Castle of Shikigami 2 is a cult PS2 Shmup, it’s one that passed me by but is often mentioned alongside it’s English translation. Degica Games have now released this alongside a new translation and you know I had to get involved!.
Castle of Shikigami 2 and by extension 1 and 3 are bizarre Shmups because they actually have a tonne of lore!. The series has plenty of tie-in manga and visual novels and plenty of character interactions that would be more at home in titles like Blazblue.
The mysterious flying castle Shikigami has appeared above Tokyo and it’s up to the cast of 7 unique and very anime characters to fly across Tokyo and solve the mystery of the Castle Shikigami.
The characters all have a different narrative and interact completely differently with the game’s bosses. One of the biggest hooks this title has is that there are so many character interactions to experience you’ll keep on coming back for more.
Fortunately this is made much easier by the inclusion of the new mode “Dramatic Change” which allows you to pick two of the characters and switch them at will. It’s a fun mode with an extra layer of strategy, a welcome addition.
While talking of additions it’s worth noting that the game has a totally new English translation alongside a new mode which acts as an Arrange mode, different enemy placements and challenges for those craving more or overly familiar with the game.
The game art is nice and presents an anime style, similar to games like Tokyo Xanadu and Esp.Ra.De in that slice of life meets super power in the modern day setting.
The game is devoid of pixels and relies totally on 3D models and as negative as it sounds actually works well, especially compared to the visual mess of the original title!. Backgrounds are 3D as well as character models and while the enemy designs are a little more “pedestrian” than the original the bosses are still spectacles to throw down against.
Castle of Shikigami 2 is a vertical shmup title as previously mentioned, this involves taking your ship (character) and navigating 5 stages, destroying enemies, collecting coins dropped and scoring high.
The game has two unique features, first off is the Shikigami system.
Each character has a special ability if you hold the shot button, while dramatically altering your speed you activate your Shikigami. This changes from person to person, Kohtarou Kuga for example summons a maiden who crashes into enemies and is brilliant for taking out popcorn units.
You can also switch between two different attack skills so for the above example the default just tracks the nearest enemy whereas skill 2 fires it in a straight line but is significantly more powerful.
The second draw mentioned was it uses a “graze” system. Now if you aren’t familiar with the term Graze, basically when an enemy bullet just about skims your hit box that is a Graze. While this isn’t a unique feature, here you get more points while grazing, your attack power jumps up significantly giving it a healthy dose of risk Vs reward.
There are easy modes available for you to wet behind the ears, followed by normal and hard modes.
For those who want to see the end with ease the game gives you an extra continue for every hour of play so you can credit dump if you’re still struggling.
The first two levels are standard early shooter affairs, level 3 introduces some brilliant and devilish puzzle elements and the game continues to ramp up from there providing an ample challenge to all.
This is an absolutely charming Shmup which has drawn me to a series I didn’t know existed or had any experience with.
It does feel a little budget compared to others but there is alot to love about this title and if you’re like me you’ll be itching to get back to it whenever you leave.
Outstanding wallet friendly Shmup with alot to love and enough to do
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