aspect of your Silver Hawk you want to improve.

THE COINS

What struck me the most about Darius is how unforgiving it is. This is expressed in the descriptions of the newer versions. The thing about Darius, is that the game is next to impossible to beat if you didn’t fully upgrade. Later enemies are merciless and if you don’t have sufficient firepower, then you probably won’t stand a chance. This ruthlessness is exacerbated by the death system, as death will set you considerably behind. Because upgrades are usually a 2-stage effort, getting shot will set you back 2 levels worth of progress.
A fun aspect I found on Darius is the dynamic created by having 3 screens. This is probably the widest game I have played, and it brings new challenges to the table. The first one is that you need to gain screen position to succeed. Being at the front is usually better, with moving back feeling like losing real estate. The reason behind this is that you are able to shoot down enemies before they become a threat with their numbers. The other less obvious reason is the number of bullets allowed on screen. That number is limited, so it is in your best interest that those bullets expire fast so you can fire new ones. Being back equals more time before they reach the end of the screen, which is undesirable.
Overall, the game poses a unique challenge, but I’m not going to lie, it is actually really fun to play. Achieving an upgraded Silver Hawk is a hard endeavor, but that makes it even more rewarding when you pull it off!

DARIUS II/SAGAIA, THE PROOF US WESTERNERS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS

Darius II came in and simplified the game in some interesting ways. First of all it reduced the upgrade system so that it is now only a single stage that can be maxed out. The number of orbs was reduced to compensate. Another simplification comes courtesy of the screens themselves. The number of screens was reduced from 3 to 2 in order to be installed in other dual screen cabinets such as The Ninja Warriors.
Unfortunately, the single stage of upgrades means that the game is even more savage when you die. This time around, you actually lose all of your progress in terms of firepower. There will be special rainbow orbs which help you catch up a little, but even then they might be a little too late. As a result, my 1CC had to be done by never dying.

I ALWAYS WANTED A THING CALLED A TUNA SASHIMI

One thing I want to mention, is that Darius II has my absolute favorite intro sequence of any Darius game in this collection. From the music that goes ramping up to the main theme, to the voice lines calling out the launching sequence:
“Main engine energy level, 20% increase !”
“I always wanted a thing called tuna sashimi”
“3…2…1…”
It all creates an unbelievable sense of excitement!
A very fun piece of trivia is the existence of SAGAIA. It exists to be a compact version of Darius II to be sold on western markets. Then there’s actually 2 versions of it which feel like 2 pieces of the same game. If SAGAIA trimmed certain pieces of the game, then version 2 came to use those trimmed pieces and created another entry. It’s actually quite funny.

DARIUS GAIDEN, THE KING

Darius Gaiden is definitely the reason you will keep playing the arcade collection. Quality in older games under a modern eye is usually a product of nostalgia and design elements that still hold on in today’s gaming landscape. Contrasting with that, Darius Gaiden IS a fantastic game that I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase if it was released today.
For Darius Gaiden, less is more, as this time around the game was played on a single screen arcade cabinet. The game does seem to lack some of the ambient goodies such as the rumble effects, but it makes up for it in gameplay experiences.

TRUE POWER

One aspect that is radically different from its predecessor is the upgrade system. Whereas Darius II simplified the Silver Hawk upgrade system, Darius Gaiden took it back to its original Darius roots. This means that, once again, we have multiple upgrade points. Upgrades take considerably less red power-ups to achieve, which actually makes it possible to upgrade multiple times during the same stage.
Death penalties are lower as well with death only losing you a level of power. Because there are more power levels, it is more forgiving and doesn’t set you completely behind like the previous entries. Perhaps the best of all is that neither arm nor bombs have any penalty whatsoever. What’s more, you don’t even lose your arm or bomb level when losing a credit. I can say with 100% certainty that this game is actually possible to complete within a reasonable number of credits if you die on the later zones.
I would take it one step ahead and say this game has a little of the Contra syndrome. The original Contra is a game that was considered hard, but was significantly easier if you could maintain the spread shot. In the same vein, getting the earliest upgrades makes Darius Gaiden a breeze. A well deserved victory, if you ask me.

YOU’RE MINE NOW!

New to Darius Gaiden is the ability to capture mid bosses. Half-way through a stage, you will encounter a medium sized boss with a purple orb somewhere in its back. If you manage to take down the orb without killing the enemy, it will detach and slowly drift away. If you capture this orb, then the mid boss will fight alongside you until its timer expires. I gotta say that having a huge fish on your side is surprisingly satisfying!
Having a single screen makes the experience much more familiar for shmup enthusiasts. While it does lose some of the charm of the ultra wide field of view, it also rids itself of nuances such as your horizontal movement being low in terms of total horizontal space or the limit on on-screen bullets.
A combination of those factors I mentioned contribute to making Darius Gaiden a much better experience. It’s simple to play and forgiving when you lose. Every stage is unique and makes every new play through a completely different experience, not just in a different-ish way, but rather full blown new content!

A LEGENDARY PACKAGE OF NOSTALGIA

There’s one thing that you might be thinking, and that’s that I might be biased because it is Darius. It is true that I openly admit everywhere that Darius is my favorite. However, in this particular case my work was cut out for me, I don’t need to be biased because this is truly a wonderfully crafted collection that deserves to be on everyone’s Switch.
It contains every possible version of Darius you might have encountered on the arcades and then sprinkled some top notch features that make it stand on a class of its own when it comes to ports. It also helps that the Darius games remain to be as fun as they always have been, even with their caveats. I took 3-4 times more time to play this collection, not because it had a lot of content, but because I loved playing every second of it and wanted to try it all. Wanted to 1CC every version, wanted to traverse every possible stage, wanted to created masterful replays.
The only possible downside I can see to this collection is the price. $44.99 is a very high price compared to other shmups on the market. In terms of features and overall content (because remember, every game has more than an alphabets worth of different zones) it does warrant its price. Although I can see people double guess their decision, with this game being close to the cost of a first party title and significantly higher than other shmups.

TOP 3

My tentative placement for Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade was on the top 3 spots. I really had a hard time deciding where to put it, so I went back and revisited both Ikaruga and Psyvariar Delta. After finishing my Ikaruga play through, I was reminded of the magic that is Ikaruga and how special it is. Psyvariar Delta also reminded me of the buzz system and how the refined gameplay and level ups work towards creating an experience that I can’t quite put into words.
The main defining factor, however, was that I don’t think any of the Darius games in the collection beats the top 2 contenders. The 7 games as an aggregate, are certainly a force to be reckoned with thanks to the superb M2 porting labour. With that being said, I will award it a 3rd spot because the gameplay experience is incredible, but a little held back by the age of the games and the hefty price tag.
Still, Darius will always be #1 in my heart.

THE RANKING SO FAR:

  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Tengai
  9. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  10. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  11. Sky Force: Reloaded
  12. Strikers 1945
  13. Black Paradox
  14. R-Type Dimensions EX
  15. Sine Mora EX
  16. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  17. Ghost Blade HD
  18. AngerForce: Reloaded
  19. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  20. Q-YO Blaster
  21. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  22. Pawarumi
  23. Red Death
  24. Task Force Kampas
  25. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  26. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to NintendoSwitch [link] [comments]

Hi r/shmups! I'm currently on a project where I try to review every shmup on the Switch, so I thought I'd share my reviews here! Here's the 26th entry: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade

We’ve all had a game that is a gateway to a specific genre. That one game which made us pay attention to a style of games and allowed us to fully experience the genre. It might not have been the first one we play, but it is definitely one that stays closer to our hearts. For me, this game was Darius.
I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I will say it again: Darius is the shmup that is closest to my heart. I loved the horizontal gameplay, I loved the Silver Hawk, I loved all the huge bosses that looked like fishes. The gameplay also hit bunch of chords that resonate with what I love about shmups. I’ve been waiting so long for this, so alas, I present to you: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade!
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Price: $44.99
Tate: Built-in
Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a collection of the Darius games released on the arcades. This wasn’t your typical cabinet, as one of its main features was the usage of multiple screens. Darius used 3 screens, while Darius II/SAGAIA used 2 screens. M2 really went out of their way to bring the most authentic arcade experience! The result is impressive to say the least!
This collections includes 4 games:
Darius and SAGAIA include 3 and 2 different versions respectively, bringing it to a total of 7 playable games.
ARCADE GLORY
As hard as this might be to believe, I have never played an arcade Darius game before. I always mentioned Darius as my favorite shmup, but the truth is that I began with the SNES games. I had heard on the street that the arcade versions were superior so I was very excited.
When I booted the original version, I couldn’t help but feel like I was standing next to an actual arcade cabinet. The game greeted me with 3 screens places next to each other on the center of the screen. I was excited to play, so I pressed the coin button. I was not prepared for what I was about to experience…
As soon as I inserted the coin, a typical fanfare played along as my credit counter increased by one. But there was something else. The controller started vibrating to the tune of the music. I just can’t make justice to this effect with words. It felt like being inside an actual arcade cabinet. Vibrations and sound made the experience feel authentic. It made me think about the arcade days where you would hear cabinets everywhere and just feel the energy of the place.
As soon as I started to play, the screen changed and the empty spaces were replaced by arcade artwork. This artwork was exactly the kind you would see pasted near the controllers to show you how to play and other general information. Everything about the game was designed to make you feel like on the arcade. This is the kind of presentation that every other arcade port should try to achieve.
FISH GRAVY
What truly sets apart the Darius Cozmic Collection from any other collection is the amount of features and arcade fidelity that M2 added to the game. Every single aspect, every single menu and every single feature was lovingly added to create a masterpiece.
From the get go, you will be presented with the very familiar “A boss is approaching” message featuring King Fossil. The message just says that your game data is approaching fast. It really is only a fancy way of saying the game is loading, but it sets the tone to the orgasmic experience that you are about to have with the game.
After going through the intro scene, you will be greeted with the main menu which contains all 7 playable titles in this collection. You also have a replay, manual and staff options. If you are wondering where the options are, they are specific for each game, so they must be adjusted from within each game. My only complaint here is that the manual is in japanese. There isn’t much to learn from a manual though. The only thing was the Darius Gaiden capture mechanic, so I picked that one up from the internet.
AN ENTIRE LEGACY
Speaking of the games, 7 different titles can be quite intimidating. If you are anything like me, then chances are you don’t know what’s “new ver” or “extra ver”. Thankfully, each game features a sort of museum display that features a screenshot of the menu, the title, the launch date and a very thorough description of the game. The text will navigate you through each version of the games and specifically highlight why it is different from its predecessor or what was changed when going to western markets.
Each game includes a training mode for those who wish to challenge specific parts of the game. Training mode will let you choose to play any stage and customize a variety of settings such as the strength of your Silver Hawk and the game rank, which is the in-game difficulty. The obvious use for this mode is to practice your piloting skills and go for the 1CC. Even casual players can view this as a pseudo level select cheat code for maximum enjoyment!
Perhaps one of the most amazing inclusions of the collection is the replay mode. For every one of your play throughs, there is an option to save a replay of your play session. What differs from regular replays, is that they pack an incredibly robust set of features. Other than being able to watch a recording of yourself, you can see your inputs and control the playback of the replay. You can rewind, fast forward, go back, increase the speed or even go full slow-mo to analyze your gameplay.
KING OF THE ARCADE
Challenging oneself is one thing, but going after the world is the true spirit or arcade shmups. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade features online rankings which are separated into 2 categories: “Arcade” and “All-mix”. Arcade is played with every setting on default and using only one credit. If you are playing and choose to spend an additional credit to continue, then your scoring is changed to “All-mix”. All-mix is a catch-all for every other style, from easy difficulty to hard or even static rank modes.
If you ever wondered what’s it like to play like the king of the leaderboards, then you’ll be glad to know you can download leaderboard replays! This allows you to watch the entire play throughs of top players, along with their inputs and the previously mentioned playback features of a replay. A must have for those willing to go for the record or even those curious about what it means to be a champion.
YOUR PERFECT CABINET
The in-game menu for each game will further let you customize your gameplay experience. The amount of options is truly staggering, so suffice to know that you can change in-game setting as difficulty and score for an extend, screen quality adjustments like scan lines and gadgets, and the controllers.
One menu I really want to highlight is the gadgets menu. Gadgets are responsible for making the gameplay experience truly stand out. They track all sorts of data from yourself and the enemies. From a friendly side, you can see your current level of power, the number of hits your arm can take and the information related to the current zone. From a less friendly side, you have all sorts of analyzers that display the current boss, their weakness and detailed HP for each of their parts. There’s even a life gauge that appears at the bottom of the screen for easy viewing when fighting bosses!
Although I could see an argument against being way too much information, I’m personally thankful because I’m a data nerd and I love knowing all this information. If it is too much for you, then you can always turn off the gadgets and customize the screen to your liking. The real beauty comes from creating your perfect cabinet.
THE EMULATOR ADVANTAGE
One of the main selling points of emulators has been the ability to use save states. Darius Cozmic Collection is no slouch and features save states of its own! These save states will let you cheese the game as much as you want, but they also let you replay specific sections and master them for your future arcade runs. I won’t judge you, so have fun with save states! The only caveat is that using save states will not record your score. Unfortunately, replays will only record from the last time you loaded the save state onwards. So there’s no chance of creating tool-assisted runs.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that bringing up the in-game menu will completely pause the game and show you a fully-fledged map of the game, complete with boss encounters for each zone and the amount of power-ups featured in said zone. It really is great for strategy purposes to know which stage will allow you to upgrade your Silver Hawk! Resuming a game will also give you a 3 second count down with a jumping robot animation to ensure you are ready for action. This detail wasn’t really needed, but it is one of the many ways in which M2 shows appreciation for Darius and the player.
Out of all this nitty gritty details, I have to say the song name is one of my favorites. In the bottom right corner of the screen there is a pop-up that appears when the song changes and displays the song name. I just think it looks really cool. By the way, don’t forget to check “Olga Breeze”, my favorite song!
DARIUS, THE OG
Darius, the game that started it all. Featuring 3 screens, this is the biggest Darius game featured in this collection (ha!). If I may add, I also think this is the game that highlights all the love M2 poured into bringing arcade experiences to your living room. With features such as the cabinet art and the body sonic vibration, it really brings home the arcade feeling.
As you can expect, playing the first game on the series is both, a nostalgic and a painful experience. Playing on 3 screens is truly magical, but at the same time, it is a victim to the older design choices. Not much that can be done here, after all, it is a decades old game. Just a small detail to keep in mind.
Darius helps establish the foundations of the franchise from the very first game. One of the Darius staples is the upgrade system for the Silver Hawk. Throughout the game, you can encounter 3 different orbs which are dropped by different colored enemies. The orbs can be red, green or blue.
SILVER HAWK
Red orbs will upgrade your primary fire. Each orb increases your power, but collecting 7 will upgrade your shot to the laser, and then the wave. Green orbs will upgrade your bomb, which is your secondary fire. Bombs also get stronger with more orbs and also upgrade when you reach 7. Blue orbs will give you a shield called arm. The initial shield blocks 3 hits and any additional orb will add 1 more hit. Just like red and green, you can upgrade after 7 orbs which will make it so that additional orbs give you 2 hits and then 3.
The downside to the upgrade system is that, upon death, you will lose every orb you collected in your current tier. The good news is that if you, for instance, managed to upgrade to the laser, then your shot can never fall below that. The bad news is that the number of orbs is limited per stage, which means it is almost impossible to upgrade within a stage the same stage where you died. The exception is a single stage that has 7 blue orbs in the old version and one with 7 green in the extra version.
THE FISH
The most distinguishable characteristic of the franchise is definitely the marine bosses. The stages are all over the place with a very diverse space settings, but the bosses are always one thing: fish. Actually, I’d say it is marine biology, but fish is an overly simplistic way to describe it. Darius also has one peculiarity which is that every set of stages has the same boss. For example, the 4th stage boss will always be Fatty Glutton in a different version depending on which zone you chose.
The other defining feature of Darius is being able to choose your adventure. After each boss, you can choose to go to one of 2 different zones. This choice is made by either being on the top or bottom half of the screen, as the stage actually splits after beating the boss. It certainly took me off guard the first time as I crashed into the divider. Despite having the same boss, the zones are drastically different and carry the strategic choice of having a different number of orbs. Your path will be determined by which aspect of your Silver Hawk you want to improve.
THE COINS
What struck me the most about Darius is how unforgiving it is. This is expressed in the descriptions of the newer versions. The thing about Darius, is that the game is next to impossible to beat if you didn’t fully upgrade. Later enemies are merciless and if you don’t have sufficient firepower, then you probably won’t stand a chance. This ruthlessness is exacerbated by the death system, as death will set you considerably behind. Because upgrades are usually a 2-stage effort, getting shot will set you back 2 levels worth of progress.
A fun aspect I found on Darius is the dynamic created by having 3 screens. This is probably the widest game I have played, and it brings new challenges to the table. The first one is that you need to gain screen position to succeed. Being at the front is usually better, with moving back feeling like losing real estate. The reason behind this is that you are able to shoot down enemies before they become a threat with their numbers. The other less obvious reason is the number of bullets allowed on screen. That number is limited, so it is in your best interest that those bullets expire fast so you can fire new ones. Being back equals more time before they reach the end of the screen, which is undesirable.
Overall, the game poses a unique challenge, but I’m not going to lie, it is actually really fun to play. Achieving an upgraded Silver Hawk is a hard endeavor, but that makes it even more rewarding when you pull it off!
DARIUS II/SAGAIA, THE PROOF US WESTERNERS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS
Darius II came in and simplified the game in some interesting ways. First of all it reduced the upgrade system so that it is now only a single stage that can be maxed out. The number of orbs was reduced to compensate. Another simplification comes courtesy of the screens themselves. The number of screens was reduced from 3 to 2 in order to be installed in other dual screen cabinets such as The Ninja Warriors.
Unfortunately, the single stage of upgrades means that the game is even more savage when you die. This time around, you actually lose all of your progress in terms of firepower. There will be special rainbow orbs which help you catch up a little, but even then they might be a little too late. As a result, my 1CC had to be done by never dying.
I ALWAYS WANTED A THING CALLED A TUNA SASHIMI
One thing I want to mention, is that Darius II has my absolute favorite intro sequence of any Darius game in this collection. From the music that goes ramping up to the main theme, to the voice lines calling out the launching sequence:
“Main engine energy level, 20% increase !”
“I always wanted a thing called tuna sashimi”
“3…2…1…”
It all creates an unbelievable sense of excitement!
A very fun piece of trivia is the existence of SAGAIA. It exists to be a compact version of Darius II to be sold on western markets. Then there’s actually 2 versions of it which feel like 2 pieces of the same game. If SAGAIA trimmed certain pieces of the game, then version 2 came to use those trimmed pieces and created another entry. It’s actually quite funny.
DARIUS GAIDEN, THE KING
Darius Gaiden is definitely the reason you will keep playing the arcade collection. Quality in older games under a modern eye is usually a product of nostalgia and design elements that still hold on in today’s gaming landscape. Contrasting with that, Darius Gaiden IS a fantastic game that I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase if it was released today.
For Darius Gaiden, less is more, as this time around the game was played on a single screen arcade cabinet. The game does seem to lack some of the ambient goodies such as the rumble effects, but it makes up for it in gameplay experiences.
TRUE POWER
One aspect that is radically different from its predecessor is the upgrade system. Whereas Darius II simplified the Silver Hawk upgrade system, Darius Gaiden took it back to its original Darius roots. This means that, once again, we have multiple upgrade points. Upgrades take considerably less red power-ups to achieve, which actually makes it possible to upgrade multiple times during the same stage.
Death penalties are lower as well with death only losing you a level of power. Because there are more power levels, it is more forgiving and doesn’t set you completely behind like the previous entries. Perhaps the best of all is that neither arm nor bombs have any penalty whatsoever. What’s more, you don’t even lose your arm or bomb level when losing a credit. I can say with 100% certainty that this game is actually possible to complete within a reasonable number of credits if you die on the later zones.
I would take it one step ahead and say this game has a little of the Contra syndrome. The original Contra is a game that was considered hard, but was significantly easier if you could maintain the spread shot. In the same vein, getting the earliest upgrades makes Darius Gaiden a breeze. A well deserved victory, if you ask me.
YOU’RE MINE NOW!
New to Darius Gaiden is the ability to capture mid bosses. Half-way through a stage, you will encounter a medium sized boss with a purple orb somewhere in its back. If you manage to take down the orb without killing the enemy, it will detach and slowly drift away. If you capture this orb, then the mid boss will fight alongside you until its timer expires. I gotta say that having a huge fish on your side is surprisingly satisfying!
Having a single screen makes the experience much more familiar for shmup enthusiasts. While it does lose some of the charm of the ultra wide field of view, it also rids itself of nuances such as your horizontal movement being low in terms of total horizontal space or the limit on on-screen bullets.
A combination of those factors I mentioned contribute to making Darius Gaiden a much better experience. It’s simple to play and forgiving when you lose. Every stage is unique and makes every new play through a completely different experience, not just in a different-ish way, but rather full blown new content!
A LEGENDARY PACKAGE OF NOSTALGIA
There’s one thing that you might be thinking, and that’s that I might be biased because it is Darius. It is true that I openly admit everywhere that Darius is my favorite. However, in this particular case my work was cut out for me, I don’t need to be biased because this is truly a wonderfully crafted collection that deserves to be on everyone’s Switch.
It contains every possible version of Darius you might have encountered on the arcades and then sprinkled some top notch features that make it stand on a class of its own when it comes to ports. It also helps that the Darius games remain to be as fun as they always have been, even with their caveats. I took 3-4 times more time to play this collection, not because it had a lot of content, but because I loved playing every second of it and wanted to try it all. Wanted to 1CC every version, wanted to traverse every possible stage, wanted to created masterful replays.
The only possible downside I can see to this collection is the price. $44.99 is a very high price compared to other shmups on the market. In terms of features and overall content (because remember, every game has more than an alphabets worth of different zones) it does warrant its price. Although I can see people double guess their decision, with this game being close to the cost of a first party title and significantly higher than other shmups.
TOP 3
My tentative placement for Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade was on the top 3 spots. I really had a hard time deciding where to put it, so I went back and revisited both Ikaruga and Psyvariar Delta. After finishing my Ikaruga play through, I was reminded of the magic that is Ikaruga and how special it is. Psyvariar Delta also reminded me of the buzz system and how the refined gameplay and level ups work towards creating an experience that I can’t quite put into words.
The main defining factor, however, was that I don’t think any of the Darius games in the collection beats the top 2 contenders. The 7 games as an aggregate, are certainly a force to be reckoned with thanks to the superb M2 porting labour. With that being said, I will award it a 3rd spot because the gameplay experience is incredible, but a little held back by the age of the games and the hefty price tag.
Still, Darius will always be #1 in my heart.
THE RANKING SO FAR:
  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Tengai
  9. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  10. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  11. Sky Force: Reloaded
  12. Strikers 1945
  13. Black Paradox
  14. R-Type Dimensions EX
  15. Sine Mora EX
  16. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  17. Ghost Blade HD
  18. AngerForce: Reloaded
  19. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  20. Q-YO Blaster
  21. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  22. Pawarumi
  23. Red Death
  24. Task Force Kampas
  25. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  26. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to shmups [link] [comments]

