Einhänder is a futuristic side-scrolling shooter featuring explosive visuals, pounding techno music, and simulated 3D gameplay.

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Einhander is known as one of the better shooters on the PSX, which says something as this console has many great shooters. Presenting you with charming low poly models, this works in hand with the futuristic gundam-like artstyle the game is going for.

What makes Einhander unique from other shooters is the weapon switching system. Depending on the ship you choose, you can hold up to 3 sub weapons and freely switch between them. This adds a little more strategy to the game as the difficulty is hard as hell, but if you have the right weapons for the right situations, it will help you get through this tough challenge. For example, in a section with a lot of tiny enemies that swarm you, you might want to use the spread or gatling gun sub weapons. For situations with armored enemies, you might want to use the cannon or grenade sub weapons. It's up to you, but there are multiple ways to make some of the enemies and bosses easier.

As this is a squaresoft game, you will naturally get a great soundtrack and visuals, and Einhander is no exception. It is considered not only a great shooter, but also a great experience due to Square's production. The low poly 3D used for robots and machines result in a satisfying crunchy explosion as you fly by and shoot enemies down. There are also many set pieces with that switch your camera view from a 2D to 3D plane, just so Square can flex their production and give it the epicness that their games usually have.

My only gripes with Einhander is the fact that there seems to be a little input delay on the movement which can significantly contribute to the difficulty, and also the analog controls aren't fully implemented in the sense where you can't use the analog stick for precise movement, and instead acts more like a digital D-pad. The difficulty can also be frustratingly chaotic towards the end.

I don't think we ever got another shooter like this from Square ever again (Unless you count the Gummi ship sections from Kingdom Hearts), so we like to cherish this one as a special title and experiment from the teams who were experts in delivering quality RPGs at the time.

I've played a lot of shmups and can safely say this is one of the best I've ever played. The arm switching and ship types add a surprising level of depth to what would otherwise be a pretty straightforward game. Great music and atmosphere too, but I'd expect no less from Square in their prime. It's a little on the shorter side, but it's helped by Hard difficulty being no slouch.

game has a pretty cool style, but that's about it. the actual gameplay itself isn't particularly fun, the transitions between sections are weirdly slow, and the "visual language" of the game can be very messy and hard to decipher at times. definitely overrated, there are tons of way better shmups out there

Best thing about this one is the music, which rules and complements the cool setting pretty well. Otherwise it's unfortunately chock-full of shit I despise in shmups. It's horizontal, a large portion of the weapons feel more like punishments when you pick them up, stage layouts are more threatening than enemies or bosses, ammo management, and the checkpoint system is beyond exhausting and immensely slows the game to a crawl for making even the slightest mistake. I can see why people like it, it's got style and FF7 era Square behind it but it's not for me.

what a ripper. i only wish i was better at it. of all the scrolling shooters i’ve tried this is the one of the few that i really want to see through AND get good at. them ps1 polygons got me feeling some way.
removing a star because i THINK you play as a cop.
adding half a star because earth is at war with the moon.

An incredible horizontal shmup from Squaresoft in their pre-Enix merger days, Einhander was quite a departure from their usual oeuvre. The atmosphere, dark visual aesthetic, and solid 2D shooter gameplay made it one of my all-time favorites on the original PlayStation console. Definitely a game worth tracking down if you haven't played it.