What-ho, my refined gentlemen and ladies! We have thus determined that you are the only ones who can help... Captain Dan versus the Zombie Plan! Stealth and quick feet are rewarded here, rather than running pell-mell into a level, gun blazing. Guide Monocled Man through the area using the environment to his advantage, for if he is spotted, he shall quickly be swarmed by ravenous zombies!
A short, character-driven side-scrolling shoot-'em-up, controlled with the mouse. Robot Dinosaurs will save the planet! RAAAWWR they shoot beams when they roar! Dino-tastic! ROOOOOAAAAR!!!
GlueFO 2.0, from the irRegular creators of Sproing Reloaded, has a simple premise: what if the heroic ship in Asteroids couldn't afford ammunition? What if the global recession were in fact universal, and the only way you could afford to bust space rocks was by sticking drifting pebbles to your hull, and then spraying them at the asteroids like deadly gravel?
This is the kind of efficient plotting and character design I like to see in a shooter. What's your motivation for exterminating vast populations of cute eyeballey critters? Well, you're Death, you see, and in a shocking twist, you like to kill stuffs. No city in peril, no alien threat—all you want to do is *bang* *bang* *bang* *bang* and a *clunk* *ka-ching* and take their money. A smartly-built shooter, with a clever mouse-only control scheme that lets you carve your way through the hordes like buckshot through sherbet.
- • Super Mega Ultra Battle Robot
- • Mechanical Commando
- • Virus
- • Melbius
- • B29 Assault
With a nearby volcano threatening my loved ones, I thought it might be a good time to let off some steam. This week's Bonus Link Dump is all about shoot shooty shoot bang thwa-bam! Use of your mind is discouraged, but your lizard brain may come in handy.
Smooth and bold, with a delicate, classical presentation and a spicy but brief aftertaste, Space Pips serves as a nice pre-dinner aperatif for those with a taste for Geometry Wars-style arena shooters.
A game in which you face wave upon wave of enemies, and you don't have so much as a dull spoon to defend yourself with. That's not fair, you may think, but this is the fast-paced and frenetic hand you've been dealt, serving up a bountiful feast of action-y goodness that's hard to put down. You don't have any weapons of your own, but the hundreds of enemies eager to see your undoing have more than enough to make up for that, as you turn their heat seeking bullets right back onto them.
Godlaser, the opening salvo from new developer Pyew Pyew, is a vertically scrolling manic shooter, influenced by Treasure's Ikaruga. You can upgrade your ship with new skills and equipment between levels. Enemy bullets come in three different flavors, and you can render yourself invulnerable to them by switching your ship to the correct color. It's an incredibly ambitious and far-reaching shooter, especially for something playable in your browser.
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.
Eternal Red is, by its own admission, a cross between a platform arena style shooter and a real-time strategic defense game. No story, no dialogue, just you and the seemingly non-stop litany of enemies appearing from one door that try to make it to the second.
Nitrome creative duo Simon Hunter and Aaron Steed have been very busy being amazing, and Fat Cat is the strange hybrid product of their amazingitude. It wears the face of an exacting bullet-fest such as The Last Canopy or Pararalyzer, but underneath, its heart pumps the blood of a tightly choreographed puzzle game. We've never seen anything quite like it.
You kids these days with your Halos and your Gear Wars and your Half Lifes... you don't appreciate what we had to work with! Back in my day, we didn't have no fancy-schmancy high-end graphics in our shooters! No complex storylines, neither. We didn't even have a jump! You know what we had? We had Doom.
Grey Matter is an anti-shooter, which means that you can't actually shoot. You are the bullet, and you attack by directly colliding with the exposed brain-meats of your enemies. It looks great and sounds even better. The gameplay has all the depth of a modern professional shoot-'em-up, thanks to the combo system. Grey-Matter is perfectly playable without using the Trinity Attacks, but if you do employ them, it becomes almost like a hyperactive, twitchy puzzle game.
Nion is a stylish arcade-style game that incorporates a number of gameplay modes, including puzzle, accuracy, speed, survival, and several combinations of the above. It's built around the simple mechanic of shooting shapes that hover around the top of the screen.
You are a plucky gun turret in the center of the screen that has to survive while bad guys attack you from all sides. Rotate the turret with your mouse and shoot the black-and-white enemies by clicking. If you see a coloured orb, do not shoot it. It's a power-up. The game is so very good in virtually every aspect of its design despite the lack of sound effects.
