Shinorubi (Switch)

Shinorubi is the first Shmup we look at here in 2024, developed by Last Boss 88 and published by Red Art Games, it was released the other year on Steam and is now seeing a console debut is this going to be a great sign of things to come for the genre or a giant pink WARNING sign.

Shinorubi is a self-described Bullethell/Danmaku game and as such for the genre, you’ll get a brief story that doesn’t do gangbusters and is mostly there just for window dressing, here is the blurb from the Steam page.

“For 1000 years, the BAÄA family has reigned as despots on planet SHINORUBI. This planet is the source of the “R-R” substance which offers infinite power and exceptional longevity to its owners. For 150 years, the king of SHINORUBI, R.LOYD III, and his 6 sons have gone to war across space against the TRADDESS and ZOOGT empires, leaving his cruel daughter Nemesis and 5 generals to guard the planet.

A unique alliance of 8 experienced mercenaries will attempt to put an end to the dictatorship of the BAÄA family and its hold on the “R-R” compound by taking advantage of a singularity of the planet SHINORUBI which takes place once every thousand years. The endless night is coming on Kaddin, the capital of SHINORUBI, as spaceships are approaching.”

Realistically it’s just an excuse for why your small spacecraft is taking on a literal army, I can’t knock the title for this as it’s standard for the genre, just don’t go in expecting completely in-depth lore though this is told through a rather well drawn intro scene which shows one of this title’s main strengths which is the art direction.

In terms of available content in Shinorubi, this is quite a buffet of modes and difficulties that will keep any fan of the genre plowing away at this circle of bullet hell for quite a while! First off the main game has 5 difficulties starting with Super Easy and ending up at Very Hard, the game advises you to start with Super Easy and work up and the game also tracks if you have completed the mode and if you have 1 credit cleared the game.

If that wasn’t enough to keep you dodging bullets and collecting stars/medals there are many extra modes to the point that I would say that it has the most different modes in any Shmup in recent history.

Shield Mode where there is a shield on the screen and you need to use it to get around the constant barrage of bullets heading your way. Super Rank Mode is an adaptive difficulty mode where you can change it up on the fly, the better you play the tougher the game becomes. Scratch mode changes the game up to be more of a “Graze Danmaku” where you build points by flying as close to incoming bullets as you can without dying.

Cancel Mode paints certain enemies in Red and if you destroy them it cancels any bullets, this completely changes the way the game is played with you focusing on trying to get as many bullets on screen to clear to hit those high scores. Journey Mode is a 3-loop style mode where the game just builds on difficulty much like a marathon mode.

Pink Pig mode adds collectible pigs into the mix and you need to collect them when they are pink for the highest points, laser/shot mode where you can only use the shot or the laser when it is shown otherwise your enemies won’t die. Boss Rush set over 3 difficulties and 2 Caravan Mode Stages where you are given 2 or 5 minutes to score attack on specially created stages and finally a full Training mode giving you the tools to try each stage and learn the patterns to get you through to that 1CC.

There are 8 different ships to play offering many different attack patterns and just further adds to the sheer bulk of this game, it really can’t be overstated at just how robust this title feels with its copious amounts of modes and playable characters.

The game is set across multiple stages, each of which has a boss fight at the end these are fantastic set pieces and feature some crushing bullet patterns to learn, easily one of the high points of the game but it would be foolish of me not to point out that even the path to the boss is also crushing even on the lower difficulties, this is slightly tougher than your average CAVE title.

One of the main gimmicks for the game is the FEVER bar which slowly builds when you use the laser, when it is full you can cancel out bullets for collectible medals, very similar to Dodonpachi for those familiar with Shmup lore.

The other main gimmick is its full HD and full screen rather than focusing on TATE mode, this is quite jarring at first, and takes a while to get over the amount of screen real estate on display, mixed with the vibrant colors of Purple and Pink flashing across the screen makes this title stand out from its peers.

Full disclosure I covered this title elsewhere when it was in early access and had a few issues with the title and these have been somewhat addressed. First of all the ships feel less like they are gliding on ice and slow down when using the laser, the game as a whole feels a lot tighter here on the Nintendo Switch and I believe this is also trickling down to the Steam version.

The other main issue I had with the game stems from the visuals, yes they are nice but boy does the screen get busy and hard to follow, also the stages don’t have much oomph after the first 2 and it feels quite rinse and repeat towards the end, this sadly hasn’t been tweaked enough and does bring the title down a little bit.

If Shinorubi is a taste of what’s to come for the Shmup genre in 2024 we are off to a fantastic start, it’s a robust and fun title with enough content to keep your eyes bleeding while hunting those fabled 1CCs, it is also an ideal title for newcomers who are interested in the genre and want to dabble before they fall into the hole of bullet hell.



An explosive start to the Shmup genre in the year 2024

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