nkmr appworks claims that their new shmup Rysen is a “non-bullethell vertical shooter,” which may be a relief for those tired of danmakus. Does this game play well, or are you better off playing one of the greats?
Those who are venturing out into the wild blue yonder of Ryzen’s skies will not be starved for choice. Players can choose between two different kinds of fighters, with one offering minor tweaks in control and speed. It’s subtle, but welcome. However, the real fun comes in choosing both the primary and secondary weapons. Much like Gunstar Heroes, players can mix and match from two different firing styles (or a shield), coming up with different ways to annihilate their enemies.
Unfortunately, some are clearly more powerful than others – the homing attack trumps all, and both firing buttons can be held down for the entirety of the game. You could put a rock down on the “Z” key and likely make it through the majority of the game. It’s a shame that there is not as much balance with this compared to other shmups on the market.
The gameplay can get pretty hectic too. There’s nothing too out of the ordinary in Rysen – enemies will fly around in set patterns, appearing from the top, bottom, and sides. It can get kind of cheap though – some enemies will spawn around you, while other ones will come at you fast from behind. Bosses don’t fare much better – though the game claims it’s not a bullet hell, these bosses prove otherwise. They all have multiple sections that need to be taken down, and they do not hesitate to throw a metric ton of multicolored fire your way. Memorization is the key to victory, which could be a blessing or a curse depending on whether you prefer those types of games.
Getting through the seven stages the game has to offer takes around an hour, and the infinite credits and lack of penalty for continuing make it easy to just plow your way through the game. There are bonuses for shooting down strings of enemies, and players are also judged based on the annihilation rate, the stage completion time, and the number of remaining lives. A scoreboard is available, along with multiple difficulty settings, but this game does not have tremendous replay value outside of those looking to one credit clear the game. However, those looking for some customizable functionality can tweak their experience with the playlist editor.
Rysen is a standard shoot-em-up that doesn’t do anything wrong, but does not do anything out of the ordinary either. Those seeking out another shmup could do far worse, but more casual fans can safely skip this one.