An arena shooter even casual gamers can enjoy, a sort of mash-up between Asteroids and Space Invaders where you pilot a tiny craft against waves of incoming enemies (which happen to be aliens and geometric shapes). Power-ups appear from time to time to give you a hand, but otherwise its just you and your reflexes keeping you alive.
Swarm Gold is an update to, and replacement for, the original Swarm created by Reflexive Entertainment back in 1998. The new Swarm Gold features an impressive emulated 3D graphics system and realistic sound. You have free range to fly around the entire map just as we've seen in many modern top-down shooters.
Survive as long as you can in Rapid Wars, the new addictive arcade shooter by Jussi Kari of ooPixel. Borrowing the two-fisted Robotron mechanic, and with a nod to Geometry Wars, Jussi creates gameplay that is frenetic, addictive and fun.
In this whiteboard strategy shooter, pilot a helicopter to defend against the red army's tanks, planes and other heavy artillery that shoot the crap out of you. Bomb the war factories for the sake of all markers of every color! There's something that takes off in the imagination when playing games like this that look like pen and paper—something has come to life that you're used to seeing static.
Developed back in 2003 by Moonpod Games, Starscape may be considered an "oldie" by the gamer crowd, but it's a goodie. Launched as a shareware game without the distribution support that it has today, Starscape flew under the radar, gathering a respectable following slowly but surely. Today, it's been finally starting to hit the major distro sites and people are either discovering or taking a second glance at this little space shooter/strategy game created half a decade ago.
Bubbles are neat things. Stop and think about them for a second. You get some soap, some water, and you can make little floating orbs. I remember many a day in my youth where we'd whip up a batch, make some bubble wands, and start firing artillery at each other. Thanks to the makers of Bubble Tanks 2, we all can revisit a more innocent, vaguely dysfunctional time.
In Larva Mortus, you play a 19th Century ghost hunter (or rather, an "agent of exorcism"). Plow through monsters and demons with your trusty broadsword and an assortment of weapons, such as shotguns and flame throwers, to rid the land of supernatural evil forces.
Think of the classic Space Invaders mixed with a dash of Galaga and you'd have a pretty good understanding of what Titan Attacks! is all about. The classic "aliens descending from above" scenario is showcased with a stylish, blocky pixel motif featuring a richer move-and-shoot routine than classic predecessors. Titan Attacks! took the golden age concept and loaded it with a variety of new action elements and ship upgrades.
Robokill is an extremely well-polished shooter game that's as fun to play as it is easy to learn. You play the role of a mercenary robot hired to investigate and eradicate the hostile forces that have taken over Titan Prime, a space station orbiting Mars. On the order of Crimsonland, and if you've never heard of Crimsonland or the RIP series (top-down [WASD] shooters), you're in for a treat.
If you've been itching for a new, fun side-scrolling shooter, Postal Panic is a game you don't want to pass up. It takes the side-scrolling action of an arcade shooter and throws in some upgrading, a wacky story line and an even wackier set of enemies. Instead of the typical outer space setting, you play the role of a postal worker (in some crazy alternate dimension) who pilots a fully-armed, mail delivery ship.
The Flash-based Pararalyzer from Japanese developer, Heriet, is an adrenaline-based manic shooter if ever there was one. From the opening screen, there is action galore and soon enough amazing bullet patterns criss-cross the screen in a dazzling kaleidoscope of colour. Unleash a seemingly endless stream of bullets toward the equally endless droves of enemies who are bent on destroying you.
If "retro" to you means huge chunky pixels, bleeping and blerping sounds and gameplay that doesn't lead you by the hand, then Attack of the Meeplings may be just the game for you. This Java-based shooter is glorious, retro-styled fun from top to bottom, especially its soundtrack.
A good shoot'em-up is like a symphony. The enemies are the musicians, the bullets the notes. And the player is the soloist at center stage, riffing a melody over the chaos, flirting with death, performing miracles. The Last Canopy is a landmark Flash manic shoot'em-up that feels dramatic and entertaining from beginning to end, which is a testament to the level of detail and professionalism that Easy Only! Games is capable of.
