Sure has been a while since I actually put up much in the way of worthwhile content, but Nyu Media has snapped me out of my little rut with a review copy of ARMED SEVEN, the first of their latest slate of games.
Like all other Nyu Media titles, ARMED SEVEN is a localized Japanese indie title. This time, the developer is ASTRO PORT. They list the genre as “2D Mecha Shooting” in their press release, but I’d more accurately call it a side-scrolling shmup, albeit a much more forgiving one.
The way the game works is simple. You are operating a flying mech in a side-scrolling stage, and must dodge and shoot your way through several stages. I’m actually not sure how many there are – the official count is 5, but I made it through six without reaching the end. That said, there are no on-screen indicators of what stage you’re on, so it may be that there are multiple sub-stages in each “stage”. You get to choose between any combination of 12 weapons, provided you take exactly one of each type.
The length the game is aside, the actual shooting uses a slightly unusual control scheme. Or, at least, what I could tell of the control scheme, since the game’s controls are so vague that I couldn’t figure out how to use charge shots or pause. When you’re not shooting, moving up or down will turn the angle of your primary weapon in an angle towards that direction, resetting to firing straight if you’re not moving. When firing, the direction does not change, so you can have your weapon firing downwards while you move upwards, for instance. Additionally, your secondary weapon is completely unaffected by what angle your weapon is pointed, as far as I could tell – rockets and the like just go perfectly straight no matter what.
This gives you a bit more freedom in terms of maneuverability, which is much needed with how large your mech is. The game also gives you a shield that can be replenished with power-ups, and limited health to work with, so you don’t die in one hit. Which is much appreciated, since the game resembles a standard shmup in how there are shots all over the screen in places (though not as often as usual). This is why I called this a more forgiving shmup – it’s not nearly as brutal unless you pick a difficulty that makes it so, but the gameplay resembles the genre too much to call it anything else.
If you’re not into shmups because they’re too hard, you may want to give it a try. Similarly, if you’re into shmups, the gameplay may be different enough from usual shmups to be of interest.
On a more serious note, the bundle includes titles such as the well-regarded visual novel Higurashi When They Cry and the eXceed series of shmups, so it may be worth a purchase.