Binary Options: A Sickening Scam

The Art of a Binary Options Scam

Binary options, fraudulent “trading products” that are designed to part prospective investors from their money are very different from real options. In essence, they are simply a bet that the price of a particular asset will rise in a given time frame. If you win the gamble, the company is supposed to pay a fixed payout, within the 70%-95% range. If you lose, however, you not only lose the “payout” but the initial investment as well.
If this was merely the case this would fall under the category of gambling, something that millions upon millions of individuals do recreationally. However, that is primarily not the case. With almost all binary options brokers you are “trading” against the broker and not the market. The broker wants you to lose, or else the company would not make a profit. Even if the broker pays out your winnings he can easily govern your profit with payout conditions. This means that even if you have a winning formula, the company will just decrease the payout, ensuring you ultimately lose in the long term.

There is more to the scam

That, unfortunately, is not where it ends. Numerous “brokers” are notorious for spreading fictitious stories about their clientele making gigantic profits with trading robots. Almost all of them manipulate their price curves to prevent you from winning. What’s worse is even if you do win, many of them refuse to pay out, and ultimately drop off the face of the earth (with your money).
Now clients are left in with a major dilemma. To whom do they turn? To the police? To regulators? The answer to these questions is that it depends. Most of these binary options brokers are not regulated and are located offshore, allowing them to do what they want. Often in their terms and conditions, they concoct various rules that ensure they keep your money once they have it. When it comes to regulators such as ASIC or the FCA they are relatively useless as they cannot shut down the actual binary options websites and to make it even worse search engines such as Google allow these websites to appear in their search content.

Shouldn’t the banks put a stop to this?

Yes, they should. However, the banks, which should be the number one line of defense against these scams either do not know the extent of the problem or are turning a blind eye to their nefarious activities. Additionally, in order to process credit card, debit card payments most of the binary options brokers have registered a small company in an E.U. country.

Recovery scams

Unfortunately, fraud encourages more fraud. Various individuals targeted U.S. citizens who were swindled by the now-defunct brokerage, Banc de Binary, and a few other binary options companies that were being sued by the SEC or the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission). They impersonated SEC officials as part of an advanced-fee fraud scheme in which they deceived victims into forwarding them money. Approximately 95 individuals were targeted by this despicable scheme and 25 of them sent 235 thousand dollars in total to these swindlers.
What to Do if You Have Been Scammed
If you have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam, send a complaint to at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]), and we will do our very best to get into contact with you as soon as we can to initiate your funds recovery process.
submitted by asaston to u/asaston [link] [comments]

[Review] Ranking all the Switch shmups Ep25 - Q-YO Blaster

There was a time when I believed that shmups could only feature ships. Then games like Parodius came to challenge that belief. If an Octopus can be the player, then anything is possible. And don’t get me started on Cho Aniki…
When it comes to unusual characters for a shmup, it’s always a coin toss. They could either be the most fun you’ve had in a while or end up being a disappointment. Time for me to toss this coin!
Publisher: Forever entertainment
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 27, 2019
Price: $9.99
Tate: You can, but you might need to tilt your head
Q-YO Blaster is by far the strangest 2D horizontal shmup I’ve reviewed for this ranking list. The gameplay and mechanics aren’t anything particularly odd, but there’s something about the presentation and the lore which is legitimately fascinating. For some reason it feels like a game developed by someone out of this world who learned about our culture through animated movies.

SATURDAY MORNING SHMUP

One of the aspects that tipped me over the edge when deciding what to review was the art style. Keeping up with the animation vibe, Q-YO Blaster sports an old school cartoon art style. Enemies will be colorful creatures with quirky details such as baseball caps, big eyes or even Mickey Mouse styled gloves. Their animations are equally as comical whether it is their attack animation of their death animation.
Of course, cartoony can be used to describe maybe half of the style. The other half is probably more akin to a sci-fi coat of paint. Along the many bugs and animals, there’s also a great deal of robots, monsters, heavy weaponry and even blood running rampant (or maybe it’s oil?). It does makes sense considering the bugs came from space, and it definitely adds a touch of mystery when navigating through the stages of Q-YO Blaster.

EVERYONE IS HERE!

My original expectation of the game was to have a few pilots including the Q-YO, floating dog head from the screenshots and doggy airplane. Little did I know that Q-YO Blaster has more pilots than I have fingers in both of my hands.
Pilots are arranged into 3 different teams. Each pilot has different stats which include damage, speed and fire. The teams can have +damage, +endurance or a mixture of both. Fortunately, despite the outrageous pilot designs and sprites, their hitboxes are all the same. After picking your pilot, you can pick one of 7 different special weapons to round out your style. From whichever angle you want to watch it, Q-YO Blaster offers a crazy amount of customization options.
The defining feature of each team is their assistant. Assistant are powerful screen-wide effects that trigger once you fill the assistant gauge. The gauge can be filled by continuously shooting and defeating enemies. Once filled, you can hold the fire button to unleash its effect. The effects are a screen explosion that clears bullets, a temporary shield or a 360 barrage of missiles.

BUILDING YOUR OFFENSE

With all of the previous elements combined, you can play as one of 112 possible combinations of team, pilot and special weapons.
In terms of weapons at your disposal, you have 3: your basic shot, your special weapon and your assistant. Your basic shot is an infinite gun that shoots bullets straight ahead with some degree of spread. The first shot is always straight, so you can opt for manual rapid fire to keep a straight line of fire. Alternatively, you can hold the button and just auto-fire.
Occasionally, you’ll find power-up weapons flying around the stage. This power-ups will grant you a limited weapon when collected. These extra weapons are considerably faster than your basic shot at the cost of having limited ammo. They also have a unique effect on their very first shot, once more giving you a choice between manually shooting or going with the auto-fire.