Uchuforce2 is designed for shooter neophytes. You control your ship with the mouse, you're firing a ridiculous swath of bullets all the time, and there's only one button to worry about. Click the mouse to change your weapon to a powerful laser, and click again to switch back to the endless waves of bullets. A meter in the lower-right shows you how close your laser is to over-heating, so if you want to avoid an extra-long cool-down delay, turn the laser off before that meter fills.
In Boxhead: The Zombie Wars, your goal is to stay alive for as long as possible, but there are several ways to go about it. You can choose to take a more offensive front and plant traps for the zombies like exploding barrels, or a more defensive approach by building yourself a base complete with rocket launching turrets.
With DragonStone, dev studio PlayPond bravely mashed a marble-grouping game with a shoot-em-up, spray-painted it with a medieval fantasy theme, and literally turned the whole thing on its head. The result is an exciting and perilously addictive experiment, with the friendly face and high production values of a casual game.
A great, terrible man once said: "Your flower power is no match for my glower power." That man's name was Charles Montgomery Burns, and he clearly never played Kaichou. The brainchild of Ali Maunder and finalist of our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, Kaichou is an and beautiful abstract shooter where you have to break down bouncing glower with flowery projectiles.
ShoOot 2: revenge of square, a cathartic circle extermination simulator, is more of a spiritual successor than a direct sequel, since you can now move in two dimensions and the gameplay focus has shifted from overwhelming rapid-fire madness to a more deliberate and unusual rhythm. The very latest from the casual game master: Tonypa.
Fall in, troops! It seems we've got ourselves another attack on our hands. Menacing spiders are descending from the skies, and it's up to our platoon of cannons to stop them! We've got to divide our forces to gather bullets on one side, and shoot down the spiders on the other side, so you'll need to divide your attention to win the battle!
Save The Planet is a simple shooter in which you aim with your mouse, and fire by holding the left mouse button and releasing after charging the shot. Use the gravity of the titular planet, as well as that of the attacking aliens and even your own prior shots, to defeat the endless waves of attackers. Keep in mind that you're more likely than not to cause your own destruction by shooting the planet you're trying to defend. Oops.
One of the entries to our 4th game design competition, Particle Blaster is a simple yet intense space shooter. You play as a small, triangular space ship whose only goal is to destroy everything that moves. Although it starts easy, you'll be hard pressed to make it through all 14 levels, let alone obtain the coveted A ranking.
Following in the well-trod footsteps of games like Geometry Wars and Robotron 2084, ZunderFury is a hardcore arena shooter that is happiest when it's overwhelming you with throngs of spiky blob-things. You can even spend money in between rounds to upgrade your ship, and the game comes with a full set of Xbox Live-style achievements, called "Feats", which is a smart way to personalize and flesh out the experience.
Hydro is a side- scrolling shoot-em-up with a methodical pace and an odd premise. Armed with a water gun, a jet-pack, and a snazzy shorts 'n t-shirt combo, you must battle a horde of flying robots that are all shaped like sea-life and have names like "Roboctopus". It's just a simple, well-told story of a flying man and his deadly water pistol.
Areas is a simple-looking but ultimately complex, addictive and atmospheric shooter by Ridulous. There is no text to be had in the menus, only icons, which are easy enough to figure out. And you don't click on them, or anything, throughout the game. If you want to interact with something, mouse over it and be patient, and it will unfold for itself.
Ever feel like you are only one little super powered beetle against an infinite horde of other super powered beetles in an epic battle for survival, power and gold? No? Well, now you can get just that feeling in Beetle Wars. Your goal is simple: Kill all the other beetles and insects around you without dying; how you achieve that goal is not so simple.
Ether Cannon is a new action shooter from Luke Paakh of Pop Ethos. You control a space ship which is the last hope of... Well it doesn't really say, but it seems urgent. It's a beautiful game, the particle effects in it are just brilliant, and the action it delivers is (mostly) smooth, polished, and pretty refreshing. The game does a great job of delivering lots of fast shoot-em-up fun without ever reaching a plateau.
In Ragdoll Invaders, the falling spikes are replaced with lasers and explosives, but lo and behold, your floppy ragdoll stickman is replaced with... another floppy ragdoll stickman. But wait, there's more! His arms, unlike the other stickman, have been replaced with DUAL CHAIN GUNS. Which have unlimited ammunition. This pretty much makes any game flipping hardcore.
