That is right ladies and gents, it’s SHMUP time again. It’s been a hot minute since we reviewed the ship shooter genre and it is making its comeback here with Crimzon Clover, a title familiar to Steam SHMUPERS (it’s a word!) and heavily clamored for by fans of the genre over on Switch. Burst or Bomb? Read on!.
Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion is the latest version of Crimzon Clover, a SHMUP title that was released originally in 2011, developed by Yotsubane, a one-man dev team who knows how to make good dojin!.
I would love to sit here and wax lyrical in regards to the game narrative but honestly, I couldn’t find one, and even more honestly, I didn’t care. SHMUP stories are usually just there for window dressing, making an excuse for a ship of mass destruction to be flying across the stages, blowing chunks out of everything. Here there is no narrative, in-game at least, there is a little bit of a narrative on the STEAM page of the game so if you really really need to know why you’re killing the stuff you are, head over there but honestly having no narrative doesn’t affect the score either way here!.
Visually Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion is, if I may be so bold, the most vibrant and explosive looking shmup on the Nintendo Switch to date. Every colour practically flies off of the screen and there is always so much going on, gold stars drop from destroyed enemies, explosions every 0.5 seconds, various coloured bullets to dodge, and naturally your own rain of bullets.
The stages are all vastly different and range from cities to alien planets and just about everything in between, the graphics even in the background look phenomenal, despite the fact you will rarely see what is behind the constant wall of war. What really really impressed me about the title was try as I did, I never got the game to drop frames, the only time I saw any frame dropping was when I would kill a boss, never while I was dodging what felt like unlimited bullets and hordes of enemies kamikaze their way to my poor ship!. Long story short, the performance on this version of the game is phenomenal and is equal to what I would boldly claim is witchcraft!.
Everyone knows that a SHMUP is only as good as its soundtrack, that’s how this works right?. Well if that is the truth then yeah, Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion is phenomenal, I mean yeah we aren’t at that judgement yet but the soundtrack does a fantastic job of keeping you engaged and getting that toe-tapping. The sound effects are also crisp as you would expect from a SHMUP, lots of explosions to hear, almost too many as they tend to drown out the awesome soundtrack at times!.
It looks good, it sounds good but does it play well? Hell yeah, it does, Crimzon Clover feels like the return of CAVE who are well regarded as the giants of SHMUP, and World EXplosion is the best performing and most complete version of the title yet.
The game has many modes, you’ll be presented with the ARCADE mode which is the bog-standard mode with the usual difficulty, NOVICE is the same deal but a little easier, adding a little bit of accessibility for those who want to attempt a 1CC, it’s a great mode to learn the intricacies of the scoring systems and how to deal with bullets before you land yourself in the other modes.
BOOST mode is a fascinating mode that adjusts the on-screen actions and difficulty in regards to how you are playing and then UNLIMITED mode is frankly unrelenting in its assault on the player, only the best of the best will apply here!. There is also the option to arrange modes with remixes of all the enemy placements and other aspects meaning it can really be like a fresh SHMUP every time, it also gives you extreme versions of the bosses for SHMUP vets!.
You have 3 Ships with varying stats and your attacks are the standard shot and you have a lock on which targets many ships and dispenses missiles of justice. Finally, you have BOMB/BREAK, as you collect the many many many stars that destroyed enemies drops you’ll build a metre, you can after it reaches a certain part drop a screen-clearing BOMB, following that should you fill-up the metre then you can activate BREAK mode, this increases your score and firepower by a significant amount, while in this mode you can once again earn more stars and activate DOUBLE BREAK which is armageddon for your foes and will make your eyes spin looking at your score.
So the main draw of a good SHMUP is getting that high score, fighting that secret boss, and proving your worth on the online leaderboard, all of these features are there. Should you want to just make it through the campaign, you have unlimited continues, all that happens is your score and bragging rights disappear.
Everything about Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion oozes quality, despite the cheap asking price for the game, what you get is something that would easily be regarded as a bargain at full price for the genre. There is enough accessibility for newcomers and enough ways to make the game tougher, basically, if you have any interest in the SHMUP genre you need Crimzon Clover: World EXplosion & if you’re a fan of the genre WHY DON’T YOU ALREADY HAVE THIS! SHMUP PERFECTION.
The gold star standard for SHMUP. The Best of the best right here!