Classic arcade shmups don't seem to be going anywhere with plenty of ports and modern indie interpretations constantly popping up. So, does Danmaku Unlimited 3 have what it takes to stand out in such a crowded genre?
Danmaku Unlimited 3 looks and plays like a shoot 'em up from around the early 2000s. As a huge fan of the genre, I consider that era to be a phenomenal time for shmups with incredible titles like Ikaruga, Gradius V, and R-Type Final being released. Danmaku Unlimited 3 definitely has super-tight core gameplay as you shoot and dodge projectiles. Plus, you can hold another button as you shoot which focuses your shot as well as slows your ship down. It's a fantastic way to take down the bosses. Anyway, you're awarded by letting bullets graze you which is reminiscent of a few classics in the genre. However, if things ever get too hectic then you can always use up one of your stocked bombs in order to escape a sticky situation. It's tight and challenging stuff that fans of the genre will surely appreciate.
When it comes to its visuals and sound, Danmaku Unlimited 3 is no slouch. The graphics are incredibly flashy and stylish yet nothing is ambiguous which allows you to focus on the gameplay instead of squinting in order to make out what's what. That being said, nothing really changes throughout and every stage, boss, and enemy basically looks the same. You won't think back fondly on any particular stage or boss which is something that I like to do whenever I put down a good shmup. Thankfully, the guitar-filled soundtrack is great and will make you feel like a badass while you play. Overall, the lack of visual variety is disappointing but it's certainly flashy and sounds great.
As I've already touched upon, you're awarded for allowing bullets to graze you. Basically, your trance gauge increases as you get closer to projectiles. Also, upon defeating an enemy, you can collect their ghost bullets to increase the gauge, too, which is very similar to the system featured in Bullet Soul. Anyway, there are two main modes: Spirit Mode and Graze Mode. The former is what I described in the first half of this paragraph and the latter only activates the ghost bullet system once you fill a graze meter which makes for a much more difficult formula. As someone who has played a ton of shmups, I must say that these systems don't really offer anything new or exciting to the genre. It's all been done before yet there's no denying that Danmaku Unlimited 3 remains a tight shmup either way.
Unfortunately, Danmaku Unlimited 3 doesn't offer many modes which severely restricts its replay value. For starters, you can't play cooperatively with a friend and there are no online leaderboards. These are two aspects that should pretty much be expected from a shmup in this day and age. There are local leaderboards but who cares about beating their own high scores? As you complete stages, you can play them again via free play and challenge the bosses as well but considering there are only a handful of stages to master, I wish there was a lot more content to enjoy. Simply making things more or less difficult just doesn't provide enough variety.
With tight gameplay and flashy visuals, Danmaku Unlimited 3 is certainly a capable shmup. That being said, fans of the genre will desire a lot more variety, especially considering the fact that it doesn't bring anything new to the table.
- + Super-tight shoot 'em up gameplay that'll delight shoot 'em up enthusiasts
- + Flashy yet unambiguous visuals
- + Great guitar-heavy soundtrack
- - Gameplay doesn't do much that hasn't already been done before
- - Stages and enemies could use more variety
- - No multiplayer or online leaderboards