Mr. MothBall 2: Cotton Carnage is a charming shooter from Polish artist Mateusz Skutnuk, author of both the Covert Front and Submachine point-and-click series of games. You control a white mothball trying to shoot down evil red mothballs in an adorable penciled world with pastel shading. The game is a spiritual sequel to Mr. MothBall platformer entered in our 4th game design competition.
It's got action. It's got puzzles. It's got zany... everything. The Tall Stump is an action platformer that feels like an adventure game laced with short puzzles. As you travel through the game you find strange items and learn to use them in even stranger circumstances, all in the name of working your way deeper into the stump. An exceptional game that won best of show in our 4th Casual Gameplay Design Competition, and now follows-up that achievement with being the top platform game in the Best of 2007.
Nanobots is the latest from the web-game nanofactory assembly line that is Nitrome. While not as inventive as some of its other releases, Nanobots takes your classic shoot-em-up, wraps it in a cool metaphor of nanomachines fighting inside a cell, and polishes it to a shiny finish. The result is one of the best Flash-based shmups on the internet.
The next entry up is from Martin Jonasson of Sweden. And while this is Martin's first competition with us, you may have seen some of his games before here on JIG. Goreblood, for short, is a projectile shooting game in a classic 'defend your castle' setting, except it's a brain you are defending from a horde of zombie nuns.
A demo download for Windows only, Immortal Defense is a tower defense game with some aces up its sleeve. It's a game with impressive special effects and a captivating storyline, the latter of which is unusual in the tower defense genre. RPG Creations has put together a long-lasting demo experience should you be brave enough to take on the volunteer mission to fight millions of aliens using only the power of your consciousness.
Our most recent competition has shown some seriously inventive interpretations of the theme "Replay", and one of the standouts in that category is Carl Foust's Super Earth Defense Game. It's a typical side-scrolling shooter on its face but, in a unique twist, really shines once your ship gets destroyed.
From developer Sam Horton of Funface Games comes Oroboros, an action title that borrows from games such as flOw and Snake. You control Oroboros (the serpent forming a circle by swallowing its own tail) as you absorb energy clusters to unlock portals to new dimensions. As you progress, your tail grows to give you new abilities that let you combat the increasingly tough foes.
Zeta Flow is a Flash-based shmup in which you control an innocent little turret gun ship as you fight off giant mechanical enemies. Each level pits you against one evil ship, getting progressively bigger and badder from level to level. It's a fun game that plays great, and there's even a level editor, too!
TAGAP is a downloadable action packed platforming extravaganza that has great graphics and enough violence to be satisfying but not enough to be gory. It has thumping tunes from start to finish. It's difficult, its challenging and is ultimately rewarding. TAGAP also comes with a level editor with which you can build your own levels and even cut scenes.
One part shooter, one part visual/audio toy, Cubex by RoboJAM is a stunning Flash game reminiscent of the Dreamcast/PS2 musical shooter Rez. The first person view sends you flying through a futuristic corridor defending yourself against polygonal enemies that appear in the distance. With the mouse, simply move the target around the screen and pelt your foes with weapons fire. The throbbing techno beat in the background keeps things running right along, and each time you fire and destroy an enemy you add to the music.
The numbers are falling! Fortunately, you've got the fundamental theorem of arithmetic on your side! In Prime Shooter, a math game of prime numbers created by Philip Dorrell, destroy prime numbers directly, or reduce composite numbers by dividing them by prime factors less than 20. Each number you destroy scores you one point, and the numbers get larger and fall faster as your score goes up.
I was skeptical and wasn't expecting much from Ricochet Infinity at first. There are a lot of Breakout clones out there, including a lot that use dynamic targets, the most impressive of which is Break Quest. And while Ricochet Infinity is no Break Quest, it is a highly engaging and addictive game that should satisfy both breakout and shmup fans alike.
Gravity Pods is a physics-based vector shooting/puzzle title created by Wicked Pissah Games. The goal is to fire a projectile and hit a target across the screen. Barriers are usually in the way, but by using gravity pods you can bend the path your projectile takes to send it virtually anywhere on the screen.
