Shoot 'em up fans now have another reason to boot up their Xbox 360s. Shooting Love 200X is a compilation of games that'll have you blasting away for hours. So let's take a look at what's included in this lovely shooting package.
Shooting Love 200X consists of a port of an arcade game (Exzeal), a remake of its predecessor (Trizeal Remix), mini-games that make up the shmups skill test mode, and a little high score-chaser titled Minus Zero. I'll talk about the games in more depth later in the review. For now, I'll just say that it's quite a substantial collection of content. Simply playing these games can be a lot of fun on its own, but you're also rewarded as your skills progress. You'll unlock score attack stages while making your way through Exzeal and score attack and challenge modes for the individual mini-games that you come across while playing the shmups skill test. Therefore, if you're in the mood to test and hone your skills then you have many options available to you. Most games (including the skill test) can be played with two players so if you have shooter loving friends then you're in luck! What makes the multiplayer skill test interesting is that you can compete with two or four players at a time. You don't often get to experience a shoot 'em up party mode, but this is probably the closest thing you'll ever get to that. To add even more replay value, there are leaderboards for almost every conceivable way to play. In the end, you surely won't get bored of this collection any time soon.
Upon starting Shooting Love 200X, the drab menus will make you lower your expectations. Their dullness is only amplified with the single boring backdrop that remains on your screen even during gameplay. The game select menu is a mess of square tiles that represent all the ways to play. It would have been better to select a main mode then a sub-mode, but instead they opted to throw everything onto one screen. Of course, you aren't going to buy this package just for menus and backgrounds. The games themselves take up a central column of your television although you're provided an option to rotate it on its side if you want. Overall, it's not impressive looking, but let's dive in to the actual games which are all that really matter.
Exzeal and Trizeal Remix are the main attractions. Exzeal was originally released in arcades in 2007 and it's a pretty interesting shooter. You get to select from an array of four ships that feature different core features. Two can charge shots with one of them firing a spread of projectiles, one only has basic shots, and the final ship is tricky as it can attack left, right, and backwards depending on how you jerk around the control stick. Trizeal Remix is a remake of a 2004 arcade game and it's significantly different to Exzeal. You're forced to play as only one ship but you're given a much larger array of weaponry. You can power-up your three different selectable weapons and once one is powered substantially, it's automatically implemented as a secondary means of fire. In other words, when they're all powered up, you can unleash a storm of three different weapons simultaneously. You have the option to change the difficulty and use rapid-fire and bombs in both games which can lower the challenge for less skilled players. These games look great with 3D graphics and a large variety of enemies and bosses. Their soundtracks are pretty cool, too, with a mix of different electronic genres. Sound effects range from low-frequency blasts to tinny explosions, but they don't take away from the fun.
The shmups skill test is composed of a random assortment from a total of sixteen mini-games. You'll find yourself avoiding enemy fire, shooting at 8-bit aliens, saving the Earth from meteors, and even knocking bottles into a recycling bin. After completing the test, you're assigned a gamer age much like in Nintendo's Brain Age. This is great fun to try and beat, but the games can be unintuitive and downright confusing at first. You can always practice to get familiar with them but you'll initially wonder what to do in quite a few of them. The only game left to talk about is Minus Zero. Although it's a short experience that tests how high of a score you can get, it's also an irritating one because of intensely chaotic visuals. Massive explosions frequently block large portions of the screen so being able to navigate your way through or simply find your ship can become troublesome. It may be fun for a couple of minutes, but the frustration factor quickly makes it unplayable compared to the other options.
Shooting Love 200X may only feature a few games that are worth your time, but if you're a shoot 'em up fan then you'll enjoy strapping into your cockpit and seeing how old (or young) of a gamer you are at heart.
- + Decent collection of games and modes
- + Trizeal Remix and Exzeal feature great classic shoot 'em up gameplay
- + Finding out your gamer age can be fun
- - Overall bland presentation
- - Only features a few worthwhile games
- - The shmups skill test contains many unintuitive and confusing mini-games