Overall - 70%
Graze Counter's Graze and Burst mechanics add an extra layer of strategy to this shoot-em-up. It's not the most robust or revolutionary game around, but those looking to take to the skies will appreciate what it has to offer.
Henteko Doujin and Bikkuri Software dare all would-be pilots to live dangerously with their shoot-em-up throwback Graze Counter. Is this risky flight game worth the reward, or should you stay on terra firma?
Graze Counter Review
At first glance, Graze Counter doesn’t seem to do anything out of the ordinary. It’s blaring 90s synth soundtrack, Engrish typos, school girls piloting advanced ships, and waves of bullets have all been done countless times before, but this shoot-em-up’s got a hook. Those who “graze” bullets are able to quickly build up a Graze meter. After that meter is charged past a certain, you can then launch a large laser beam that cuts through enemies and their multi-color bullets like butter. It’s an interesting mechanic, one that makes players take risks and play far more offensively than what is typically seen in the genre. The fact that this meter can be charged within a second means that you’ll be ready to launch another blast at the drop of a hat.
This mechanic also has another layer of depth in the form of its Break mode. Shooting the bad guys with the artillery from your Graze meter drops a flurry of yellow stars. Collecting said stars fills a second Break meter, which can then lead to heavier, screen clearing firepower and the ability to collect red stars. Those looking for a high score can definitely make the most of both of these meters, along with a multiplier reminiscent of the system seen in titles like Devil May Cry. This variety is welcome, and changes things up from just laying on the fire button.
These games can often be downright cheap due to their quarter munching nature – thankfully Graze Counter does not fall into this trap. Players can choose from their difficulty from the outset, and unlimited credits are available. There are also a variety of ships to choose from that vary in attack, defense, speed, and difficulty, with more available to unlock. Players can also ease the challenge a bit by choosing from options like auto-shields, the bullet-vanishing “Overgraze,” or the “Extend Guard” option. Losing in battle kicks players back to the beginning of a level, and while the game throws a lot of firepower and oversized ships at you, it somewhat steep difficulty curve is fair throughout.
The core game can be completed in an hour or so, but there are multiple characters to choose from, a practice mode, and other options. The biggest of these is its Omake suite of options, which comes with a Boss Rush mode, an Unlimited Mode, and an extra stage. Players looking to one credit clear the game will appreciate these options, and will likely gravitate toward finding the perfect run.
Graze Counter’s Graze and Burst mechanics add an extra layer of strategy to this shoot-em-up. It’s not the most robust or revolutionary game around, but those looking to take to the skies will appreciate what it has to offer.