Generic Defense Game takes a few select elements from tower defense titles and shooters, and then slaps on a thick coat of parody paint. Instead of fending off hordes of ghastly beasts from far-off fantasy lands, you'll protect Pac-Man from ghosts, keep your lunch safe from insects, and defend ramen noodles with a machine gun. It's a very basic game with swappable elements that make the core gameplay ripe with entertainment.
Echoes is a free downloadable game for Windows, and it is a manic shooter—and I do mean manic. The action in this game is fast, furious and very visually active. Binaryzoo's trademark neon graphics combined with the intense backgrounds may even have an effect on some, and those who can withstand the action will be pleasantly rewarded.
Too often do we come across Flash games (especially shooters) that are either too brief or too repetitive. Luminara is a brilliant example of how to avoid those problems. It's simple enough: you are a dot and you fire bullets. And like any good game, the premise always stays exactly this simple. What gets more complex are the subsequent waves of enemies that come at you.
Benjamin Colwell of Indie Flash Arcade has just released this remarkably attractive arcade Flash game that blends the casual gameplay of classic video games with a stylish (and stunning!) presentation. The result is POD: Planetary Orbital Defense, a 15-level shoot-em-up bonanza that culminates in a boss fight against an alien invasion.
In Rapture Capture, take control of a ship with a tug wire attached by waving the mouse back and forth. The tug wire is your only defense against incoming enemies and munitions, use it as a whip to take out anything that comes at you. The tip of the tug wire is especially powerful, as you can even capture enemies with it and whip them around as a weapon. It's fantastic!
From shmup guru Kenta Cho, L.A.2 is similar to John Conway's game of Life but, well, just the opposite. Instead of creating cellular automata, your job is to destroy them. Swarms of cells grow and multiply around the edges of the screen with the occasional enemy craft hidden amongst them. Maneuver around the screen charging your glider weapon and releasing it to destroy advancing cubes.
SlingStar is a space-themed shooter that uses realistic physics to make a strange game concept feel as natural as playing with a paddle and rubber ball. You pilot a small circle that must avoid everything on-screen. Your weapons are two orbiting satellites that you can sling back and forth to pummel enemy ships. By moving your craft back and forth, you send the satellites hurdling around you in a widening path.
Guxt is an original shooter created by Pixel, author of Cave Story, This work-in-progress download doesn't attempt to be revolutionary or even particularly modern, but Pixel's original music, sound effects and pixel-perfect sprites come together beautifully in this difficult but fair shooter.
Bubble Tanks is a hypnotic and relaxing shooter if ever there was one. Man your bubble ship on an excursion through a vast bubble field seeking out hostiles to assimilate. The more bubbles you collect, the larger your ship and the greater your weapon become. But as you grow so do the enemies that you will find around you. It addictive and relaxing, a dangerous combination.
Strictly not for children, NaaC is a gorgeously bloody and beautifully violent shooter. What Bloody Monkey has given us is a frantic, no-holds-barred, gore filled, blood soaked tour-de-force of non-stop thrilling kill-everything-you-see action. In short, its fun. Lots and lots of fun.
A brand new game from varStudios, the creators of Neon Wars 2, has recently graced the internet: Abstract Sea. Using simple but stylish visuals and a nice electronica soundtrack, the game puts you in control of an armed ship at sea fending off enemy attacks. The game has a very visceral feel to it with screen-shaking explosions and a few power-ups floating atop the deep blue sea.
Orange, a follow up to the first color-themed game Red, is another physics-based Flash project by designer Case. In the center of the screen sits a heavy orb. You control a mobile orange dot with the mouse and can fire shots at the nearest object. Move around the screen shooting at the orb in an attempt to push it off the screen. Get too close, though, and its gravity starts to pull you in.
The rather strange online flash game Toon Crisis 2 combines photographs of real locations in the UK with cartoon enemies leaping out of bushes to attack you, all in the traditional click and shoot style. If you think that's weird, check out the weapon: your right hand with thumb and forefinger extended.
Bullet Philharmonic Orchestra is an ultra-simple, free, downloadable (PC only), barebones shoot-'em-up-inspired game with a simple concept: dodge the bullets. Drop your own MP3 files into the game's "music" folder, then watch as it generates projectiles based on the songs you chose.
Often I think to myself what I would do if I was ever in a futuristic jet on a futuristic highway chasing tanker trucks, launching missiles at them, and all the while avoiding sentry and assault drones. With Damien Clarke's new game, Jet Speed, I no longer have to ponder this theoretical scenario in my head—I actually get to give it a try!
