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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 5:44 pm 


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komatik wrote:
I guess..... my problem with most shmups is that they all seem ultimately based around the spray-and-pray design where the tactic for basically everything is to hold/mash the shoot button. It's like before when I mentioned Mario. What do you do in Mario when you come to a new area? "Jump over the pits and jump on the bad guys' heads." It's always the same answer no matter what, there's nothing to figure out. I'm looking for a game that mixes it up a little or has some kind of nominal puzzle to it.


ikaruga
quarth

/thread

Your sentiments really remind me of a few threads we had a while back.
Spoiler: show
Hibou wrote:
For me, euroshmups are most of all a kind of gaming spirit. In fact, all the specificies of euroshmups come from what pedant people would call a "cultural thing".

The real point is that somehow, a shmup is mostly a game where you shoot things and dodge bullets.

This definition is far too vulgar for any european mind. I mean, no real european man can enjoy a simple thing like that AND keep looking into a mirror with some respect for himself. Because it's a definition that makes the game a matter of agility, and not of intelligence and strategy. And this, for a genuine european mind, is the most despicable thing of all.

So euroshmups are a (missed) attempt to level-up the intellectual interest of the genre. So to say, a desperate attempt to turn poker into chess.

This was achieved by adding to shmups the most possible unexpected elements, and basically three ways were used to do this:

- adding difficulties to destroy ennemies (limited ammo, weapon management, etc...)
- adding difficulties to control the ship (ship control taking care of gravity or inertia, etc...)
- adding difficulties in the level design and gameplay (traps and everything that requires a complete anti-natural behavior)

So euroshmups are basically games that tend to give the bigger possible malus to players who rely on skill. They usually are insanely difficult and frustrating for who tries to beat the game by playing it like an action game.

Euroshmups are NOT fun for any normal member of the human kind. But in the end, if you're really looking for a definition, they have only two real caracteritics:
1. They try to fight for some artistic value by being original and prettily drawn.
2. They are designed so anyone who's not a chess grandmaster will not pass level 2.

Spoiler: show
qmish wrote:
I posted it before, but it suits this thread better...

So, there was a relatively big forum where i'm a frequenter and of course there was a thread about shmups. And after some discussions there i gathered data of what "usual gamers" want from shmups:

- prefer health bar instead of life count
- hate being pushed back to checkpoint or level start when you die
- hate starting game from beginning when loose all lives
- would love to have something that will make game more diverse for multiple walkthrough (different routes like OutRun/Darius, or even randomised patterns/levels every time) because it's boring and shitty for them playing the same game over and over trying to learn patterns over and over (and NOPE, they dont give a thing about your complex scoring)
- disagree that game over is game over unless it's permadeath roguelike (double standards?)
- would like to save at every level/start playing from any level
- they honestly think that you, guys, who spend 10,20,50,100+ hours in shmup and then can sit and virtuosly 1CC game are insane/out of mind/have too much time to kill
- wanna have long single player campaign with different levels and everything (and big NOPE to loops, of course)
- demand weapon system like in fps/tps instead of power ups
- constantly whine about lack of A.I. of enemies in shmups
- say that game should have both "mode for normal people" and "for those crazy 1cc guys"

The thing is that it wasn't a forum of you average Uncharted 5: Call of Infamous fans. No, that was damn freaking forum of old-gamers. Though, mainly PC oldgamers. They play Jagged Alliance 2, X-Com: Ufo Defense, Planescape Torment, Doom 1-2 on Ultraviolence (or sometimes at Nightmare), Blood, Warcraft II, Fallout, Carmageddon, Hexen etc. So you can't just go out and call them a bunch of "modern casuals". Yet they criticize shmups for many things and consider them having "simplistic and foolish game design" (if i m not imaginating things) and , yes, that "lack of content" problem.

Spoiler: show
qmish wrote:
On a 2nd thought - yeah, too bad this idea was buried into debate whether author was a troll or not :?

edit:

Some occasional finds.

Quote:
You could go one further than those traditional composites, and have a creative SHMUP by having an organism that shoots a specially chosen projectile at biomatter to alter it into another form, or have the player character be immobile in a traditional sense, but be able to move by shooting a spore, which becomes a new incarnation of the player character.

Quote:
This is where they take what appears to be `the genre formula` and basically do exactly the same thing without going outside of the box. That means, boring enemies which fly in a sequence following a preset animation path and shooting hot little bullets in the direction of the player, then flying off-screen. I mean.... almost every one of them does that the same way, with no other significant AI, and it's just really boring. That's the part of it that I find to have been done to the death, and if that's all people are bringing to the table then that does make it seem like the genre is totally used-up. But that's only because people are not innovating enough.

Quote:
I really wish someone would do something original with a shootemup, but unfortunately what I mostly see are really boring movement patterns, predictable waves, end of level boss, various weapons bla bla bla... a bit kind of formulaic. And often the `spaceship` is just not as engaging as, say, a `character` in a platform game. So maybe they tend to be a bit cold and dull and harder to relate to? Plus they're really a super-solo experience most of the time and things have become a lot more social in gaming in general so they maybe represent a genre frozen in time that hasn't moved on very well. Anyone agree?

