If you love shoot 'em ups as much as I do then I have a special game to share with you today; it's the delightful Graze Counter GM.
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What is Graze Counter GM?
Graze Counter GM is a vertical shoot 'em up that has a core mechanic where playing chicken with enemy projectiles fills a gauge. There have been many shmups over the decades with similar mechanics yet I haven't played anything quite as intuitive as Graze Counter GM. Therefore, even if you're a newbie to arcade shooting, you can still grasp how to play without much effort. That being said, this is not an easy game so be prepared for a challenge, especially if you play the extra stage on unlimited mode with extreme difficulty! 😅 v1d30chumz 35-172-230-154
One thing about Graze Counter GM that should be apparent by the screenshots is just how charming and pixel-perfect it is. In fact, its in-game graphics are so crystal clear with lovely backgrounds and smooth animations that it would feel right at home on the Dreamcast. Plus, the character art is cute and the dialogue is silly complete with its poorly translated and often awkward lines which only add to the charm. Meanwhile, the synth-heavy soundtrack is superb although the constant buzzing of the graze effect gets incredibly grating. 😬
So, how do you play Graze Counter GM exactly? Well, you hold a shot button as you dodge incoming projectiles which is expected but on top of that, you have a Graze Counter gauge that fills whenever you fly beside enemy bullets. Once it's full, you can unleash a powerful attack that allows you to collect stars and those stars fill a Break gauge. Whenever that fills up, you can enter a sort of hyper mode where your firepower amplifies and you become quite a force to be reckoned with. Also, enemy projectiles are cancelled with both of these modes and you can increase your score multiplier by grazing bullets so it all works together impressively well. 👍
In addition to Graze Counter GM's core mechanics, you can also play as 4 distinct characters with their own projectile patterns. One has a focused stream ahead while the next has a wider shot and there's one with an even wider spread. The last character has a laser-like straightforward blast that shoots faster the closer you are to enemies and I prefer playing as them. Anyway, the dialogue between characters is pretty funny so be sure to try everyone out. Plus, you can choose 1 of 3 skill cards for each character including a shield that regenerates over time, a faster Break gauge, or the ability to become invulnerable after countering. 😎
I should mention that Graze Counter GM doesn't feature many stages to master with only 5 short ones in the campaign and 2 alternate stages. There's also an alternate boss for stage 3. Although this isn't much, the levels are definitely very well-crafted complete with clever enemy formations, fun mini-bosses, and a super-tough final boss. However, there are some moments that felt unfair such as when a boss deployed a column of cubes without any perceivable warning which frequently tripped me up and being surrounded by homing bullets is always a bummer, especially when you don't have a shield or any usable energy in your gauges. 😟
Finally, Graze Counter GM features some excellent extra content in the form of a mission mode that includes 30 missions, archive mode which acts as a gallery, and extra mode. The latter actually includes multiple modes such as practice where you can challenge any stage, boss, or test characters' damage per second as well as an all-stage survival mode, boss rush, an incredibly challenging extra stage, and an unlockable mini-game called Laser Maiden 2. So, even with the lack of stages, these extras go a long way! 🤩
I'm very happy with what Graze Counter GM has to offer from its super-fun core gameplay to its intuitive mechanics and charming presentation to its satisfying supplementary content. It really is a special shoot 'em up that I'm sure you'll love. ❤️
- + Satisfying shoot 'em up gameplay with mechanics that are easy to grasp
- + Pixel-perfect old-school visuals
- + Contains some very cool extra modes
- - Not many stages to master
- - Audio can be a bit grating
- - Odd situations can feel unfair