Borrowing a page from the book of Ikaruga, the absurdly talented developers of Stimunation Games have just released this stunning Flash shooter that will make your jaw drop and your eyes water from ogling the screen for hours.
Yet another excellent free shmup from the inimitable Kenta Cho, Titanion (Windows) is a new take on the classic arcade game Galaga. Cho has seriously sped up the pace and intensity, but was considerate enough to leave the player a gift: the dreaded tractor beam is now in your hands.
Nobuyuki Forces 3 takes the duck-and-fire frenzy of Time Crisis and dumps it into your browser window. Playing a secret agent infiltrating the soldier-infested base of a power-hungry politician, you must survive several intense levels of shooting action while upgrading your stats and gathering items along the way.
In Flatland, it is your mission to destroy wave after wave of... things. You get points. OK, the idea isn't completely original, but the design is quite interesting. At first you start off in a tiny ship with litle armor and a miniscule weapon. Destroying enemies will cause them to explode in an array of large blocky pixels, the collection of which upgrades your ship. The interesting bit is that collecting an odd number of them gives you an odd shaped ship until you gather more and regain composure.
Bullet Candy is a frenetically paced shmupper's shmup, a purified genre piece that thrills in its simplicity. Those who can sip their own adrenaline like a twelve year old Pinot wine should definitely consider giving it a try. For fans of the genre, Bullet Candy is a game you can come back to years later.
Pixel Blaster is a simple and stylish flash-based shooter by Tom Thornton of ThorGaming. Waves of stark white ships appear in the circular playing field and attack your vessel. With a remarkably useful charge shot and two-handed controls, you must fend off dozens of enemies before plunging into an intense boss battle. The game is vaguely reminiscent of GridWars but places a stronger emphasis on physics and old fashioned ship blasting rather than overwhelming you with dozens of enemies at once.
Pod Panic is a gorgeous little arcade Flash shooter that is simple to play and terribly addictive. Each level presents you with an increasing number of pods, round bumper-like objects that tend to gravitate towards your ship, and a string-creature that is rather hypnotizing to watch. Great old-school arcade fun in a tight little package.
Spheres of Chaos is gorgeous in motion, with extremely smooth animation amid literally hundreds of enemies and explosions (and up to 8 simultaneous players!). Far more than just a nostalgic tribute to Asteroids, SoC is a fascinating, unique and memorable classic in its own right.
Featuring a couple of new and more difficult enemies, and controls that allow for more variation in gameplay, Neon 2 succeeds in taking this very enjoyable idea to the next level. Ali has done a fine job at updating an already excellent shooter and making it not only better than the original, but also into a somewhat different experience. Sure it looks similar, and yet it feels different.
Red offers up a brand new take on a classic gameplay mechanic in this simple and new, stylish arcade shooter that plays a little like Missile Command. Some of the most enjoyable games with addictive gameplay are based on very simple ideas, and Red is no different in this regard.
Panic is a simple and stylish arcade game made in homage to a classic on the Commodore 64, Astro Panic. Made in Flash and sporting an impressive new soundtrack as well as eye-pleasing particle effects, Panic plays like a cross between Space Invaders and Pang.
You know that dream, the one where you're walking down the streets of London listening to the frantic sounds of Gogol Bordello, when homicidal cartoons start spilling out of the scenery? Me neither, but thanks to Toon Crisis I know how to handle myself in just such a situation.
Ray-Hound is a simple, well executed downloadable Windows shmup with a creative twist that sets it apart from other indie or commercial releases. Like Ohkubo's previous game, Warning Forever, Ray-Hound is a tiny download and absolutely free.
Although you may have played similar games recently, such as Geometry Wars, Grid Wars, Rainbow Wars, and the like, this next one was very nicely done in Flash and requires no download other than the usual loading within a browser. Engaging from the second it starts, Neon is one of those rare games that just feels great to play.
Up next is a great pair of Java shmups (shoot-em-ups). Both are simple and small, and yet each offers an unusual idea; there are no run-of-the-mill 1942 or Gradius clones here. The miniscule Fuzetsu was Jos Hirth's entry in the Java 4k competition, and HIZ's Lash is a shmup with a defensive twist.