Quote:
just making some alien sprites move along a pre-designated path is not engaging. It's way too much `on rails`. I think maybe that's why platform games have survived better, because they offer puzzle elements and interactions with enemies that have some kind of AI behavior, and stuff happens much more dynamically and unexpectedly which keeps it interesting.

Quote:
I think it would be neat to have annual arcade-challenge development competitions for [game development] students. Thinking about what makes a good arcade game is a fun mental exercise. It's also a segment of the industry that saw a lot more stability and refinement over the years. (being one of the first large-scale applications of game design)

Quote:
Gaming has become a lot more social and most shmups are still single-player reflex games. You'd be hard pressed to find many 2-play or multi-player shmups at all. I can barely think of any. So they've sort of stayed in a box of isolation, and this is partly also why almost every shmup people make still stays heavily confined in a box that copies everything that was done already

Quote:
Enemies are basically brainless moving in simple patterns rarely reacting to the players presence. The same can be said of most platform games (and heck many games from other genres for that matter) but the difference is the player has more choices available. You can jump, perhaps climb, you may do a close combat attack (even if just jumping on an enemy's head) or a range attack, you can often jump and/or duck to avoid being hit and so forth. Compared to shmups platformers offer a huge amount of choices. A greater number of ways to interact with the game world.

Quote:
Nearly all of them [enemies] float across the screen in fixed patterns often completely unaware of the player. One may come out, move 1/4 of the way across the screen stop and fire twice then continue on. Another may do the stop and fire pattern every 1/3 of the screen it moves. Another may move across in a straight line firing every 2 seconds. Another comes out in a wave pattern and so forth.


Quote:
Send out some mindless pattern based enemies. That is fine. But then send out some intelligent enemies. Give enemies roles. Maybe you catch up to an enemy that is flying back and forth collecting power cells. It has a purpose. Then give it some guards. 4 to 5 heavily shielded enemies that fly around behind it engaging you while also trying to take everything you are throwing out. If that gatherer enemy collects 10 cells it flies off screen. It got away. At another point maybe you find a couple friendly ships that are attacking an enemy base and taking heavy damage. You need to defend them and help destroy that base. Stuff like that. Then focus on the interaction. Give the player a shield button in addition to the fire button. Give them a certain amount of energy that takes a bit of time to replenish. It is a choice. Attack or shield. Add more interaction to the game. If shield is on and you collide with an enemy you send it flying back across the screen if it collides with an enemy (or two or three) they all explode. Maybe the player can send out some kind of mines that attach to enemy ships and explode also taking out any enemies that are very close to that one.


It's from here
https://forum.unity3d.com/threads/where ... ps.239566/
game dev forum, basically. 80% of thread is "stgs are all the same complaint" + 10% "nah its arcade and deal with it" + 10% of some actual ideas formulated (i bolded what i found more interesting).


If it's the spirit behind shoot-em-ups as a genre that turns you off, I'm not sure how much help the people here will be. That being said, you may be interested in non-shmups Devilish and Sylvalion. Maybe Twinkle Star Sprites, and maybe Choplifter. Maaaaaybe Shoot the Bullet.

Praising Super Metroid for its lock-and-key design is missing the point, by the way. One of the things I disliked about Zero Mission was the way they took several paths accessible via mere bombing in the original and blocked them off with blocks that required the speed booster. (Yes, they put in hidden paths allowing you to circumvent these blocks for the most part, but it's still annoying.)

EDIT: You might like Yars' Revenge as well. Yes, the Atari game.
EDIT 2: In a similar vein, Defender. The Atari 8-bit computer port is the best one, though I'm told Dropzone on the same hardware does the gameplay more justice.
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Last edited by WelshMegalodon on Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:39 pm 


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I urge you to try Silpheed: The Lost Planet; I do not know if it is on mame but if you have a ps2 it can be had super cheap..

https://youtu.be/q4TmT-a3A0U


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:55 pm 


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WelshMegalodon wrote:
If it's the spirit behind shoot-em-ups as a genre that turns you off, I'm not sure how much help the people here will be.


This.

I mean no offense, but maybe shmups might just not be OP's thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:25 pm 


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There's nothing saying that shmups have to have barebones spray-and-pray shooting (outside of scoring) though. Sure, it helps with the pick-up-and-play aspect in an arcade setting, but games like HellSinker have successfully married interesting "shooting" mechanics and tactical options with solid everything else. To OP, though, yeah your options are going to be limited, with your preference for vertical non-bullet-hell games.
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:21 pm 


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Shepardus wrote:
The bombing mechanic originates from Xevious,

Yeah I tried Xevious before. I guess it was revolutionary for its time but it's too primitive for me to get any enjoyment out of.

Shepardus wrote:
and is also featured in TwinBee

Oh yeah, that's true isn't it. I guess I never thought about it that way since it seems like just an optional way to sometimes get bonus items. (At least, to the extent that I've played Pop'n and Yahho none of the things you can bomb are necessary or attack back).

Shepardus wrote:
though most of them are bullet hells

Well like I said before my main issue with bullet hells is not having a bajillion projectiles on screen so much as the games being based around memorizing slow dodging patterns, which I find super boring. This may be an issue of me being a noob and not understanding terms correctly but I was under the impression that the core definition of "bullet hell" was the dodging mechanic not the sprite count. I dunno that I'd care how many shots there are if the gameplay direction was different. Several of the ones on your list (and especially Shoot the Bullet with the camera idea) sound like they could be really interesting and I'll try to check them out.

