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Bullet Hell Monday: Black Review

Official Score

Overall - 60%


Bullet Hell Monday: Black has the bullets and challenge, but this danmaku focuses more on flash than substance. There’s just too much to process, leading to an unnecessary handicap more casual fans will have a hard time overcoming.

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Cave, Treasure, and other shoot-em-up legends have paved the way for the genre, but Masayuki Ito is throwing his hat into the ring once more with the release of Bullet Hell Monday: Black. This vertical shmup certainly looks the part; can it fill these big shoes as well?

Bullet Hell Monday: Black Review

True to the genre, Bullet Hell Monday: Black features stacked odds and plenty of bullets. This vertical danmaku pulls no punches; even the first few minutes of the game throw a technicolor of color, threats, power-ups, and goodies. However, even though the overall objective is kill or be killed, this title has a number of tweaks to its system.

For one, a hit isn’t the end of the world; rather, it’s an opportunity to get revenge. Succumb to the world, and all bombs are released in a frenzy that would make Michael Bay proud. In addition, the special weapons (SP) changes up the usual shot patterns. There are six in all to choose from: Homing Laser, Blade, Spark, Decoy, Time, and Barrier.

Some of these are perfect for offensive play, while others can get players out of a pinch with their defensive perks. However, the end result is a bit of a mixed bag.

Each one has a meter, and one can quickly charge it by doing nothing. This sounds great in theory, but the end result is awkward when there’s too much on the screen. It can also be hard to determine friend, foe, or environment – there’s simply far too much on the screen to process at any given time.

One might defend this challenge as a difficulty curve that one needs to master, but this just feels like an unnecessary handicap. Players raised on Touhou will take to its challenge like a duck to water, but more casual fans will have a hard time processing the sheer stimuli.

Bullet Hell Monday: Black features three different modes to enjoy: Black Mode, Original Mode, and Extra Mode. Some feature old stages, some feature new stages, and some feature endless stages. The aforementioned difficulty can be tamed down with its Easy mode, but there are four difficulty settings that ramp things all the way up to “Heaven.” There are different stages with different rules, so this burden is eased, yet still a bit uneven.

All in all, each run will go for a little more than a half hour. It’s about average for a bullet hell, and the title encourages replayability.

Bullet Hell Monday: Black has the bullets and challenge, but this danmaku focuses more on flash than substance. There’s just too much to process, leading to an unnecessary handicap more casual fans will have a hard time overcoming.

This review of Bullet Hell Monday: Black was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
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Casey Scheld

Casey Scheld has more than 15 years of experience in the gaming industry as a community manager, social media director, event specialist, and (of course) gaming editor. He has previously worked with gaming start-ups like Raptr, publishers like Konami, and roller derby girls at PAX West (check out Jam City Rollergirls)! Gamers Heroes is a passion project for him, giving him a chance to tap into the underground side of gaming. He is all too eager to give these lesser-known heroes of the indie space the attention they so rightly deserve, seeking out the next gem and sharing it with the world. Previously making appearances at events like CES, GDC, and (the late) E3, he is all too happy to seek out the next big thing. For those that want to talk shop, send over a tip, or get an easy win in a fighting game of their choosing, be sure to check out his social media channels below.

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