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May 2022


Platform(s): PC
Genre: Shoot-'Em-Up
Developer: Last Boss 88
Release Date: 2022


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PC Preview - 'Shinorubi'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on Jan. 25, 2022 @ 12:00 a.m. PST

Shinorubi is a colorful arcade bullet hell/shoot'em up with high-resolution graphics offering a great replayability thanks to its numerous game modes, difficulty levels, and arranged modes.

It's easy to forget that video games don't always need thousand-year epic tales or hour-long tutorials that immerse you in the world. Sometimes, you just want to hop into the cockpit of a spaceship and blow things up while trying to achieve a high score. Shoot-'em-ups have been one of the best genres for this, hearkening back to the days of Space Invaders. Few can be as intimidating as the sort of game Shinorubi is emulating: Japanese Danmaku shooters, better known as "bullet hell."

What is the difference between a bullet hell game and a traditional shooter? It depends on who you ask, but volume certainly plays into it. In Shinorubi, the game screen is filled to the brim with bullets and danger from the enemies and your own character. The game introduces you to a simple concept right off the bat: Only a small section of your spacecraft is vulnerable to damage. Combat revolves around keeping your hitbox out of danger while blowing the hell out of everything on-screen. If you can successfully avoid dying for a long enough period of time, you enter a Fever mode where you deal more damage and get more points while nullifying enemy bullets. This allows you to destroy enemies with little risk.

Of course, you do this with a terrifying amount of firepower of your own. There are multiple playable characters with slightly different configurations of speed/damage output, so you're able to choose the one that works best for you. Depending on what you're facing, you can quickly swap between Shot (wide-ranging area of effect) and Laser (less area of effect, more damage) attacks. The key to success is knowing when to fill the street with bullets and when to focus on the enemy. You also have access to screen-clearing super bombs, but you want to use them as infrequently as possible.

Shinorubi is a pure arcade experience. You're not playing it just to finish the game; you're playing it to finish the game on the toughest difficult without dying. That said, Shinorubi seems geared to making it easy for genre newcomers to hop in. The title even recommends that players start on the Super Easy difficulty to get into the feel of the game. For Danmaku vets, there are also plenty of tougher difficulties.

Shinorubi might be designed around arcade-style play, but that doesn't mean you only have a single mode to choose from. Shinorubi will have many Arrange modes in its final release, but some are already available in the current Early Access build. Pink Pig requires you to collect floating pigs for points in between dodging enemy bullets. Laser/Shot mode means you can only use one specific attack mode that swaps in and out, requiring you to rethink your gameplay. There will also be modes for those who like to challenge themselves, such as an extra-long Journey mode or a Super Rank mode that gets tougher as you play better.

Shinorubi has the potential to be a fun bullet hell shooter. It's easy to pick up and play, and it has a number of newbie-friendly options. For those who like to challenge themselves, there are also hardcore difficulties and modes to provide some sweet controlling-breaking frustration. Newcomers or vets who are interested in dipping their toe into a new bullet hell shooter should keep an eye on Shinorubi.

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