Xyga wrote:
Anyway typically the puzzle-like mechanics are to be found in the scoring mechanics, which are typically more developed in manic/bullet-hell shmups

I guess if that's the genre then it is what it is. Hopefully I can find something in there for me.

Xyga wrote:
and the vast now rather ill-documented world of doujins.

Yeah well that's kinda why I came to a dedicated shmup forum for help rather than like Reddit's gaming sub. Although it seems that 99% of doujin games aren't accessible to me due to language/distribution/technical barriers.

Xyga wrote:
'all past' list which speaks for itself

Err, speaks for itself if you're a veteran. As a noob I've never heard of most of these and a YouTube video doesn't really explain the mechanics.

Obscura wrote:
This really makes it sound like you're looking for Strania, Radiant Silvergun, Radirgy, or Dragon Blaze.

RS and Ikaruga are on my to-do list as soon as I get a working emulator. Strania I'll probably pass on for now simply because it's not free and I'm not ready to throw money down yet. Radirgy and Dragon Blaze I'll try to check out at some point assuming they work in MAME well.

WelshMegalodon wrote:
quarth

Oh weird, that's like Space Invaders meets reverse Tetris.

WelshMegalodon wrote:
Your sentiments really remind me of a few threads we had a while back.

I strongly agree with a couple of these, kinda agree with a bunch, and the rest I'm neither here nor there. I'll try to give summarized comments without quoting too much:

Quote:
euroshmups

I honestly can't tell if this paragraph is satire or if the person writing it is a troll.

Quote:
- prefer health bar instead of life count
- hate being pushed back to checkpoint or level start when you die
- hate starting game from beginning when loose all lives

There's a fine balance between being challenging and being hard for hard's sake. A lot of old arcade games weren't necessarily designed to be fun so much as they were designed to make people pump quarters. I'm less anal about things like health bars and lives than other people, but it's always nice when a game understands that the point of playing is to be enjoyed and is forgiving of mistakes instead of acting like an abusive parent looking for any excuse to whip you with a belt. (Personally, I think the whole idea of lives is a relic of the past and doesn't really belong in modern games... I tend to prefer stuff that has rechargable health/shield paired with permadeath).

Quote:
would love to have something that will make game more diverse for multiple walkthrough (different routes like OutRun/Darius, or even randomised patterns/levels every time) because it's boring and shitty for them playing the same game over and over trying to learn patterns over and over (and NOPE, they dont give a thing about your complex scoring)
Quote:
just making some alien sprites move along a pre-designated path is not engaging. It's way too much `on rails`. I think maybe that's why platform games have survived better, because they offer puzzle elements and interactions with enemies that have some kind of AI behavior, and stuff happens much more dynamically and unexpectedly which keeps it interesting.
Quote:
Enemies are basically brainless moving in simple patterns rarely reacting to the players presence. The same can be said of most platform games (and heck many games from other genres for that matter) but the difference is the player has more choices available. You can jump, perhaps climb, you may do a close combat attack (even if just jumping on an enemy's head) or a range attack, you can often jump and/or duck to avoid being hit and so forth. Compared to shmups platformers offer a huge amount of choices. A greater number of ways to interact with the game world.

Agree. All games that aren't procedurally generated have fixed enemy placement and patterns to some extent so there will always be memorization on some level, but I do prefer games that offer flexibility and variety so that it's not exclusively about memorizing exact button press patterns. Not having this isn't a dealbreaker though (I know most shmups don't and that's just the genre).

Quote:
they honestly think that you, guys, who spend 10,20,50,100+ hours in shmup and then can sit and virtuosly 1CC game are insane/out of mind/have too much time to kill

::shrug:: Being an adult is understanding "different strokes for different folks" and that just because you like playing games I don't like doesn't make you a bad person.

WelshMegalodon wrote:
Praising Super Metroid for its lock-and-key design is missing the point, by the way.

I mean, maybe? I feel like the guy who wrote that article maybe missed the point. FWIW I actually hate Super Metroid (and Zero Mission) with a passion for various reasons. I mentioned it because it's so famous I assume everyone is familiar with it to understand what I'm getting at.

2dvertical wrote:
I urge you to try Silpheed: The Lost Planet

Hmm, that guy's review didn't really explain how the mechanics were much different that other shmups but I'll take a look. He seemed to like the Sega CD version better, how does it compare?

donluca wrote:
I mean no offense, but maybe shmups might just not be OP's thing.

None taken. After randomly trying out like a dozen shmups I started to get the idea that maybe I don't really like shmups as much as I like what they could theoretically be in my head. But I felt I owed it to myself to at least explore the genre and start a thread asking for advice. Not calling it quits yet, but if I don't end up finding anything it won't keep me up at night.

Shepardus wrote:
To OP, though, yeah your options are going to be limited, with your preference for vertical non-bullet-hell games.

Well, again, they're just a preference based on my limited experience thus far. It's not like I refuse to touch a horizontal or bullet hell or refuse to like them, I just haven't seen any yet that turn me on (with the possible exception of Mystic Riders). I'm not expecting there to be a perfect game that exactly suits everything I ever wanted. This thread started with me talking about how I like Daioh despite it not offering a lot of what I'd prefer.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:34 pm 


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Just a friendly advice: choose a (meaning one, a single one) shmup you really like for something (maybe aesthetic, the music, a particular mechanic, etc...) and try to stick to it for more than a couple hours.

