To know CAVE is to know Shmups and to truly know SHMUP is to know DoDonPachi. Livewire has just released a port of DoDonPachi Resurrection on Switch so let’s see how it stands up, shall we?.
DonPachi has always been CAVE’s ultimate series in my opinion, while known for Deathsmiles, Ketsui and Espgaluda (link review) I think most shmuppers know that DoDonPachi is where CAVE lay their hearts.
The story of DoDonPachi Resurrection involves flying a spaceship, taking on an army of robots and tanks and fighting giant anime mecha girls. It’s a vertical shooter with an emphasis on scoring high and avoiding bullet patterns in great numbers. You don’t need a story, heck you barely need an excuse.
Visually DoDonPachi Resurrection is a treat for the eyes, vibrant colour, massive explosions and giant collectables fill the screen only permeated by purple bullets of death.
Like previous CAVE releases, there is a mix of 3D style models and pixel art which look oh so nice and dare I say this is my favourite CAVE title visually. Everything just pops and looks so nice and appealing, especially if you’re using an OLED.
You have 3 different ships to choose from each with a standard shot and a beam that amps the power at the cost of speed, ideal for the smaller intricate movements. You then choose a style between 3 different ones, bomb, strong and power up all with different benefits and disadvantages to weigh up. Worth noting, not all modes allow this.
As you cross the stages and wage war against the machines you’ll build a meter, once full you can trigger it and your shots not only become more powerful but also cancel out enemy shots, the beam just wipes everything out and even bosses struggle to keep up with it.
You’re then put through 5 stages of pure unadulterated bullet hell bliss that not only has you kicking ass and taking names but dodging bullets and even dealing with some puzzle-like R-Type sections later on!.
The bosses are phenomenal tests of endurance and easily some of the best fights ever produced by the guys and gals at Cave, the true end boss being one that will make you sweat like no other!.
It won’t take long for you to get hooked by its mix of visuals and addictive gameplay, wanting to top the leaderboards and 1 credit clear the title. Whereas R-Type is a more situational almost puzzle-like title, this is pure arcade “Danmaku” goodness and is cripplingly addictive.
Dodonpachi Resurrection has many different gameplay modes that dramatically change how you play from scoring mechanics to enemy placement. They are as follows: Novice, Novice Black Label, Black Label, Black Label Arrange, Normal, Normal 1.51, Arrange A and B.
The port job here is fantastic and as far as I can tell nothing is missing, the visuals still pop and the ease of turning the Switch into Tate mode makes this even more alluring.
The only current issue is that online leaderboards aren’t active yet, Livewire is patching them into Mushihimesama and Espgaluda II so this title won’t be far behind them.
The soundtrack is phenomenal and the sound effects coupled with the excellent feedback and that initial gratification is simply unmistakable as a CAVE title.
I go on and on about CAVE in Shmup reviews but they produced the top tier of the genre, DoDonPachi Resurrection is easily the highest echelon of that. While not as easy clear as Espgaluda it stands alongside Ketsui and Esp.Ra.De for me as the pinnacle of the genre and it’s fantastic to have it easily accessible on Nintendo Switch.
Shmup royalty. Must play
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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.