5 Reviews liked by DIYDylana

This one is just depressing and really ended my nostalgia trip on a sour note. Nearly every game in this compilation is either unfinished, to the extent of being barely playable, or an updated version of something from the Pac Pack, half of which are actively worse than the originals. Three of the games don't even launch, and one of them doesn't seem to actually have its data files on the disc despite being advertised as such. You can feel the interest of the devs waning in every aspect of R.I.Pea-Guy, young adults who have lost all motivation and love for the things they created in their youth, struggling to push themselves to make a new game out of a sense of obligation but never getting anywhere. It's sad and hits way too close to home.

It feels good to be playing shmups again.
So I'm not very familiar with the original Andro Dunos, but I saw a review for Andro Dunos II on youtube and the polished sprite art caught my eye and saw it was available on Steam so I decided to give this game a try myself.
Andro Dunos II is a classic horizontally-scrolling shmup that looks and feels very authentically 90's, evoking neo-geo game vibes with its brand of audio and visual effects. This is a four-button shmup where you can shoot (fortunately with autofire), switch between four different weapon types, and activate a hyper shot.
Powering up is done by collecting items which drop from specific enemies which either add a point to your currently-equipped weapon or your two side pods (shot-blocking options with limited health and a sub-weapon respectively). Defeating enemy formations will also drop blue items that give extra score and allow you to invest an extra upgrade point in a weapon or side pod of your chocie, and there are exactly 30 of these items per stage.
This all sounds fairly standard but the mechanics are elevated by the aforementioned hyper shot. If you aren't on a cooldown, pressing the hyper shot button will make your currently equipped weapon super powerful for around 5 seconds and the weapon will drop down to the lowest power level afterwards for the duration of the subsequent cooldown. This hyper shot mechanic encourages the player to enter a satisfying rhythm of phasing in and out of hyper shot durations, and switching to different weapons during the cooldowns. Learning to time your hyper shots is a big part of routing through the stages and bosses and there's a definite feeling of elation from taking down what you thought were spongy bosses quickly with well timed hyper shots.
It helps that the game's level and boss design on the whole is very competent. Each of the game's 7 stages feel distinct and retain their fun factor during subsequent playthroughs. Everything feels challenging but fair - all boss attacks, hazardous terrain and enemy formations coming from behind are telegraphed in good time. While the game might be a bit too tricky for beginners, I think Andro Dunos II would be a good shmup for players with a bit of shmup experience looking to get into the more traditional side of the genre.
There's also a great boss rush mode that's unlocked after beating the game for the first time, and if you finish the boss rush you unlock two bonus stages that are allegedly remakes of stages 1 and 3 from the original Andro Dunos from 1992. I would have liked a few more bonus stages, or maybe even challenge missions in the style of Blue Revolver, but it's always a good sign when devs are willing to add any amount of bonus content to a shmup in the first place.
All things considered, Andro Dunos II is a flashy and fun horizontal shmup that should appeal to anyone with an interest in the genre, but at the same time it doesn't really do much to push the envelope like many other indie/doujin shmups have done in the last decade or so. The lack of co-op and online leaderboards also hurts.
I'd recommend getting the Steam version if possible because I've heard that the PS4 and Switch versions suffer from noticeable input lag and sprite flickering issues, whereas I didn't experience any of those issues playing on PC.

Mostly painful to play. I think a lot of players here might be assuming the negatives are not the game's fault but rather their own since they can't read Japanese, but being able to read and consulting an absolutely excellent Japanese guide, I was able to tell that this game was overall pretty poorly made and SMT hipsters are either lying to themselves or just trying to look unique by liking this "obscure game" (it sold incredibly well in Japan)
The most glaring issue is the Loyalty system, which Soul Hackers refined a lot and made usable. In this game, the Loyalty system makes half of all demons just unusable by default (every Level difference demon will disobey constantly until you're at a level so much higher that their stats aren't viable anymore), on top of the fact that magic demons are near useless, further limiting viability. Then you have the command-based demons who you have to train very slowly up to max loyalty by giving them commands that they randomly choose to agree with. They're alright to deal with if they don't have recarmdra. Well the developers were considerate and went ahead and gave a bunch of those types recarmdra so they can constantly kill themselves for no reason. It's funny until this happens every fight. Then you have the item-based demons, which require resources to build up but at least aren't a pain in the ass. The Zouma race would be a great solution to all of this until you realize you will only ever be able to make Jeanne d'Arc at most, all the other demons are obsolete cause they're too high level and you've already beaten the game at that point.
To the western audience who still might not be getting this: the Loyalty system is so bad that most Japanese players just handled most of the game with Kyouji and Reihou. I'm seeing a lot of people playing like this and assuming it's a language barrier thing. Nope. It's the game. I actually made an effort to get some demons to help but for the most part, they were absolutely not worth it. I would really just recommend a few certain demons such as Cu Chulainn, who's incredible and lasts even until end game thanks to Deathbound (if a demon has a great physical skill, they're good, if they don't, they are trash or maybe some gimmick you'll use for one boss fight)
All of this is not mentioning just how utterly slow this game is. The PSP version's music is awful, but you should absolutely go for it instead of the Saturn version. Music doesn't mean shit if you have to listen to the same shit for hours just cause every animation takes years.
So overall, this is a pretty jank experience that's pretty unfun for the most part. It's just Soul Hackers if the gameplay was about 10 times less fun and intuitively built. If you wanna play it for the curiosity, play the PSP version.

Takes Genji from Overwatch's dash reset mechanic and builds a twin stick shooter around it. The routing and micropositioning decisions the game revolves around are fairly simple, but the fast paced nature of stringing dash attacks together mixed with the constantly ticking down health bar and the bullet dodging makes this game a pretty exhilarating 15 minutes. Pretty neat game jam game, would be cool if it got a full game to flesh it out further

kindve an ongoing review because this is multiplayer only, but yo this game is fun as hell.
Things I liked:
Easy to pick up, but enough depth to intrigue.
Costumes are colorful and fun and definitely needed because everyone is ugly as hell.
Any chance of winning beyond the earliest ranks is predicated on close teamwork and this will only become more true as people figure out the game.
To that end, glad to see the first limited time mode is one where you can only throw balled teammates.
Crossplay right out the gate. 60 FPS mode on the Switch as an option. Pretty good netcode even across platforms. Love to see a multiplayer game that isnt broken on release.
Things I dislike:
The faces are almost all uniformly hideous youtube poop monstrosities.
Maps are a mixed bag. Some of them just are not fun to navigate.
Not a "dislike" so much as something I'm keeping my eye on. I'm curious what the actual skill ceiling of this game is and what "high level" play looks like. Is it gonna be like For Honor on console, where everything was a boring parryfest? That game still had pretty long legs even with those problems tho

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