Pour into it something like 10 hours, 1 hour every day for a week or so and see if you get the hang of it.

Shmups, much like fighting games, are part of a genre which rewards patience and dedication. They are kinda fun at the beginning, then you meet a "wall" which makes you feel like you're never getting through it (in a fighting game it's the classic "why does everyone always beat me", in a shmup is more like "why am I always dying at X point"), but if you keep trying and read some guides online, you'll eventually crush through it and you'll be rewarded with lots of satisfaction which will leave you craving for more.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:01 pm 


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I can try to give off a few recommendations:

1990's Arcade

Truxton II (harder than Truxton, and the music is worth listening)
Daioh - 6 button version with 3 shots and bombs makes your ship very versatile
Galaga Arrangement - has 2p co-op and get 3 different super powers from 3 captain galaga units
Xevious 3D - a polygon 3d game that gives you 3 weapon types and allows for ground bombing. 2 player co-op
Cybattler - I enjoy this game for being a omni directional shmup on a vertical screen. You can also get close to enemy ships and slash them with the sword. 2p co-op
Fixeight - 8 playable characters with fixed, 8-way, and special weapons. Up to 3 players can play with lots of action

Modern

Quad Fighter K (Switch) - an old school vertical game that mocks NES/Famicom, and the twist is that 4 fighters are always available at the start of the game and you can merge sides to get more firepower. You can unlock various fighters with different weapon setups along the way.
Horizon Shift 81 (Switch) - give that a shot because it is not bullet dense, and the hook is that you can switch between two sides of the horizon, and acts as a platform that can be shot by enemy bullets

Feel free to take a shot of any of these games as they might suit your tastes.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:39 pm 


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donluca wrote:
Just a friendly advice: choose a (meaning one, a single one) shmup you really like for something (maybe aesthetic, the music, a particular mechanic, etc...) and try to stick to it for more than a couple hours.

That's the issue though. Besides Daioh none of what else I've tried has really grabbed me hardly in any way at all. The only real exception is Mystic Riders maybe. Some of these games had an interesting idea or two but it wasn't enough for me to play more than the half hour I already did. (I'll probably try playing Thunder Force 2 and Dragon Breed once more though if just to figure out how to beat the first level).

donluca wrote:
Pour into it something like 10 hours, 1 hour every day for a week or so and see if you get the hang of it.

You can criticize me for expecting instant gratification all you want, but I'm not about to suffer through multiple hours/days of a game I already decided I don't like just in hopes that some minor thing in a later level makes me feel like maybe my time wasn't completely wasted.

I dunno, I play games to kick back and have fun, not to brag about the size of my e-penis or whatever. I completely don't care about score or how hard the levels are to master or any shit like that, I don't even really care about winning or beating it. If a game isn't enjoyable from the get go, in some way, then I'll just turn it off and try the next one. I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else, and especially not to the game itself.

MrJBRPG wrote:
Daioh - 6 button version

lol :)
I'll look at the others though, thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:00 am 


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komatik wrote:
There's a fine balance between being challenging and being hard for hard's sake. A lot of old arcade games weren't necessarily designed to be fun so much as they were designed to make people pump quarters. I'm less anal about things like health bars and lives than other people, but it's always nice when a game understands that the point of playing is to be enjoyed and is forgiving of mistakes instead of acting like an abusive parent looking for any excuse to whip you with a belt. (Personally, I think the whole idea of lives is a relic of the past and doesn't really belong in modern games... I tend to prefer stuff that has rechargable health/shield paired with permadeath).

komatik wrote:
You can criticize me for expecting instant gratification all you want, but I'm not about to suffer through multiple hours/days of a game I already decided I don't like just in hopes that some minor thing in a later level makes me feel like maybe my time wasn't completely wasted.

I dunno, I play games to kick back and have fun, not to brag about the size of my e-penis or whatever. I completely don't care about score or how hard the levels are to master or any shit like that, I don't even really care about winning or beating it. If a game isn't enjoyable from the get go, in some way, then I'll just turn it off and try the next one. I have nothing to prove to myself or anyone else, and especially not to the game itself.


Based on what you've written here I honestly think you'd have a lot more fun playing something like Mass Effect 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, or Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Not shooters.

Not taking a dig at you or anything, since there are plenty of people here who also enjoy those kinds of games (hell, I like Final Fantasy), I'm just saying.

EDIT:
komatik wrote:
I just want something more than "bash enemy on head" is all.


Spoiler: show
Champions of Krynn
Civilization II
Europa Universalis

Exile (BBC Micro)
Final Fantasy V
Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken
King's Field
Master of Orion
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Portal
Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny
Shin Megami Tensei
StarCraft: Brood War
Wizardry: Crusaders of the Dark Savant
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:18 am 


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komatik wrote:
You can criticize me for expecting instant gratification all you want, but I'm not about to suffer through multiple hours/days of a game I already decided I don't like just in hopes that some minor thing in a later level makes me feel like maybe my time wasn't completely wasted.