ALSO BUILD YOUR DEFENSE

One defensive tool you have at your disposal is the pulse. Pulse clears every bullet on screen and turns them into gems. When collected, this gems will increase the level of your special weapon gauge. This special weapon will be whatever you picked on the character select, and has 3 different levels of strength depending on how many gems you have collected. It also comes with some slight invulnerability so you can use it to get out of sticky situations.
The caveat of pulse is that you can only carry 3 stocks, and it is only refilled by collecting extra pulse power-ups. I have mixed feelings about this limitation, as I feel it plays an integral part of your offensive game plan. Its hard limit prevents any smart usage other than just a get-out-of-jail card. I would have loved if it had a gauge like the assistant, as that would have created a balance between building pulse and shooting your special.

LITTLE ADVENTURES

Every stage carries a sort of familiar scenery. I like to think of it as Toy Story levels. Considering the characters are Q-YOs and bugs, it makes sense for the scenery to be a relatively small scale such as houses or gardens. I find them to be very charming, or it might be just my nostalgia kicking in because I grew up with Toy Story. Nonetheless, I really dig the stages.
At the end of each stage, there’s a very comical boss waiting for you. These bosses represent whichever vibe you got from the level. For example, the boss of the garden level is none other than Queen Bee herself. Bosses turn the action up to 11 featuring huge bullet patterns and significantly more aggressive tactics. My one complaint about the bosses is that they feel a lot like a flow chart. They have a couple of attacks and will cycle through them in the same order all the time. Assuming you can dodge them, it’s only a matter of repeating the same moves over and over until the boss goes down. This is even worse on the harder difficulties when the bosses have much more HP.
The most interesting aspects of the stages are the end rewards. Similar to many rogue-lite games, clearing a stage will let you choose a perk for the rest of your adventure. The perks are always the same, but include upgrades such as increased speed, faster shots or even 1ups.

STORY TIME!

Despite being a shmup, I really recommend paying attention to the story! It really is something else! I don’t think it actually makes much sense, but there’s something about the way it’s told that crashes my brain. It does have some powerful moments as well! Including that one stage with the sad music and the rain. I don’t want to spoil it, but it really hit me hard.
I didn’t delve too much into game modes, but there’s basically classic and arcade. Classic is your base mode with the entire story and 3 selectable difficulties. If you don’t want to go through the story every time (even though it is skippable), then arcade mode is for you. Arcade mode features 0 cutscenes, so it’s all fun and games. Arcade mode is also much harder, but has 99 continues.

HARDER ISN’T ALWAYS BETTER

I have to make one of my classic parenthesis to talk about difficulty. Being honest, I think the expert difficulty and to some extent arcade are pretty terrible. The reason is because of the way the game is balanced as a result of them. Harder difficulties feature faster bullets and more complex patterns, but also feature increased vitality for the enemies. The increased lethality of the enemies makes for a hearty challenge, but all good is wiped out by the tedium of enemy endurance.
What I found out was that enemies are very durable in the harder difficulties. Rather than creating a fun challenge, it makes it incredibly hard to destroy enemies. Most enemies feel like sponges that just refuse to die unless you have a special weapon. Some enemies feel outright impossible to kill before they leave the screen, an issue which hurts a lot when it comes to homing projectiles that need to be destroyed. Fun and dynamic dog fights become grindy situations where you focus on a single ship and fail to destroy it while having others flood the screen. I really think harder difficulties would have been better without the added HP on enemies but retaining the faster bullets and harder patterns.

SLOW AND STEADY DOESN’T WIN THE RACE

While on the topic of hard difficulties, the homing bullets are another culprit behind the reason the difficulty isn’t fun. I’ve never been a fan of homing attacks as they feel cheap, but it feels like it wasn’t play tested because some slower ships can’t actually avoid a homing shot without the speed upgrade. To be fair, no one shoots homing bullets on stage 1, so taking speed is utmost priority.
One thing I do like about speed is that most boss patterns allow you to dodge at high speed. You can’t slow your speed, so it’s nice that there isn’t finesse required to survive some waves.

A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME IN THE OVEN

If I was on a game show about quick words and someone mentioned “Q-YO Blaster”, my response would be “rough”. While some aspects of the game are really cool, there are other where it feels a little bit incomplete. Some enemies don’t match the visual quality of others such as Major Tomm. The UI and menus also seem to come from a prototype version.
There’s also a sort of bug where if you die and use a credit, the game immediately pauses. Not a big deal, but it feels out of place. The customization screen is also all sorts of blurry. You can’t remap controls either, which is a shame considering the shoulder buttons would really come in handy.
Most of these issues aren’t a big deal by themselves, but they taint the final product by making it feel a little like shovelware. The game is really fun though, so it is sad to think about having it fall under that umbrella.

FINAL WORDS

So the mandatory question is, is it fun? It definitely is! With its bizarre and unsettling vibe, Q-YO Blaster is still tons of fun to play. While there is certainly a lot of room for improvement, Q-YO Blaster is still a solid choice for a shmup if you are fan of the cartoon style, of the horizontal shmup format or just a fan of little critters in general.
THE RANKING SO FAR:
  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Devil Engine
  4. Rolling Gunner
  5. Blazing Star
  6. Jamestown+
  7. Tengai
  8. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  9. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  10. Sky Force: Reloaded
  11. Strikers 1945
  12. Black Paradox
  13. R-Type Dimensions EX
  14. Sine Mora EX
  15. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  16. Ghost Blade HD
  17. AngerForce: Reloaded
  18. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  19. Q-YO Blaster
  20. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  21. Pawarumi
  22. Red Death
  23. Task Force Kampas
  24. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  25. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to NintendoSwitch [link] [comments]

Wow, I played a lot of really good games in 2019!

This took me longer than I intended, but I wanted to do my own write-up of all the games I beat in 2019, and I had a lot of fun remembering all of them - in fact, I was actually kind of surprised at how many of the games were really great experiences (though there were a few underwhelming ones, too). Since there are a lot, I categorized them by genre to try to make it a little easier to read. Some titles are hopefully familiar so you can also reminisce, but hopefully some new to you, too, that you'll be encouraged to play. So here goes nothing...

RPGs

Shooters

Large open world games

Side-scrollers

3D action/adventure

Point and click adventures

3D puzzle games

Stealth

Horrothrillemystery

Interactive movies

Walking sims

Visual novels

Mobile games

Freeware

So that's it for 2019! I think my main takeaway is that I need to play more RPGs for 2020, and I am kind of missing a good JRPG in particular, though sometimes those are hard to commit to because of the time involved. But I suppose it's not about the number of games we beat; it's about the amount of fun we have playing them, right? :)
submitted by connorcinnamonroll to patientgamers [link] [comments]

Nintendo Switch Reviews: Shmup and 2-Stick Shooters

Here's the games I have reviewed so far on the Nintendo Switch in each genre, from best to worst. Note: If multiple games have the same score, they will be sorted alphabetically.
.

