Flying Red Barrel – The Diary of a Little Aviator (Steam)

Flying Red Barrel is the latest Shmup game published by our friends at Fruitbat Factory. Famous for their games having unique art styles and being tonnes of fun, Flying Red Barrel hopes to add to that portfolio, will it be a flying success or crash and burn? Let’s find out!. 

I know, I know, another Shmup!, what is going on lately am I right?. As I seem to say every review the genre seems to be going through a little more of a resurgence and quality games seem to be dropping on a near-daily basis. As fans of the genre and Fruitbat Factory games, it would have been daft of us to turn away from this title, so here we are, flying goggles on and ready to take the little Red Barrel out for a flight!

Flying Red Barrel is developed by the team at Orange_Juice famous for titles such as 100% Orange Juice, QO Shooting Dangerous and Suguri, you know they have form for this genre and that’s always good to have!. 

From the get-go you can see where this game come from the art style, it oozes character and charm, it should be even more familiar to anyone who has picked up 100% Orange Juice, not only does it look the same but it also features Marc from that game as the main character. 

The art style and graphics of Flying Red Barrel are beautifully clean, the sprites for everything are quite large which is nice most of the time but the gold coins sometimes cover the smaller bullets which can be a problem when you’re looking at avoiding the little green devils!. 

The music and sound effects are perfectly fine, if a little uninspired, while the music works well for the game, it’s nothing I’d personally listen to outside of it and none of it really stuck with me after quitting the title. 

Flying Red Barrel is your standard horizontal shmup with a few little tweaks here and there to just about put it into its own. First off there are no bombs! these little life savers are usually the one consistent but here they are gone, replaced with missiles. Missiles are a stronger shot and manually activated, you fill these up by collecting gold coins dropped by the enemies, it’s risk vs reward at its finest, do you risk getting hit to fill up your missiles for boss fights or tougher sections or stay in safety.

Throughout the levels, you’ll be given mini-bosses/bonus chances which put you in tough situations but can offer a big score boost and also put you on the path to one of the games many endings (reportedly around 18), you can also change your ending with actions such as sparing or destroying bosses at the end of the stage. 

The dialogue between the cast is quite amusing and fortunately doesn’t distract from the action unlike other games in the genre where the screen is practically riddled with text and numbers. 

Another deviation from the usual formula is there aren’t any power-up chances for your standard shot, fortunately, it’s quite strong but it does slow your ship down when being shot, I also noticed a little cooldown between the speed when shooting and the standard speed, not too sure if this was intentional or not but did throw me off a little bit initially. 

Flying Red Barrel is exactly what you expect, it’s a fun little Shmup that oozes charm but doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. It’s 5 stages long so doesn’t outstay its welcome, there are secret bosses and many endings to unlock adding replay value and even on the lowest difficulty will have your heart pumping by Stage 2. While the art style won’t be for everyone the gameplay is just about as addictive and fun as you would expect from Orange_Juice and it’s friendly price makes it an easy recommendation to any fans of the genre.



Art style may be a little off-putting to some and the content wealth is slightly deceptive. A great game but only Shmup enthusiasts need apply 

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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.

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