Sorry if my comment came out somewhat rude, that wasn't my intention and I wasn't criticizing in any way.
It's just that I've been through something similar with fighting games first and shmups after and giving just a friendly advice on what worked for me.

There's nothing intrinsically bad about instant gratification: as we grow up our free time becomes more and more scarce and I can totally get behind the idea of "I just want to fire up a game and have fun without going through a steep learning curve".
That's why I told you that maybe shmups are not for you, since they all require some degree of learning and dedication.

One thing which crossed my mind: try CAVE games novice mode. They are very light on the bullet count on the easier mode and I find them really enjoyable.

Mushihimesama is probably the most beautiful of them.

Also, try Space Moth DX on Steam, I find it quite relaxing and easy with a nice visual style.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:19 am 


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FYI the french website shmup.com have a 1597 games database with reviews for all platforms (more arcade and console references than doujins tho, but since most doujin are for PC...), the search engine doesn't work in google translate though and is limited to 150 results, you can sort by ratings for finer/narrower results.
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 12:14 pm 


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I‘m inclined to say what others have expressed earlier. Maybe the genre just isn‘t for you. You have already expressed dislike for such a wide variety of styles within the niche that there really isn‘t all that much left.

Here‘s a crazy thought, though. Why not try some of those so-called euroshmups? They get slanted around here a lot and, to be fair, mostly because they tend to fail on a fundamental gameplay level. Some of the flak originates from catering to a totally different audience, though.

Developers (mostly in europe) back in the day were somehow obsessed with the idea that shmups as a genre were simple and outdated, so they were seeking ways to go beyond it, with varying degrees of success. I sense a bit of that mindset in the paragraphs where you explain what you‘re looking for, so who knows? You might enjoy some of those games specifically for the aspects that are frowned upon around here.

I know it can be a bit fiddly to set up an Amiga emulator, but maybe try these:

Xenon II
Fairly easy game with a shop system and many different weapons to try out. Pretty graphics.

X-Out
Instead of picking up extra lives and powerups, you buy additional ships and weapons for them between levels. You pay for them with your score which in return gives you an incentive to score well. C64 version is also decent.

Uridium 2
Instead of just flying through a level from start to end, your goal is to destroy giant battleships while airborne enemies try to stop you from doing just that. Other than the aforementioned two, this actually has very solid game design.

Also try Armalyte (C64). My personal dislike for the game is well documented, but I think you might like playing around with the battery-powered super-shot system. Each level is basically a series of mini puzzles you have to solve with the tools at your disposal.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:23 pm 


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Ah man I love X-Out, probably the only Euroshmup I still fire up every now and again. Great music on the C64 version as well.
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 2:28 pm 


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Herr Schatten wrote:
I‘m inclined to say what others have expressed earlier. Maybe the genre just isn‘t for you. You have already expressed dislike for such a wide variety of styles within the niche that there really isn‘t all that much left.

Two possible solutions are
-play a horizontal. I mean, half of most horizontal's shtick is designing your strategy around the terrain and weapons (e.g. Gradius)
-try playing a game for more than 30 seconds before you decide you don't like it or understand it. You might even discover interesting facts, like that ground enemies in Twinbee DO fire at you, so it's not 'pointless' for them to be there.

Failing that, just play Mars Matrix. 4 weapons with different functions (each depends on how long you hold the shot button), one being a shield that reflects bullets whose resources you have to manage. Each play is going to be different as you manage your resource-levels and react accordingly to the enemy threats.
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:30 pm 


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This a difficult topic.. Perhaps Dimension Drive has the puzzle type ascpect/challenge you are looking for?

https://youtu.be/U-n_rOOCHIE

Or maybe Skyforce Reloaded...Is more of a grind to progress type shmup


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:28 pm 


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you guys are crazy
OP is asking for non-bullet-hell and shit like Mars Matrix gets mentioned over and over :lol: :lol: :lol:

seriously though, the best suggestion I saw was Silpheed The Lost Planet
other than that I'd say just tackle all verts designed/ported for 16-bit consoles
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:41 pm 


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Maybe Sorcer Striker fits the bill?

That's a game I've only played sparingly on MAME but I really liked it. One day I'll try and get the PCB.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:14 pm 


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WelshMegalodon wrote:
Based on what you've written here I honestly think you'd have a lot more fun playing something like

Oh I definitely play other games and enjoy them for sure. It's not like Daioh is the only thing I've ever touched. Again, I'm NOT searching for some mythical perfect shmup where I will only ever play that one game for the rest of my life. I'm jut trying to find a few shmups I might enjoy that I can play along with everything else in my library.

donluca wrote:
That's why I told you that maybe shmups are not for you, since they all require some degree of learning and dedication.

Ugh... ffs folks, I don't have a problem with learning shit or dumping time into a game. When I tried and rejected these games it was because I wasn't feeling their style, not because I'm expecting to be a master from day one, not because I'm butthurt at losing. I'm literally asking for a game where I have to figure stuff out and everything isn't obvious. By definition, anything I can breeze through inside an hour probably isn't it, and that's not what I'm looking for.

I realize you (donluca and everyone else) are not intending to be insulting here and I'm trying not to lash out, but I'm starting to get frustrated that people are viewing everything I write in black and white and jumping to extremes. If I write "I kinda prefer XYZ because of ABC" that's not the same as "I will never ever touch anything that isn't 100% XYZ".

donluca wrote:
One thing which crossed my mind: try CAVE games novice mode.

