Monolist, from Japanese developer (or possibly super-powered spy team) Polygon Gmen, is what you would get if you took classic Space Invaders gameplay, multiplied it by three, strained it through a net made of Arkanoid bonus drops, and then sprinkled in nine hundred million bullets. Like a recreational energy drink, it's cool, refreshing, burning sweet, and highly caffeinated.
The aliens, played here by a cast of nefarious transparent squares, are attacking simultaneously on three separate planes! Three separate planes! Three separate planes! It will behoove you to repel them with your nine hundred million bullets, because if any one of those three squadrons reaches the ground, you gonna get all 'splodey.
Move [left] and [right] with the appropriate arrow keys. Press [up] to jump onto the next plane into the screen, and [down] to flip the other way. Press [P] to pause the game. You will fire automatically, but if you want to try out a policy of appeasement, you can hold [space] to stop shooting. Good luck with that.
Your enemies will not return fire, but they will drop triangular bonuses as you destroy them. Collecting these grants you temporary firepower upgrades, though some are significantly more useful than others. Hint: the dark blue one is your best friend, but you may want to avoid the purple one till you know what you're doing.
The warning monitor in the lower right informs you if an enemy squadron on any battlefront is approaching too close to your precious earthsoils. For better or for worse, these warnings are not accompanied by a cacophony of alarm sirens, so stay alert.
Analysis: We'll be sure to keep an eye on Polygon Gmen, not just because they might be supervillains working undercover, but because they have an obvious knack for putting modern twists on a time-honored gameplay foundation. Monolist is simple and chaotic enough to be played by anyone, but a super-taut combo-based scoring system gives it the depth it needs to appeal to all you turbo-charged space ninjas out there.
The minimalist graphics could be more interesting, perhaps, but when you grab the blue triangle and lay waste to that tiny little screen with 5 concurrent streams of bursting particle mayhem, you'll appreciate the readability of simple shapes.
The Polygon Gmen (...assemble!) know that the great 2D shooters were all about crowd control and time management. Enemy formations often include a string of outliers, so that an observant defender can quickly cripple their rate of descent by stripping those limbs. On later waves, when particularly motivated formations attack with enthusiastic speed, your tactical plan will be just as valuable as your reflexes.
In one of the few strikes against Monolist, the collision detection between your ship and the power-ups is awkward; only the nose of your ship can make the pickup. Also, you can simply leave off the side of the screen if you want to. Normally, I would call that sloppy programming, but it's such a suicidal thing to do in this case, I prefer to think of it simply as a doomed exit strategy.