Shmup

Game Genre # of Players Score tl;dr
Ikaruga Bullet Hell Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) A- Ikaruga is a Bullet Hell Shmup that's at its best on the Switch, which not only plays smoothly while docked, but even has features to make the best use of the Switch in portable mode. If you like this genre, you need this game.
Jamestown+ Bullet Hell Shmup 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards A- Jamestown+ is a Bullet Hell Shmup that has players blasting 17th century colonial European troops and aliens in outer space. The bonkers setting comes with a fantastic presentation, some wonderful and clever game mechanics that add a lot of strategy, plenty of variety and imagination, and a superb co-op mode. It's a shame the game's structure makes you re-play levels repeatedly and forces its story on you over and over again, but overall this is one of the best games in this genre on the Switch.
Danmaku Unlimited 3 Bullet Hell Shmup 1, Online Leaderboards B+ Danmaku Unlimited 3 is a Bullet Hell Shmup that has players absorbing the bullets of defeated enemies and “grazing” live bullets to power up a “trance” meter for a temporary power boost. This is a solid and visually-striking entry in the genre, but the way players' attacks fill the screen with beams feels overpowered and can be distracting. Still, this is a must-have for fans of the genre.
Dimension Drive Bullet Hell Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Dimension Drive is a Bullet Hell Shmup with the unique hook of having players hopping back and forth between two screens. It's a great mechanic that's used very well here, though some players may have difficulty adjusting to it. Also, the game keeps interrupting things with its story. However, if you can learn how to deal with the unique gameplay, you'll find this to be a superb entry in the genre.
Graceful Explosion Machine Shmup 1 B+ Graceful Explosion Machine is a Shmup where players must cycle through four weapons to fend off different types of enemies. This weapon-managing element makes the game delightfully strategic for a Shmup, and the core gameplay here is really good as a result. I just wish it was properly implemented in an endless mode, and I wish the game's otherwise-excellent presentation wasn't marred by muffled sound. This is still a fantastic game, but a few small changes could have made this a must-have game on the Switch.
Horizon Shift '81 Arcade / Shmup 1 B+ Horizon Shift '81 is an Arcade-Style game with Shmup elements that incorporates elements of multiple early-80s retro arcade games while still bringing its own unique horizontal-swapping twist on the genre. This is a fantastic game and a wonderful love letter to an era of gaming, although like the games of that era it can be repetitive in places. Overall, this is a superb game well worth playing.
Indie Gems Bundle: Explosion Edition Compilation / Bullet Hell Shmup / Roguelike / 2-Stick Shooter / Match-3 Puzzle 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards B+ Indie Gems Bundle: Explosions Edition is a Compilation of three Action-packed games, each of them ranging from good to great. If you're a fan of Shmups and 2-Stick shooters, you're bound to find something to love in this package, even if the savings over purchasing these games individually is minimal.
Just Shapes & Beats Bullet Hell Shmup / Music-Rhythm 1-4 Co-Op (Local) B+ Just Shapes & Beats is a Bullet Hell Shmup where you can't shoot, you can only dodge as the screen throws all manner of obstacles at you to the beat of some amazing music. It's a difficult, punishing game, but if you fancy a challenge, this game is well worth a look.
Sky Force Reloaded Bullet Hell Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Sky Force Reloaded combines quality bullet hell Shmup-style gameplay with RPG-style upgrades in a way that encourages players to keep coming back, along with a good presentation. Fans of the genre should definitely give this one a try.
Sky Racket Shmup / Arcade Brick Breaker 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Sky Racket is a family-friendly game that combines the Shmup and Brick Breaker genres into one fun, cohesive style of gameplay with a fantastic, colorful, expressive art style and some absolutely superb co-op play. There are a few frustrating flaws that may result in you taking a few unearned hits on occasion, but otherwise this game is a joy to play, especially if you have a friend to play it with.
Super Hydorah Bullet Hell Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Super Hydorah is a Bullet Hell Shmup that is very clearly imitating the classic Gradius games, and for the most part, it succeeds at this brilliantly. The music is forgettable, and the power-up system is a bit more limited than the Gradius games, but the gameplay here is still superb, and the game does some really inventive stuff with Co-Op, especially with the surprisingly good Robot Chase minigame. Definitely worth a look for fans of the genre.
Aqua Kitty UDX Bullet Hell Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local, Online) B Aqua Kitty UDX is a Shmup with three game modes - two being similar to the classic game Defender, and one like the classic game Uridium. The presentation here is very good, and the core gameplay is solid, with good co-op, but a number of frustrating design choices cause the game to be overly difficult and frustrating. It's still worth a look for genre fans and those looking for a more challenging experience, though.
Q-YO Blaster Bullet Hell Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B Q-YO Blaster is a Bullet Hell Shmup. It's a decent game that plays well, but the most memorable thing about it are its absurd heroes and oddball bug-themed enemies. Definitely a solid pick for fans of the genre.
Sega Ages Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar Shmup 1, Online Leaderboards B Lightening Force, also known as Thunder Force IV, is a Shmup originally released on the Sega Genesis in 1992, and this version marks its only other US release since then. This is a game that has aged noticeably, with issues both in its graphics and gameplay. However, despite this, the gameplay is on the whole pretty good, and this is a solid port with a good amount of extra features. Fans of Shmups should definitely give this a look.
Steredenn: Binary Stars Bullet Hell Shmup / Roguelike 1-2 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards B Steredenn is a Bullet Hell Shmup that incorporates elements of Roguelikes into its game progression. The presentation here is phenomenal, with fantastic pixel art graphics and a great soundtrack, however, the randomized elements and some questionable design choices make for a game that's even more difficult than the usual Shmup, making this a game mostly only the biggest fans of the genre will have the patience for.
Startide 2-Stick Shooter / Bullet Hell Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B Startide combines 2-Stick shooter and Shmup genre conventions and adds in some novel ideas of its own, with some excellent, fast-paced, quality gameplay... that's unfortunately marred by a slew of design flaws and annoyances. It's still very good, but it could have been so much better.
Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection Compilation / Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B- Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection is a collection of mostly Shmups that includes eight games that are mostly pretty good (and also mostly punishingly difficult). This collection gives players a wealth of options and bonus content, and on the whole this is a solid collection of games for Shmup fans
Don't Die, Mr Robot! DX Bullet Hell Shmup / Arcade 1 B- Don't Die, Mr Robot! DX is an Arcade-Style Shmup where you're dodging enemies and collecting pickups to set off explosions in your wake. Think Geometry Wars' Pacifism mode. The presentation is horrendous, but the gameplay is strangely compelling and there are enough features here to keep fans of Shmups coming back.
Inversus Deluxe Arcade / Shmup 1-4 Competitive (Local/Online) B- Inversus Deluxe is an Arcade-style game with Shmup elements where the shots you and opponents fire also limit the area you can move freely in. It's an interesting concept, but a limited number of shots players can fire before reload really mucks with the otherwise fast-paced battles.
Raiden V: Director's Cut Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards, Other Online Features B- Raiden V is a Shmup that offers a good amount of variety in its weapons and settings, and while it makes some odd choices and has a few flaws, it's still a decent entry in the genre worth trying out.
Velocity 2X Action-Platformer / Shmup 1 B- Velocity 2X is a game that jumps back and forth between Action-Platformer and Shmup gameplay styles, with a focus on speed and being able to teleport around the levels as you zip through them. It's fun gameplay, but it's somewhat marred by a frustrating control scheme that you can't change.
Black Bird Shmup 1 C+ Black Bird is a Shmup that doesn't do anything truly unique in terms of gameplay, but its presentation is so bizarre that it compels you to see more. Not a game for everyone, but worth a look if you want to see something really different.
Black Paradox Bullet Hell Shmup / Roguelike 1-2 Co-Op (Local) C+ Black Paradox is a Bullet Hell Shmup that has you flying a ship designed to look like a Delorean. The game has good gameplay, but the high difficulty and slow upgrade progression makes this a game only fans of the genre are likely to thoroughly enjoy.
Jet Lancer 2D Flight Combat Game 1 C+ Jet Lancer is a 2D Flight Combat game that has you performing aerial maneuvers in a jet fighter in battles with enemy jets, as well as various other enemies. Flying around your jet in this game feels fantastic, but the limited size of the screen relative to how fast these aircraft fly gives players far too little time to react to what's going on, making for an experience that alternates between joy and frustration.
Rogue Aces 2D Flight Combat Game 1 C+ Rogue Aces is a 2D Flight Combat game with Roguelike elements that has players fighting off enemies and capturing bases using their plane. The game has some inventive mechanics and potentially fun physics, but it seems designed to frustrate players by making them die repeatedly not to enemies, but to the landscape. The result is a game that will only be enjoyed by those willing to really get used to this game's physics... and even then, they're still likely die a lot.
Sega Ages Fantasy Zone Shmup 1, Online Leaderboards C+ Fantasy Zone is a Shmup originally released to arcades in 1986, and some parts of it have aged pretty well, like its presentation. Other parts of the game, like its promising but frustrating upgrade system... not so much. While this is a solid port with a good amount of bonus features, it's ultimately still a game most will want to pass on.
Alien Cruise Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards C Alien Cruise is a Shmup with a cartoony art style that looks like it's been drawn by a child. This is a decent but unspectacular and forgettable Shmup that doesn't really stand out.
Cycle 28 2D Space Shooter / Roguelike 1 C Cycle 28 is a 2D Space Shooter that controls like Asteroids, but with a Roguelike game structure. There are some good ideas here and some classic arcade-style gameplay, but those good ideas aren't well-utilized, and overall the game is too repetitive.
Hyperlight Ultimate Bullet Hell Shmup / Arcade 1-4 Competitive (Local) C Hyperlight Ultimate is an Arcade-style Shmup where players bash into enemies with a charge attack instead of shooting them. It's a good take on the formula, but unfortunately some design issues makes this more tedious and frustrating than it needs to be.
Pacific Wings Shmup 1 C Pacific Wings is a Shmup that imitates classic games in the genre like 1942. This game does a great job capturing that nostalgia, but the lack of auto-fire makes this game tedious to play, and the underwhelming sound and lack of multiplayer limit how long you'll bother to stick with the game.
R-Type Dimensions EX Compilation / Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards C R-Type Dimensions EX is a Compilation and remake of two classic Shmups, and while this version improves the graphics and adds plenty of features, including some meant to help with the game's incredibly high difficulty, those features can only help so much when the original games were seemingly designed to be nearly impossible. This is a game only genre fans can appreciate.
Aces of the Luftwaffe - Squadron Bullet Hell Shmup 1-4 Co-Op (Local) C- Aces of the Luftwaffe is a bullet hell shmup that has you controlling a squadron of four wingmen with unique abilities and personalities. This game has some really great and unique ideas, but it's also plagued with design issues and control issues that keep it from delivering on the game's potential.
Escape From the Universe Shmup 1 C- Escape From the Universe is a Shmup with a simple look and gameplay that makes the screen scroll more quickly depending on where you move onscreen. Unfortunately, both the visuals and gameplay get repetitive and boring pretty quickly, making for a dull experience.
Hyper Sentinel Shmup 1, Online Leaderboards C- Hyper Sentinel is a Shmup that aims to be the spiritual sequel to the classic game Uridium, and while fans of that original title may enjoy it, I honestly found it to be a bit of a confusing mess, and there are plenty of other games in this genre on the Switch I'd rather be playing.
Overdriven Reloaded: Special Edition Bullet Hell Shmup 1-4 Co-Op (Local) C- Overdriven Reloaded is a Bullet Hell Shmup that uses a color-switching mechanic like Ikaruga. However, unlike Ikaruga, this game doesn't seem to know how to use it, and otherwise the game is just a crowded mess - and not in a good way.
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2-Stick Shooter

