Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo Review (Switch)


Following on from the excellent Shooting Stars Alpha we now have another six shooters packaged together to offer further blasting fun on the go. Like before this can be purchased as a special edition but we will be focusing on the games here. The Bravo collection compiles two series with Samurai Aces 1-3 and GUNBIRD 1, 2 and oddity GUNBARICH included.

As you would expect, all six of the games are worth playing but there is perhaps less variety between them than in the previous collection. Gunbird 1 and 2 are fairly similar and allow players to pick from a selection of colourful characters who fly horizontally up the screen blasting away looking for tech bonuses. Characters range from a witch on a broom to a steampunk robot and each plays significantly different from one another to make repeated visits enjoyable. As you would expect, bosses are excellent and the look and design of the levels keeps energy up and makes them a delight to look at.

The first of the Samurai Aces games pretty much takes the 1945 template and changes out the planes and setting for that of flying ninjas and ancient Japan. It also turns the action up significantly and the game is pretty full on compared to the others in the two collections. Again, the interesting visual design helps to keep the interest and dedicated players up for a challenge will find much to draw them back in time after time.

Samurai Aces 2 and 3 change things up a bit and scroll horizontally instead of vertically. Characters have a few different attacks here aside from just the standard ‘shoot’ and ‘bomb’, such as a charge attack and it allows for a more flexible approach to the action. The games are still absolutely solid though so don’t expect to be sailing through the stages anytime soon. Clever use of the charge shots can also reap huge points as well for the expert players out there.

The oddity of the bunch is GUNBARICH which isn’t really a shooter at all but something much closer to ball and block games such as Arkanoid. Players still have control of a whimsical fantasy character but now instead of shooting you have to flip a ball back up the screen to destroy all the blocks. Your character can move around a fair amount of the screen with the aim being to remove every block on the stage before moving onto the next. It is a fun diversion but it’s certainly not up there with the likes of Arkanoid itself or other games that have put their spin on this genre such as Kirby’s Block Ball.

Like with the Alpha collection the biggest potential issue is that the games don’t really have much in the way of extras. There are a few display options (yes, you can play with the Switch vertical), but nothing in the way of museum extras of other interesting information. When you consider the detail that has gone into some of the other collections on the system then this is a noticeable omission. If you get hold of the physical release there is a ton of stuff to go through there but that does come at a premium price.

Overall, we are more than happy to dive back into another six of the best from Psikyo. This is a great way to give the games a higher profile on the Switch and the nature of them means they are perfect for playing on the go. The GUNBIRD games especially are long time favourites of ours and we would recommend this to anyone looking to scratch that blasting itch.

Overall 8/10

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