You can say one thing for Idea Factory: they’ve found something that works and by God they’ve continued making it work. The Neptunia series has grown to encompass pretty much every genre, with its characters popping up in traditional RPGs, action-RPGs, strategy-RPGs…pretty much every kind of RPG, I suppose. These days, though, the girls are branching out and showing up in games like Neptunia Shooter, an old-school shmup featuring Neptune and the like.
Neptunia Shooter is, well…it’s a shooter with characters from the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. It’s very simple, there’s not a whole lot to say about it. You’ll start out playing as Neptune, who has a straightforward shot that’s good for hitting things directly in front of you. Completing the first level will have Compa join you, allowing you to switch to her whenever you’d like; her downward-arcing bomb attack is useful for hitting things coming up from below.
The game progresses in this fashion as you defeat bosses, have them join you and then use their new attacks to progress in future levels. Later characters provide even more esoteric shot patterns, such as IF’s backward shot. You’d think that an increasingly varied arsenal would make you feel like a badass, but in fact Neptunia Shooter tends to introduce enemy arrangements that force you to make use of all your abilities at once.
It’s less about empowerment and more about survival, and that’s really all there is to say about Neptunia Shooter. It’s a shooter. You’ll play through several stages, get the best possible score, repeat if you want to conquer the leaderboards. That’s about it. Play with a controller, that’s my recommendation.
The game’s cute, at least! Super pixelated 8-bit graphics are a little more endearing these days now that every indie developer isn’t milking the style for all it’s worth. It’s nice to see familiar characters and enemies rendered in this aesthetic, and it’s easy enough to keep track of what’s going on given the huge number of bullets and baddies that will eventually come your way. It may be a bullet hell shooter, but at least it’s an adorable bullet hell shooter.
All that said, Neptunia Shooter offers decent enough shooting value for the minuscule asking price. It’s a competently made title worthy of the mid-80s shooter trend, and the appeal of having familiar Hyperdimension Neptunia characters at your disposal is a real bonus. At time of this writing, the leaderboards didn’t seem to be infested with hackers…yet…so it’s worth checking out if you’re interested in taking a trippy trip down the old-school shooter road…in space!