I'm still a little too new to fully understand what you mean here. CAVE is one of the companies that makes a lot of popular shmups, right? Do you mean try any random CAVE game in 'novice mode' difficulty setting, or is there some CAVE-made shmup compilation literally called "games novice mode"?

Xyga wrote:
FYI the french website shmup.com

Thanks, but unfortunately I can't read French any better than I can read Japanese. Without understanding what the reviews say it's not much use to me.

Herr Schatten wrote:
You have already expressed dislike for such a wide variety of styles within the niche

.... such as? So far I've only mentioned three: horizontal, complex bullet pattern memorization, and simplistic gameplay. And in all three cases my opinion is that I don't like the dozen I've tried so far, not that it's impossible for me to like them.

Herr Schatten wrote:
Why not try some of those so-called euroshmups?

So prior to WelshMegalodon mentioning them upthread yesterday I've never heard that term before. I'm always leery when I get into a situation along the lines of "you don't like what we like, that must mean you like what we hate" because it's usually just more black and white thinking ("the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend: they could just be another enemy" and all that). Usually if everyone hates something there's a reason for that, but I'll try and take a look at least. Is there a site/thread out there that goes into the history and what the overall themes are?

Herr Schatten wrote:
I know it can be a bit fiddly to set up an Amiga emulator

Oh ick, no kidding. Is the entire genre all Amiga? That might suck.

EmperorIng wrote:
try playing a game for more than 30 seconds before you decide you don't like it or understand it. You might even discover interesting facts, like that ground enemies in Twinbee DO fire at you, so it's not 'pointless' for them to be there.

If you actually read anything I wrote you might discover interesting facts, like that I did indeed play these games for longer than 30 seconds, and that you pulled "pointless" out of your ass because I never used that word or wrote anything like that in the post you're referencing.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:22 pm 


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2dvertical wrote:
Perhaps Dimension Drive has the puzzle type ascpect/challenge you are looking for?

Oh shit yes that sort of thing is exactly what I'm talking about when I go on about figuring stuff out and being more than just blasting enemies in the face. Thank you so much for pointing to this as an example. Being heavily memorization-based is unfortunately a requirement for this specific game mechanic, but these sorts of mechanics ideas in general are the things I'm looking for. Something that makes you have to think.

This might be one of the few games I would consider throwing money at (I don't care about scoring so most of the bugs in the game probably don't apply to me).

donluca wrote:
Maybe Sorcer Striker fits the bill?

"gobligans"
Lol, this is the most hilariously goofy take on a shmup I've seen all month, and the engrish is the icing on the cake. I will definitely try to play this for a bit :) Hopefully the gameplay is good enough for me to keep it.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:38 pm 


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If you enjoy Sorcer Striker, you may also want to try Great Mahou Daisakusen (aka Dimahoo), which is a later game in the same series. I mention it because it has a polarity mechanic comparable to Ikaruga, albeit not featured as heavily (fun fact: Ikaruga and Dimahoo were in development simultaneously so neither can be said to have ripped off the other). Your charge attack (yes, there's a separate button for rapid fire by default) switches you between two colors, red and blue; you do more damage to enemies of the opposite color but can be killed by their bullets, while getting hit by the same color only drops you a power level.
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:44 pm 


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CAVE (which is a big producer of shmups) games introduced "Novice modes" when they converted their arcade games to consoles.

Those are for those not familiar/good with shmups so they drastically reduced the bullet count on screen and made everything slower (and sometimes added an auto-bomb mechanic, which means that if you get hit and you have a bomb in stock, it will use the bomb and spare your life).

Mushihimesama on Steam comes to mind, original novice mode might be the right thing for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:59 am 


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komatik wrote:
If you actually read anything I wrote you might discover interesting facts, like that I did indeed play these games for longer than 30 seconds, and that you pulled "pointless" out of your ass because I never used that word or wrote anything like that in the post you're referencing.

While you didn't use the exact word, you certainly came across as being very dismissive of the bombing mechanic:
komatik wrote:
Oh yeah, that's true isn't it. I guess I never thought about it that way since it seems like just an optional way to sometimes get bonus items. (At least, to the extent that I've played Pop'n and Yahho none of the things you can bomb are necessary or attack back).


Stage 2 has no shortage of ground enemies spraying their bullets at you, and the vulcan and 4-way powerups can actually be pretty helpful when trying to recover from death. Hardly useless.

komatik wrote:
Ugh... ffs folks, I don't have a problem with learning shit or dumping time into a game. When I tried and rejected these games it was because I wasn't feeling their style, not because I'm expecting to be a master from day one, not because I'm butthurt at losing. I'm literally asking for a game where I have to figure stuff out and everything isn't obvious. By definition, anything I can breeze through inside an hour probably isn't it, and that's not what I'm looking for.