Game Genre # of Players Score tl;dr
X-Morph Defense Tower Defense / Two-Stick Shooter 1 A X-Morph: Defense mixes the Tower Defense genre with the Two-Stick Shooter to create something even better, with impressively detailed environments and some really inventive gameplay. This game is a blast to play, and while the Switch version is sadly missing some features, it's still an absolutely wonderful game.
Assault Android Cactus+ 2-Stick Shooter 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards A- Assault Android Cactus is a 2-Stick Shooter that has some fun, unique mechanics and a lot of great, intense action. It's a blast to play in co-op, and the Switch version is the definitive version of the game. I only wish the sub-weapon dodge-swapping mechanic was better-utilized, and the levels looked more distinct. But those are minor complaints about what is a fantastic game on the Switch.
Hotline Miami Collection Compilation / Top-Down Action / 2-Stick Shooter 1 A- Hotline Miami Collection is a pair of solid Top-Down Action games with a colorful 80s-inspired presentation and intense action that makes players consider their plan of attack. It's a solid experience, although the first Hotline Miami game is clearly the better of the two, thanks to the more cohesive story and better level design.
My Friend Pedro Action-Platformer / 2-Stick Shooter 1 A- My Friend Pedro is an Action-Platformer with Two-Stick Shooter controls that has players involved in acrobatic gunfights at the command of a talking banana. This game's intense, ridiculous action is a blast to play, and while there's a bit of repetition here and there, for the most part this game does an amazing job keeping things fresh and entertaining. A must-have for action game fans.
Neon Abyss Action-Platformer / 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike 1 A- Neon Abyss is an Action-Platformer with Roguelike elements that feels a lot like the designers were going for a side-scrolling neon-lit Binding of Isaac, and they largely hit their mark spot-on. Only a few technical flaws keep this game from reaching the same height as that classic Roguelike, but it's still a phenomenal Action game.
NeuroVoider 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards A- NeuroVoider is a combination of Two-Stick Shooter and Roguelike that has you fighting an army of robots, stealing their parts, and then using them to upgrade your own capabilities. It's an incredibly fun game with great co-op, a fantastic presentation, and tons of variety and customization. The randomized level design and enemy AI could have used a bit of work, but on the whole this is an absolutely fantastic game that should be owned by anyone who enjoys a good Action game.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike 1-4 Co-Op (Local) A- The Binding of Isaac is a Two-Stick Shooter Roguelike that places you in the role of a young child fighting grotesque monsters with his tears. It's a lot of fun, but the roguelike elements can make any given playthrough very hit-and-miss, which can be frustrating. It's still well worth playing, though.
Akane Top-Down Action/2-Stick Shooter / Arcade 1 B+ Akane is an Arcade-y top-down Action game that has players as a lone woman fighting off the entire Yakuza using only a gun and a sword. It's a game that channels Kill Bill and John Wick extremely well, with some really fun action. Unfortunately, the game is lacking in variety and progression, but the core gameplay here is phenomenal and well worth playing for fans of Action games.
Bleed 2 Action-Platformer / 2-Stick Shooter 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Bleed 2 is an Action-Platformer and 2-Stick Shooter with a simple, cartoony presentation and a silly story about a girl fending off an invasion. This game improves on the first one in almost every way, with even better action, better visuals, a great soundtrack, and the same wonderful variety, great level design, and excellent co-op. However, where it doesn't improve on the first game is value - the main campaign can still be finished in an hour or so, and the extra game modes don't stretch things out much more than that. For $20, I simply cannot recommend this game, but definitely get it if you see it on sale.
Bleed Complete Bundle Compilation / Action-Platformer / 2-Stick Shooter 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Bleed Complete Bundle includes Bleed and Bleed 2, both excellent Action-Platformers with 2-Stick Shooter gunplay, and both also extremely short and extremely overpriced games. Much as with the individual games, if you can get this collection at a discount, absolutely do so because the games are immensely fun. However, even with the savings this bundle provides, it's still horribly overpriced at its normal price.
Debris Infinity 2-Stick Shooter 1-2 Co-Op/Competitive (Local), Online Leaderboards B+ Debris Infinity is a Two-Stick Shooter that's like a mash-up of Geometry Wars and Asteroids. It looks good, plays well, and the Slow-Mo feature actually brings something interesting to the table. The game is a bit short on features, but what's here is top-notch.
Enter the Gungeon 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Enter the Gungeon is a two-stick shooter with roguelike elements that packs a lot of fun gameplay and a high difficulty level. An excellent game for fans of the genre looking for a challenge.
Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 Action-Platformer / 2-Stick Shooter 1-4 Co-Op (Local, Online) B+ Guns, Gore, and Cannoli 2 is an Action-Platformer that takes the basic idea of the first game and greatly improves on it, adding in 2-stick aiming, fixing the controls, and making the gameplay much more fast-paced. It's still repetitive at times, but overall this is a pretty good game.
Indie Gems Bundle: Explosion Edition Compilation / Bullet Hell Shmup / Roguelike / 2-Stick Shooter / Match-3 Puzzle 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards B+ Indie Gems Bundle: Explosions Edition is a Compilation of three Action-packed games, each of them ranging from good to great. If you're a fan of Shmups and 2-Stick shooters, you're bound to find something to love in this package, even if the savings over purchasing these games individually is minimal.
Inferno 2 2-Stick Shooter 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Inferno 2 is a straightforward 2-Stick Shooter that has solid gameplay, a slick presentation, and good Co-Op. It's a bit on the easy side, but fans of the genre will find it to be an excellent choice, especially for its low price tag.
Rive: Ultimate Edition 2-Stick Shooter / Action-Platformer 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B+ Rive is a combination of 2-Stick Shooter and Action-Platformer that does a great job pushing intense action and a good amount of variety of enemies and combat situations. I wish the game's upgrade system was more fleshed-out, but what's here is solid.
Transcripted 2-Stick Shooter / Match-3 Puzzle 1 B+ Transcripted is a game that combines Two-Stick Shooter gameplay with match-3 Puzzle gameplay similar to Zuma. While the two gameplay styles don't always get along well with each other, for the most part this is a pretty cohesive gameplay experience that's satisfying, unique, and features a superb presentation.
Bleed Action-Platformer / 2-Stick Shooter 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B Bleed is an Action-Platformer and 2-Stick Shooter with a simple, cartoony presentation and a silly story about a young woman hunting down heroes to prove she's a better hero. The gameplay here is absolutely fantastic, with some really inventive level design, great controls, a lot of variety, and excellent co-op. Unfortunately, this game is painfully short and insultingly overpriced, and as good as it is, I cannot recommend spending $15 for what amounts to about an hour of gameplay. If you can get it on sale at a good price, definitely do, but otherwise it isn't worth the cost.
Darksiders Genesis Top-Down Action-RPG / 2-Stick Shooter 1-2 Co-Op (Local, Local Wireless, Online) B Darksiders Genesis is a Diablo-Style Top-Down Action-RPG that's a prequel and spinoff of the main Darksiders game that focuses on the first game's protagonist, War, along with new protagonist, Strife (the latter who plays like a Two-Stick Shooter). While it's a decent game that brings a fair few original ideas to the genre, the lack of loot makes the whole thing feel a lot more repetitive and as a result it's not quite as engaging as multiple other games in the genre on the Nintendo Switch.
Iron Crypticle 2-Stick Shooter / Arcade 1-4 Co-Op (Local) B Iron Crypticle is an Arcade-style 2-Stick Shooter that plays like Smash TV with a Ghosts 'N Goblins aesthetic. It's a game with good, arcadey action that works well in co-op, though it's not without its issues here and there.
Rock Boshers DX: Director's Cut 2-Stick Shooter 1 B Rock Boshers is a 2-Stick Shooter styled to look like old ZX Spectrum games. Beyond its aesthetic, it doesn't do anything especially noteworthy, but it's still pretty fun. Worth a look.
Startide 2-Stick Shooter / Bullet Hell Shmup 1-2 Co-Op (Local) B Startide combines 2-Stick shooter and Shmup genre conventions and adds in some novel ideas of its own, with some excellent, fast-paced, quality gameplay... that's unfortunately marred by a slew of design flaws and annoyances. It's still very good, but it could have been so much better.
12 is Better Than 6 Top-Down Action / 2-Stick Shooter 1 C+ 12 is Better Than 6 is a Top-Down Action/2-Stich Shooter game where one shot kills, much like the Hotline Miami games. Unfortunately, graphical choices result in a game that's filled with a lot of frustration that makes this far less fun than the Hotline Miami games.
Battlesloths 2-Stick Shooter / Party Game 1-4 Competitive (Local) C+ Battlesloths is a multiplayer-focused 2-Stick Shooter with a Party Game atmosphere where players take the role of pizza-loving sloths fighting in various arenas with an assortment of weaponry. The core gameplay here is good, but the constant stop-go pattern of action and waiting is frustrating and makes it hard to enjoy that fun gameplay.
Blazing Beaks 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike 1-4 Co-Op/Competitive (Local) C+ Blazing Beaks is a 2-Stick Shooter with Roguelike elements with a cartoony pixel art presentation featuring anthropomorphic birds with guns. Unfortunately, the game's high difficulty doesn't really fall in line with the cartoony presentation, and the nice unique features the game has only add to that difficulty. Action fans looking for a challenge might enjoy this, but I did not.
The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human Metroidvania / 2-Stick Shooter 1 C+ The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human is a Metroidvania with 2-Stick Shooter gameplay where players command a submarine searching the ruins of humanity to see what went wrong. This game absolutely nails the atmosphere, but the challenge level on the bosses is so steep that most players will probably lost interest after dying a dozen times or so.
Implosion Action-RPG / 2-Stick Shooter 1 C Implosion is an Action-RPG with some 2-Stick Shooter mechanics that has players fighting mutants using a human-size mech. The game has some enjoyable combat and a promising loot system, but the combat gets repetitive quickly and the loot system isn't varied or deep enough to be engaging. Oh, and the 2-Stick Shooter elements are poorly-implemented. This isn't a terrible game, but players interested in this sort of thing have multiple better options on the Switch.
Utopia 9 - A Volatile Vacation 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike 1-2 Co-Op (Local) C Utopia 9 - A Volatile Vacation is a 2-Stick ShooteRoguelike that has a lot of inventive ideas for a different spin on the genre, but its dreadfully slow pacing saps much of the fun out of the experience.
Blacksea Odyssey 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike 1 C- Blacksea Odyssey is a Two-Stick Shooter with Roguelike elements that is basically Captain Ahab In Space. That sounds really cool, but the terribly slow combat and sluggish movement make it hard to get into, and players will likely find the game too tedious to want to play for very long.
Energy Invasion Arcade Brick Breaker / 2-Stick Shooter 1 C- Energy Invasion is a cross between a 2-Stick Shooter and an Arcade-style brick breaker game like Arkanoid. Unfortunately, the game feels unpolished and not especially welcoming to players getting used to its odd concept.
Planetary Defense Force Tower Defense / Two-Stick Shooter 1 D+ Planetary Defense Force mixes the Tower Defense genre with the 2-Stick Shooter, having players defend a spherical planet from an alien invasion. Unfortunately, the spherical map makes it difficult to keep track of what's going on, the game doesn't do a good job of indicating important information the player needs, and the individual elements themselves are not very satisfying. The result is a frustrating game that's not worth playing.
Contra: Rogue Corps 2-Stick Shooter 1-4 Co-Op (Local, Local Wireless, Online) D Contra: Rogue Corps is a 3D Action game with 2-Stick Shooter mechanics that doesn't really play much like the other games in the Contra series, and has some severe, glaring flaws. That said, it's not completely unenjoyable, and it doesn't really earn its reputation as one of the worst games of 2019... but it's not a good game, by any stretch.
submitted by CaspianX2 to eShopperReviews [link] [comments]