Gamma Bros. is a deliciously slow-paced old-school space shooter created by PixelJam. It's written in flash and offers both an online version and downloadable files for the Mac and Windows. Although simple in looks and design, Gamma Bros. gives the illusion of a massive game world interspersed with moments of action and quiet space floating.
Gibbage is a one-panel player verses player bloody shoot-out that was created over the period of 2 years by the talented indie game development newcomer, Dan Marshall. Its gameplay is not quite like anything else currently available on the market and has the graphical sensibilities of the pixel games of yore.
Uchuwars is a classic-style shmup with weapon power-ups and bombs. I found this shmup when I visited Babarageo for the banner game reviewed recently on JIG. The instructions are in Japanese, but it didn't take long to figure out what to do.
Babarageo STG Banner is a tiny 15 pixel tall space shooter. Most banner games have a single goal that can usually be accomplished in a few seconds. However, STG Banner introduces something a little different: rotating images with clickable hotspots. It may not sound like much, but it adds a surprising amount of strategy to an otherwise mindless game.
Akai Ryu, or Red Dragon, is a surprisingly addictive little shooter created by Jason Reinsvold and available to play on his LostVectors website. The object of the game is to stay alive as long as possible while shooting down all of the various enemies that come into play.
Rainbow Wars is a retro-style arcade shooter available as a free download for Windows, and it is one of those rare finds that becomes an instant favorite once you see it in action. Sporting similar controls to that of the classic Robotron, in which two joysticks are used to control movement and firing separately, this game captures the essence of a classic arcade experience in a well-developed albeit small package.
Invader360 is a great little Flash based tube shooter, similar to arcade classics Tempest, Gyruss or, more recently, ABA Games' downloadable Torus Trooper. Developer f1ash brings this exotic branch of the shmup tree to life with frantic action and a minimal, well defined style.
Warning Forever is a downloadable 2D shooter written by Hikoza Ohkubo of Hikware software. You pilot a tiny green ship with a single versatile weapon and must face off against a constant stream of bosses. No stages, no obstacles, no power-ups, just epic fights with massive enemy ships. And the surprising thing is they learn from your patterns and fight back. Yikes.
Mono is a downlodable Windows game that is described as 'one part Asteroids, one part Robotron, and one part Paint Shop Pro'. Created by the talented guys over at Binary Zoo, you play as a plucky yet resourceful circular object set on changing its surroundings from black to white (or white to black, depending on mode). Coupled with three difficulty modes and the ability to import your own music, Mono is a well-designed little game.
Remember the amazing, jaw-dropping, Shockwave 3D first person shooter (FPS) demo that surfaced last year just prior to GDC? The game was called Phosphor Alpha and it was created by Nick Kang of Rasterwerks. Well, he's done it again: Phosphor Beta 1 kicks the action into high gear by including multiplayer deathmatch functionality, with additional mods being added regularly.
GridWars is a free downloadable (for PC or Mac) old-school-style shooting game that's remarkably similar to Geometry Wars on the Xbox. Your small ship sits in a one-screen grid and vectorized enemies spawn to attack. Use your any-directional gun to stay alive while you rake in points.
Megatons of action packed into a tight little Flash package that features appealing graphics and effects, and a dynamite soundtrack. Combat Heaven is an insanely great shooter with periods of non-stop over-the-top action that is intense and gratifying. Amazing fun awaits just beyond the learning curve.
One of the first playable games available from the promising Dot-Invasion studio, Meteor Busters is a simple and beautifully designed top down shooter. If you're already a fan of shmups or retro pixels, you'll probably appreciate Meteor Busters. The graphics are lovely and extremely polished and the gameplay is fun while it lasts.
From South Korea comes this stylized side-scrolling shooter that features over-the-top action and two (2) playable characters, Happy & Smile, a bunny and a cat. But don't let their cartoonish good looks fool you: these cute and adorable animals pack a mean punch, carry lethal weapons, and have fearsome special attacks that will fry any enemy to a crisp.
Robobug Blaster is a gorgeous platform shooter with an unusal vertical orientation. The object of the game is to protect the cargo boxes, as they travel from top to bottom along the conveyor belts, from the cargo-hungry robobugs. The robobugs will latch onto a box and damage it quickly, so fast action is required to navigate the entire system and keep the path clear.