You say this, but at the same time you didn't play Yahho!! long enough to figure out what bell colors correspond to which powerups. You can't ask for shooters that require some modicum of thinking and then complain about things not being immediately obvious like you did here:
komatik wrote:
This was a mess of sounds and shapes, I cannot for the life of me figure out wtf is going on or what I'm supposed to be doing.

komatik wrote:
Much like Space Megaforce I had a hard time figuring out what I'm doing. Similar to Twinbee there are Japanese lantern things you can shoot and collect but I dunno what it's supposed to give me. The A button cycles between 'forms' which doesn't appear to make any difference, and the B button doesn't seem to do anything at all.

It's as if you're actively ignoring the very complexity you're trying to find in these games we're recommending to you.

komatik wrote:
By definition, anything I can breeze through inside an hour probably isn't it, and that's not what I'm looking for.


You say this but then mentioned that you couldn't get anywhere in Dragon Breed.

komatik wrote:
I cannot get any version of this game working. Two different Genesis roms on two different emulators both lock up on the title screen. There are two arcade versions, one doesn't work in any version of MAME, the other only boots in one of them and instantly freezes. Etc.


Type in "no intro genesis roms" into Google and use whatever you find with RetroArch's Genesis Plus GX core. If that doesn't work, you're doing something wrong.

komatik wrote:
Usually if everyone hates something there's a reason for that, but I'll try and take a look at least. Is there a site/thread out there that goes into the history and what the overall themes are?


Euroshmups are disliked because they tend to introduce complexity into a shmup in a way that fails to indicate an understanding of what makes shooters fun. Nimbly dodging bullets is fun, so inertia is frowned upon since it would make dodging harder. Players get satisfaction out of learning deliberately patterned enemy formations and avoiding their fire, so life bars can (sometimes) indicate that they didn't put any thought into them and instead expect the player to soak up the damage. Stuff like that.

By the way, you might get better results playing the PlayStation port of Yahho!! in Mednafen than you will running the arcade rom in MAME. (Or Beetle-PSX in RetroArch, whatever.)
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:20 am 


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I honestly can’t believe you guys are spending so much time convincing this guy who clearly dislikes shmups to like shmups.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 1:44 am 


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What do you think of single-screen shooters like Space Invaders and Galaga where the mechanics are very simple, but the very act of shooting and hitting your target is tough due to limitations on how much you can shoot (i.e. "spray and pray" doesn't work because you can't "spray" in the first place)? Galaga '88 and Battlantis are (slightly) newer takes on the concept. I particularly like Battlantis but I'm pretty sure nobody else does.

While I'm here I might as well mention Maidens of a Hollow Dream - the aesthetic may be somewhat of an acquired taste if you know what I mean, but you may find the dual-character mechanics to be of interest. I remember there being a demo but I didn't see it on Steam...

komatik wrote:
Usually if everyone hates something there's a reason for that, but I'll try and take a look at least. Is there a site/thread out there that goes into the history and what the overall themes are?

Plenty of people like euroshmups, just not typically people on this forum.

WelshMegalodon wrote:
Stage 2 has no shortage of ground enemies spraying their bullets at you, and the vulcan and 4-way powerups can actually be pretty helpful when trying to recover from death. Hardly useless.

I'm still scarred by all the times I've dropped my bell chain at that very part.

WelshMegalodon wrote:
By the way, you might get better results playing the PlayStation port of Yahho!! in Mednafen than you will running the arcade rom in MAME. (Or Beetle-PSX in RetroArch, whatever.)

This is true, the emulation in MAME works for the most part but has some graphical glitches (e.g. some background layers fail to render - in TwinBee Yahho this is noticeable on the third stage boss because it just suddenly materializes instead of appearing to come out of the water). I think the PSP port (TwinBee Portable) also works well, and is very straightforward to emulate (note: the Pop'n TwinBee port in TwinBee Portable doesn't seem to be so great, I would recommend the SNES/SFC original instead).

donluca wrote:
CAVE (which is a big producer of shmups) games introduced "Novice modes" when they converted their arcade games to consoles.

Those are for those not familiar/good with shmups so they drastically reduced the bullet count on screen and made everything slower (and sometimes added an auto-bomb mechanic, which means that if you get hit and you have a bomb in stock, it will use the bomb and spare your life).

Mushihimesama on Steam comes to mind, original novice mode might be the right thing for you.

I'll speak for komatik and say that CAVE novice modes are not what he's looking for, they just make the game even more "mindless."

Kollision wrote:
you guys are crazy
OP is asking for non-bullet-hell and shit like Mars Matrix gets mentioned over and over :lol: :lol: :lol:

Gotta make up for its falling off the top 25 list this year somehow :P
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:28 am 


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Shepardus wrote:
If you enjoy Sorcer Striker, you may also want to try Great Mahou Daisakusen (aka Dimahoo), which is a later game in the same series. I mention it because it has a polarity mechanic comparable to Ikaruga

So far I've only played like literally 15 seconds of Sorcer (just enough to make sure it worked) but it looks goofy enough that it might be fun for a bit. I'll definitely check out Dimahoo though either way.

donluca wrote:
CAVE (which is a big producer of shmups) games introduced "Novice modes" when they converted their arcade games to consoles.

Oh ok, that pretty much means I'll have to figure out my issues with Saturn/Dreamcast/Playstation emulators though, which isn't something I'm looking forward to.

Shepardus wrote:
What do you think of single-screen shooters like Space Invaders and Galaga

Good question.

