I love shoot 'em ups and being able to enjoy 3 of them in 1 package is a treat so let's dive into each game in the new Shmup Collection.
Satazius Next Switch ★★★★☆
Admittedly, my first impression of Satazius Next wasn't the best as in the very first level, you enter a cave and without any warning whatsoever; the boss slides in from the left side of the screen thus making you crash if you were stationed there and didn't know what was coming. Of course, that's frustrating stuff but after getting over that hurdle, I discovered a very rewarding and challenging shooter. Before deploying your ship, you select from a range of weaponry which will dictate your primary weapon, a couple of secondary weapons that you can swap to on the fly, and a charge weapon that unleashes a powerful attack whenever its gauge is filled.
Another cool addition is the fact that you level your weapons up as you play which makes them increasingly more powerful. Plus, you can enhance your speed as well as earn bonus items and after each stage, you may even unlock additional weapon types that you can then equip and level up. Meanwhile, the campaign is filled with tricky scenarios and fun boss fights that are rewarding to overcome. Overall, it's a fantastic shoot 'em up that genre fans like myself will love with a high degree of challenge and a satisfying power-up system.
Armed 7 DX Switch ★★★★☆
Next up, we have Armed 7 DX which has you pilot a mech. Again, you can equip different weaponry at the beginning of each run which consists of a main weapon, sub weapon, and charge weapon. Where Armed 7 DX sets itself apart is in its shield system and the ability to aim. As you play, you can collect shield items that replenish your shield gauge which allows you to take damage without depleting your life points at all which is a great way to offset the otherwise grueling level of difficulty. Also, whenever you let go of the shoot button, you can tilt your guns up or down which allows you to reach bosses and such easier while remaining out of their line of fire. In the end, Armed 7 DX is a great shmup with systems that'll keep you on the edge of your seat as you blast through its onslaught of enemies.
Oh, I also wanted to mention that for some strange reason, Armed 7 DX is an extremely loud game so if you jump between the 3 featured titles, you'll likely find yourself turning this game down a lot whenever you decide to play it.
Wolflame Switch ★★★☆☆
Finally, Wolflame is a vertical shmup that was clearly inspired by Raiden. In it, you pilot a ship that can shoot straight ahead and deploy bombs. Once you collect a power-up, it spawns an option that then fires the corresponding weapon type. You can have up to 2 of these options and as you collect more power-ups, they will level up and become more potent. Considering there are 3 weapon types (a homing missile / extra shot hybrid, powerful angled lasers, and lock-on lasers), experimenting with combinations can be pretty fun.
With all of that being said, Wolflame is one of those vertical shoot 'em ups that scrolls left and right as you fly towards the sides of the screen. There are 2 things that annoy me about this. First, why is there a border on the sides of the screen if there's supposed to be more playfield there? Next, the fact that the playfield is so wide combines with the fact that it's a vertical shmup to create a rather tedious formula as enemies tend to be spaced out a lot thus decreasing the level of challenge a great deal. Plus, off-screen enemies will sometimes surprise you which is a pain. Wolflame is a fun shmup for sure but one that doesn't quite live up to its retro inspirations.
Shmup Collection contains 3 modern shmups that, for the most part, are rewarding and challenging interpretations of the iconic genre. So, if you're a shoot 'em up fan then adding these gems to your collection should be an easy decision.
- + Contains 3 solid shoot 'em ups
- + Satazius Next is a wonderful horizontal shmup with a cool weapon system
- + Armed 7 DX offers great mech shooting fun
- - Features some rather frustrating moments
- - Wolflame isn't all that exciting
- - Audio volume is all over the place