NeuroVoider for Nintendo Switch - Review

NeuroVoider

Genre: 2-Stick Shooter / Roguelike
Players: 1-4 Co-Op (Local), Online Leaderboards
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Review:
Note: This game is included in Indie Gems Bundle: Explosions Edition along with Steredenn: Binary Stars and Transcripted.
NeuroVoider is a 2-Stick Shooter with Roguelike elements that has you playing as a human brain taking over a robot and rampaging through hordes of other robots, collecting the spare parts your destruction leaves in its wake, and using them to upgrade your machine.
This game's visual presentation is good, with solid pixel art graphics that actually change how your character looks based on each part you swap out, and with visual effects that are nicely varied and feel very satisfying - when you get a really good new weapon, it does a great job making you feel like a bad ass.
However, while the visuals are good, the sound is wonderful, with a techno/chiptune "dark synth" soundtrack by Dan Terminus full of digitized vocals that gives this game a great futuristic cyberpunk feel. This is complimented by weapon sounds that only add to the fun of shooting off volleys of ammunition, with the payoff of a delightful popping sound every time you bring down an enemy.
The gameplay here is every bit as fun as the presentation, with a wide variety of weapons and other parts to give players a lot of freedom to customize their own personal death machine. Players start out by picking one of three classes and a special ability, but as they progress through their run, they'll be collecting a huge number of components to adjust the stats and payload of your machine, and there never seems to be a shortage of good options.
The game does a good job rolling all of this into the 4-player co-op too, having players share a screen during the fighting, but then splitting up the menus so everyone can manage their own parts in-between levels. There's also a daily challenge for those looking to best the scores of others online in a mode where the otherwise-randomized levels are locked-down into one configuration per day.
There are a few complaints I can make, though. Firstly, because the stage design is randomized, there doesn't seem much rhyme or reason to it, resulting in a lot of wandering around until you stumble into the reactors you need to destroy to finish the level. This can at times result in the reactor spawning laughably close to your starting point, something that becomes even more annoying when you wander off in the opposite direction in search of it.
The other issue with this game is I found it to be a bit on the easy side, thanks in part to enemy AI that isn't very bright - you quickly discover that the easiest way to get through levels is often hit-and-run tactics and hiding behind cover, inching out until you get a few more enemies blindly rushing towards you, and then jumping back to safety.
However, despite these flaws, NeuroVoider is still an absolute blast to play, with a huge amount of variety and customization paired with a wonderfully visceral action-packed experience. If you're a fan of Two-Stick Shooters, Roguelikes, or even just good Action games, you absolutely should play this game.
tl;dr - NeuroVoider is a combination of Two-Stick Shooter and Roguelike that has you fighting an army of robots, stealing their parts, and then using them to upgrade your own capabilities. It's an incredibly fun game with great co-op, a fantastic presentation, and tons of variety and customization. The randomized level design and enemy AI could have used a bit of work, but on the whole this is an absolutely fantastic game that should be owned by anyone who enjoys a good Action game.

Grade: A-

submitted by CaspianX2 to eShopperReviews [link] [comments]

[Spoilers] So, I promised to write a tirade on what I think is wrong with CDDA, and how I'd refocus the game on a GD level, and here it is.

And do not get me wrong, it absolutely still is my #1 favorite game, it just has some.. really, really major glaring flaws. Let me pre-emptively apologize for how meandery this post is, and warn you that if you never got far in the game, you might want to avoid the spoilers. If you don't want to read all of it, please read the "What is wrong with CDDA" section, and the "tl;dSummary" one, they are the most important outline of what I'm talking about, the rest can be a bit incoherent/implausible.
I would also like to ping mlangsdorf, and kevingranade, as well as Raskov75 and TechnicalBen who have shown interest in this topic when I mentioned it in another thread a few days ago.
I have difficulty keeping my mind on track on my own, so if you asked me pointed question, I could probably come up with better than the idealized thoughts below.
I would be grateful to anyone who reads it.

What is wrong with CDDA.

In a way, I think that CDDA is a game that kinda hinges entirely on its complexity and amount of content, rather than utilizing it cleverly. I absolutely adore some aspects of it: The way crafting supports alternative materials to add depth to resource management, the systemic repaireinforcement/modification of some items, how much you can do with vehicles, and I truly love the earlygame, and I loved figuring the game out too, but I wish it had lasted longer, far longer. Once you know what to do, the game loses most of its depth.
First off, the problem with progression in cdda is, rather than a set or graph of fuzzy progression milestones, that you can revisit and do better, it's more of a checklist. Of tools, of books, of skill levels, and sadly, most of that reduces to an extremely routine process of surviving the earlygame, and then just accumulating books+tools and enough food to coast by, until you're ready to level up and leave the early(and mid) game behind. And most of that progression reduces to a single central measure. You either get stronger through an action, or you don't, there is mostly no real "sideways" progression.
It's a common complaint I have with RPG games, and admittedly, Cata does far better on this front than they do, but it's still kinda bad, especially starting a new character - in a game with long-term progression like CDDA, when starting a new character, you have two options, either go through the same methodology from scratch, or... yup, just read your last character's books before butchering it for bionics. Neither is great fun.
And furthermore, as you progress, you just... leave content behind. You quickly reach a point where normal zombies, and even the brutes, mean nothing to you, much less the animals or the woods. Most of the world just goes off your mental map, as irrelevant. From that point, there is nothing you have genuine "reason" to do, beyond just your own whim. Once you know how to stay safe, the main endgame location, labs, are honestly trivial, and once you figure a certain item out, they stop even being capable of posing a risk unless you get brutally careless.

What I'd do instead

And some of these changes are gonna be... major, some implausible at this point into the game's development. Nonetheless, please treat the below as food for thought, rather than anything more definitive. I also struggled a lot to order and organize this, so forgive me.

1. Skills

First off, and you'll see why I'm proposing this in subsequent sections: IMO, skills would be far better, if they were split into individual "microskills", e.g. Electronics would be a "field", rather than a "skill", which would contain individual subskills such as soldering, signal processing, power, basic/intermediate/advanced circuit theory, microprocessors, bionics, etc.
Furthermore, rather than have a single level, each skill would have three sequential components, the proportion of each depending on the skill in question: Concept, theory, practice. A well-educated human, for example, might know the concept behind basic mechanics, and thus be able to - eventually - improvise upon it, or figure out the outline of basic electronics by studying an advanced book, but on the other hand, just reading an electronics 101 doesn't instantly make you an expert on soldering.
And yes, I'm aware that that sounds like a huge pain in the ass to manage, which brings me to the rationale behind it: I think that expecting and requiring a sole survivor to become fully self-sufficient and capable of all, on their own, is batshit, which brings me to the second point:

2. Survivors

2.1. Interactions and knowledge.

IMO, in an open-ended game, there is only one way to do dialogue, namely through a topic system much like Morrowind's, where your top-level interface uses fixed hotkeys, for main "verbs" such as "Talk about...", "Tasks", "Trade", "Training"(both ways), "Rules", "Goodbye", and then subscreens which feature the actual options, where you should be able to ask the NPC about cities they have visited, or the one they come from, to gather information, about other landmarks or creatures/species/people they encountered.
The system does not need to be elaborate, but it needs to be organized, and capable of supporting simple systematic communication of knowledge, ideally both ways, as well as how it affects your reputation. Caves of Qud has a great system1
Aside from skills, NPCs should have other "knowledge", such as that about cities, creatures, or that you murdered their companion and they hate you for it, or that they have a health problems they need you to fix(or try to fix themselves, if they spot the right item), that interact and affect their behaviodialogue in at least basic ways. I have no idea how far such a system could be taken, so I'll not propose anything further.
1 possibly based on a long-ass suggestion post I pitched to the dev years ago, but I'm very probably just giving myself airs

2.2. Pooling resources together

Instead of singular player characters that exist in a vaccuum, fully capable of becoming an expert at everything through the previous character's books, I would base the game itself around creating a faction of NPCs with distinct backgrounds and skills, and the ability to learn and teach each other. Many crafts would take more time, but rather than being executed by the PC, they would be done by the NPC, who would slowly become masters of their craft, and when you die, the accumulated knowledge survives not through books you've got around, but through other characters who have polished those skills.
After death, you would be able to switch to another character of your faction - and have to deal with their traits and quirks, would probably be pretty fun as well. It would also mean that "succession" can't instantly make you OP again through books, and despite losing less, you would have to invest more than just boring grind into regaining what you lost. Being able to switch between characters during a run, could potentially also be fun.
Furthermore, this would give a good reason to create bases, not by gating certain crafts or speeding tasks up behind NPC factions, but by giving them real, meaningful utility of being capable of much the same things as you, except in the background so you don't have to grind manually for days. Instead of leveling a single survivor up into a walking death machine capable of every craft, you'd be doing what humans have always done naturally: Pooling resources together, and advancing as a "society".
And bases bring me to my third point:

3. Static vs mobile bases.

3.1 Static bases.

And the "vs" here is more to highlight the fact that there is simply no competition. Not only is vehicle building more fleshed out, but also capable of more, with less hassle, and on the move. Even if you wanted to avoid vehicles, there are no static alternatives: Fridges don't work, ovens don't work, there isn't welding rig or UPS furniture, no power grids, convenient liquid storage, or.. anything, really.
I think that the game would be much more fun, if the player had both the ability and reason to "colonize" buildings, both earlier and later on. The ability to drag some freezers, fridges, ovens together, connecting them to a generator, or some other local non-vehicle source of power, would provide a new aspect of the game. Right now, even if you decide to build a base, there is extremely little you can do with it, majority of what you build is just cosmetic, honestly.
Ideally, static constructions would be "modular" like vehicle tiles, like being able to install curtains over metal bars or a door frame or run wiring through walls, or replace an oven's power cord with a wireless replacement or internal generator... possibly even make engines/etc. generate multiple resources, e.g. heat as well as horsepower.
I also think that all objects in the game should follow the same overall durability systems: A combination of static tiles' damage absorption, vehicle parts' HP, and items' durability levels. Like I said, many things that would be a huge PITA to change, at this point.