I know they were cool for their time and they had a monumental impact on gaming in general, but for me in today's world their gameplay is just too primitive for me to get any enjoyment out of them. Although the speed of the games are way slower and stiffer than "true" shmups (by which I mean 90's onwards), they're still ultimately based around "shoot enemies in the face" but with worse window dressing. The single-screen aspect doesn't really affect me either way.

Shepardus wrote:
but the very act of shooting and hitting your target is tough due to limitations

Again, there's a subtle but very important distinction between "hard", "challenging", and "difficult to play" that a lot of players and game designers don't always get. Many games are tough due to being unnecessarily unforgiving about timing or mistakes, many are tough due to awkward controls (QWOP being a great example), and some are tough due to asking the player to think in new ways and question their assumptions. Although anyone can find their own personal enjoyment in any of these things, the latter of them is what I'm looking for myself.

Shepardus wrote:
the aesthetic may be somewhat of an acquired taste if you know what I mean,

Yeah for better or worse I'm well familiar with fanboi-fanservice games: there are quite a lot out there in the gaming world, especially if you have any familiarity with the anime scene where that sort of thing is the rule rather than the exception.

Shepardus wrote:
but you may find the dual-character mechanics to be of interest.

Based on watching Youtube videos it looks questionable but I might take a look at it at some point. If I do end up dumping money into a steam game or whatever I'll very likely start first with an Ikaruga port or Dimension Drive though as so far those are the closest to what I'm looking for.

Shepardus wrote:
Plenty of people like euroshmups, just not typically people on this forum.

Do you know of one that might offer a more positive opinion?


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:11 am 


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OK, so I played a lot more of Mystic Riders....

- I like the theme and art style of this game (well, I like the first stage a lot, the rest are acceptable). It doesn't swamp you with hyper saturated colors and dancing lollipops like other cute-em-ups I tried. The sprites are pretty clear, the backgrounds aren't distracting, etc. Everything's pretty well put together. It's not overly dramatic/edgy/pretentious like a lot of titles nor is it based around the tired "demonic alien insect" motif so common with other 90s games.

- Playing a game that takes its time is a welcome change once in a while. That probably only works for something themed this way, but it's nice to see a game that's paced like a children's bedtime story instead of another action movie.

- This game is pretty short? Only 4 stages apparently.

- Gameplay wise it's not super involved. Still pretty much a blaster game, but the stand-on-ground/ceiling and broom-throw mechanics are at least a slightly different take on the idea. Speaking of which: throwing the broom seems waaaaay powerful. You can throw it in all 8 directions, it does like 5x the damage of your shots, passes through multiple enemies at once, and hits them again on the way back. I feel like I'm doing something wrong because I don't see why you'd ever bother with your normal shots, even the upgraded charge shot seems inferior.


Overall, this is the only horizontal I've played so far that does something for me. I think I'll classify it the same as Daioh: it's on the simple side so I probably won't play it a lot, but it offers enough to be enjoyable once in a while if I want to kick back briefly after dinner. I'm definitely not going to delete it.

Also: In researching this I noticed there's another famous series called "Cotton" also featuring a witch riding a broom. I tried the SNES port and while cute it didn't do a lot for me. Are any of the others in the series worth checking out for me?


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:36 am 


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komatik wrote:
- This game is pretty short? Only 4 stages apparently.

There's definitely more than that, I think there are six stages (and two loops)?

komatik wrote:
Also: In researching this I noticed there's another famous series called "Cotton" also featuring a witch riding a broom. I tried the SNES port and while cute it didn't do a lot for me. Are any of the others in the series worth checking out for me?

There are several games in the series, but I'm not very familiar with it. Cotton 2 and Cotton Boomerang are ST-V/Saturn games, though, so emulation may prove troublesome.
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:58 am 


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komatik wrote:
As I wrote in another post, a game where you only had one normal blaster but you had to figure out how to bounce shots off walls or something would also fit the bill, likewise a game where you don't even have a gun but like a mirror that bounces enemy shots back at them. It doesn't even really have to be about weapons at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:58 am 


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komatik wrote:
Xyga wrote:
FYI the french website shmup.com

Thanks, but unfortunately I can't read French any better than I can read Japanese. Without understanding what the reviews say it's not much use to me.

It's not the reviews that count the most but the database when you're looking for games (there's pics anyway), you won't find another one like that on the internet dedicated only to shmups.
Figuring the search engine doesn't take a PhD in ancient runes, 'scrolling' 'vertical' 'arcade' 'pcengine' '10/10, 9/10/ 8/10' etc aren't japanese nor klingon either.

egg_sanwich wrote:
I honestly can’t believe you guys are spending so much time convincing this guy who clearly dislikes shmups to like shmups.

We have time to waste, but I'm starting to think there's something fishy going on here anyway. Not the first time we've seen a newcomer asking ppl to find what he likes in his place though, usually they dont last long. As someone said recently its a case of "your genre is in another castle"
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 Post subject: Re: Any good not-bullet-hell vertical games?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:53 pm 


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Isn't Dimahoo quite bullet heavy? I must admit it's been forever since I last played it, so my memory could be failing me.

@OP: your best bet for CAVE shooters, if you don't own an Xbox360, it's just to get them from Steam. They don't require a super powerful PC and if you have Linux/Mac they work absolutely great under Wine/Wineskin.


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