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SHINORUBI Review

Overall - 50%

50%

SHINORUBI’s widescreen vantage point is certainly unique to the world of shoot-’em-ups, but this title proves there’s a good reason for that. Its lack of personality and cluttered playfield make this a hard pass for even the most hardcore shmup fan.

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Inspired by the Japanese danmaku shmups of old, Last Boss 88 kicks the genre up a notch with SHINORUBI. Featuring a widescreen playfield and ultra HD graphics, can it hang with Japanese legends like Cave and Treasure?

SHINORUBI Review

Taking control of an elite mercenary, players will hit the skies of this vertical shmup as they take down all threats with unlimited firepower. Players will have to shoot first and ask questions later, but point multipliers, medals, and screen-clearing bombs will make the barrage of bullets just a bit easier to swallow. There’s even a way for one to concentrate their fire – just the thing you need when the going gets tough.

We’ve seen this formula countless times before – since the days of Space Invaders of 1978, in fact. However, it’s all how one looks at things that makes things unique.

This largely factors into its playfield. Titles like Galaga and Raiden keep things in a 9:16 ratio, but SHINORUBI turns things on its head by making the entire title in a widescreen format. Although players can change the ratio in the options to something other than 16:9, it doesn’t quite work as well as you’d think it would. There’s just too much ground to cover, and there’s little reason to go over to certain areas of the map. Some areas can’t be taken down (marked with an exclamation point warning), but they can easily be avoided.

This is ultimately SHINORUBI’s greatest problem – its lack of personality. Each pilot has a stylized headshot, but there’s little to distinguish each level from one another. Everything is a mechanical threat, but there’s little variety between each one. The game can be completed in just a half hour, but it feels much longer than that – a cardinal sin for those looking to come back and learn its different patterns.

This factors into its overall game balance as well. SHINORUBI takes cues from danmaku bullet hells, so expect to see a screen full of bullets at any given time. This normally isn’t a problem in and of itself, but the game also throws countless power-ups your way too. Without knowing what is good and what is bad, this cluttered setup makes it far too easy to make a mistake.

SHINORUBI does make an admirable attempt to keep players coming back. The almighty one credit clear is encouraged, and each mercenary has a different rate of fire. There’s also an arrange mode that offers up different variations, including a shield mode, laser/shot mode, difficulty-adjusting super rank mode, and more.

SHINORUBI’s widescreen vantage point is certainly unique to the world of shoot-’em-ups, but this title proves there’s a good reason for that. Its lack of personality and cluttered playfield make this a hard pass for even the most hardcore shmup fan.

This review of SHINORUBI was done on the PC. The game was purchased digitally.
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Casey Scheld

Drawn to the underground side of gaming, Casey helps the lesser known heroes of video games. If you’ve never heard of it, he’s mastered it.
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