3.2. Vehicles:

Aside from the mentioned above durability change, IMO, vehicles would be much better off, if they needed transmission axles, wiring, and piping. This way, merging two vehicles through any kind of connector could keep them separate, while also imposing more constraints on vehicle construction, leading to the process being a bit more involved, and the ability to make components interact with each other in a slightly more systemic way - now faucets connect to the tank they're connected to. What happens if you use alcohol for coolant?
But of course, the most important thing with regards to progression is:

4. Crafting

4.1. Success and progress.

One thing I would change is, instead of a sort of... ambiguous mechanic of "You resume your task", I would create temporary "unfinished " items for in-progress crafting, of any kind.
Second, I think that craft success/failure is too binary, and I would replace it with a system, where you are given the stated chance of crafting what you want, and rather than failing at the end, at some point you can get a prompt "You have made a mistake and wasted %nx %material, use another and continue?", so that even at far lower skill levels - as long as you know the concept/theory - you can eventually craft what you want, in a semi-deterministic manner.
Thirdly, whenever you waste, destroy, etc. a component/item, it should fall apart into "breaks into" items, rather than vanishing from existence. A lot of those scraps should be useless, but I am opposed to objects vanishing out of existence on principle, especially when it contributes to a "hoard until you get the maximum use out of your resources" dynamic in terms of crafting.

4.2. Components and item modification

I firmly believe that part of what makes vehicles amazing, is the way you can compose different available components, figure out what you can make with them, and how to achieve it, and gun/clothing modification is also fun, but...
In terms of CDDA: I think that those modifications should also be blueprints, and that there should be more of them, based on a twofold system: Modification capacity, and modification consequences. For example, a coat might have 0/2 lining, 0/4 padding, 0/1 coating slots, and each filled slot results in extra encumbrance based on both the item's suitability for modification and the specific mod you do. You should be able to add thermoelectric lining to items, "coat" it with rain-resistant filament, pad it with both some kevlar and extra pockets, e.g. tailor your own gear yourself. IMO, as many items as possible should be the "basis" for the player to work on, rather than a final end-goal, like the survivor clothing.
Wouldn't it be fun to make your own, custom survivor suit out of the best items you can find, rather than just rush towards some single goal craftable? What if you could add nails to wooden weaponry as a mod, electrify any melee weapon, serrate the blade of your trusty kukri, or coat your arrows in poison?
In terms of a game I'd make: I would make as many items as possible the sum of their parts, rather than a single static object, e.g. give every item a specialized "inventory" for components. Those components would be stuff like spark plugs for engines, stock/sights/etc. for firearms, different types batteries for electronics, CPUs, a battery compartment(to replace it with a corded/ups/etc. one), an accumulator or a betteworse sawblade.. point is, you should be able to juryrig and improvise over broken components, pool items together for parts, and repair of furniture, items, objects, could become a more involved process than "do I have the right tool and material chunk to repair".
A good example would be being able to create a battery cell of several individual sub-cells, e.g. make the first one a remotely rechargeable UPS sub-battery, then two normally rechargeable ones, and finally a plutonium mini-battery, in the case you really need your tool for an emergency.

4.3. Recipes

First off, I think that all types of blueprints should be consolidated, into the same overarching system, so they can make use of features implemented for each other. Also feel free to read the tl;dr of this section first.
Features such as for example, extending qualities from tool qualities only, to component qualities. E.g. not "bone glue or glue or duct tape", but "mquality: adhesive: 1", as well as the ability to define some components as affecting the end result's properties: Weight, durability, how handy it is to use as a tool. Ideally, those qualities would have more than a single value, which would depend on the quality itself. For example, the "fabric" quality would feature encumbrance, durability, protection values.
Some tools might be faster than others, some might impact craft success probability negatively. Ideally, that would be indicated through a relatively simple interface, like (150% speed, 90% success) after the selected tool.
Alas, at this point reworking recipes like this would be... impossible, pretty much. It's something that'd need to be tested from scratch, carefully adjusted, and figured out, to avoid bogging the player down. I am leaning towards having multiple-stage processes like construction, where individual tools/materials affect a specific stage, and the properties of the final object are defined through either a simple domain specific language, e.g. durability="min(mat1.adhesive/3, 1) * mat2.hardness * 10". OR simpler and perhaps better, mqualities could just have a numerical rating indicating how good they are for that purpose(e.g. as a bar, as armor, or as meat), and their contribute either to craft success, craft speed, or whichever property the current craft stage governs.
tl;dr: Perhaps this would need to be sawed down and simplified, but the premise here is: I would like to give the player actual reason to stay on the lookout for better tools, materials, and components, and only part of it as a "checklist" of things to find, with plenty to figure out and improvise on your own. Rather than making a survivor winter coat, why not figure out which animal's fur is the warmest, and line your greatcoat with it? Find and pursue the solution yourself, especially when it means adapting to this strange new world.

5. The environment.

5.1. Dynamic environment

What I would do here, is create the notion of "groups" of zombies, animals, or survivors, which have some very basic AI simulated on the world map, that is only realized into actual herds/lairs/buildings once you're close enough. You should be able to realize that there's been giant bees raiding you recently, and that that means there has to be a new nest nearby, that wolves have wandered close, and probably have a lair, or find migrating ants on the way to establish a new colony. E.g. a combination of "dynamic environment" and "dynamic locations" to raid/cleautilize.

5.2. Procgen improvements

First off, a small one: IMO, loot generation should be switched to first choosing an item or bundle of items, and then allocate it into containers, so that if a gunstore generates a 9mm firearm, it also generates a magazine for it, and a stack or two of 9mm ammo. It could also be used to create "types" of say restaurants, independent from the actual building.
Second off, rather than choosing a random building, IMO, there should be more instances of a part of a building being chosen randomly from a few variants with different layouts.

5.3. Challenge and combat.

Needs to be toned way down in terms of vertical progression, albeit... one way in which lower-level enemies could stay relevant, would be to adopt a HP system like Exanima's, where you can take either "hard" damage(cutting/piercing/hard bashing), or "soft" that regenerates fast-ish on its own(absorbed by armor, glancing blows), so that even if your armor absorbs majority of damage, you still take some.
I think that doing this would make it possible to reduce zombie counts(which are annoying as hell), without sacrificing how dangerous they are.
In fact, I'd even go as far as say have soft/hard/critical damage, with the last being extremely difficult to heal, so that extremely high-end enemies like turrets, rather than killing you, instead cripple you for a while with really tough to heal critical-type damage.
I'm not gonna talk about nerfing vehicles, because I think that the need for that is very self-evident. Unless it's intended that you can roll through anything, anywhere, be it a chicken or a tank drone.

6. tl;dr/Summary

Basically, the outline of my thoughts comes down to shifting the progression from a central measure of how strong your character is, to something both more open-ended, and touching upon more game mechanics than currently, as well as factoring the "inevitable" inheritance of a run into the core gameplay loop, in a way that makes sense in a roguelike context, and adding more depth - even if most of it would be utilized very little - to the crafting of items, bases, vehicles, and other objects. I would like to give the world around the survivor more relevance, and reasons to interact with it.
Currently, the game has incredible amounts of content, but the vast majority of it gives the player no reason to care about it, and what you care about reduces to a very one-dimensional measure of how far along you are - there's just skills, gear, and vehicles, and most of that is defined by which books you have access to. Instead of a "how does this content factor into my options?", you only ask yourself a binary "does it?"... and the answer is usually a no, especially as you get further in the game.
And that, is not only boring, but leads to the issue of power creep: Because there is only a single axis to progress on, to be relevant, content has to make you "stronger", and since all falls on that axis, the stronger you are, the less of the game is relevant to you. At some point once you know what to do, it's just a grind.
And I think that the game could do far better than that, if it focused on how many distinct things surviving entails, especially multiple humans coming together and the continuous process of adapting to the environment and utilizing the new, extradimensional objects and creatures. The world has essentially ended, with all its military might, you're supposed to be surviving in that world, not becoming its new God. And as long as the only goal is to "survive and increase your combat capability", every new addition and change to the game will do nothing towards guiding it towards becoming a better game.
Or, basically, the game needs to stop being about a single central measure of progression. Preparing yourself for the wintecold environments should be separate from preparing yourself for facing robots, which should be separate from surviving zombies, which in turn should be governed by a different metric of progression than maintaining a food supply, preparing for the worst(death of your character), tweaking your gear, and more of the game should be a process of continuous improvement, rather than ticking items off a checklist. Modular content would go a very far way in this respect, imo.
That's what I mean when I say the game has deep flaws that I think are unlikely to be corrected. And I know that my post is incoherent and at times extremely ambitious... I just... find it difficult to collect myself better than that. Please do not be too mean.
And if you have any questions, please ask me, I am confident in my ability to come up with, if not answers, then at least food for thought. I am well capable of coming up with less ambitious proposals than the stuff here, I just... idk, I had to dump the contents of my brain first.
I will do more thought on actual, more modest, change proposals as I continue my current run, and open a few issues, or make another megapost with a collection of the small things mainly.
submitted by derpderp3200 to cataclysmdda [link] [comments]

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