The third in the eXceed series - Jade Penetrate (Black Package) - is a worthwhile and fun bullet-hell shmup. That said, it's pretty easy on the lower difficulties. I comfortably cleared it on easy on my first playthrough, so I would recommend ramping 'er up to at least normal on your first run unless you're completely new to the genre. Unlike the previous game, Vampire, Jade Penetrate uses a more traditional mechanic of either spread fire (with fast movement) or focused fire (with slow movement to avoid projectiles and a homing weapon). You have bombs to avoid dying and you also power up your special weapon by "grazing" enemy bullets. While usually a more advanced technique, in Jade Penetrate this mechanic is used in quite possibly the best way I've ever seen it done - many of the shot patterns include very cool circular walls of bullets that you graze as they spin, quickly powering up your special attack to decimate the opponents you face. The visuals are also outstanding, colorful explosions and huge walls of enemy fire - it's just what you'd want from a game like this. Different colored (yet easily distinguishable) shots, score tokens that are collected automatically, and bullets that you absorb upon an enemy's death to rack up that high score. That said, the frame rate can suffer a little bit with so many sprites on the screen; however, in games like this the lagging frames may turn out to be an answered prayer, as dodging enemy fire is much easier.
Powering up your weapons is this game is also quite neat, instead of making your main attack stronger, as many shmups do, in Jade Penetrate you collect "D" tokens which give you little dragon familiars that attack for you. They're actually your homing attacks too, so as the game advances and you face harder enemies that you have to dodge more against, your weapon that always hits (as long as you're focus firing) gets powered up!
I really enjoyed this game, short as it was. As I said, I beat it on easy right away, but playing it on hard proved a worthy challenge and I can see myself coming back to this game time and time again to get my bullet-hell fix. Easily the best in the series (unless you really love the polarity swapping from Vampire), Jade Penetrate is a fast and fun shooter that will test your skill, coordination, and leave you begging for more.
Bullet-hell (true curtain fire on hard) action!
Satisfactory controller support
Great gameplay and mechanics
Fun, fair, and challenging
Noob-friendly features like autobomb
Auto-slow function (hold fire to focus fire) nice addition
No leaderboard support (just high scores which glitched for me and didn't save)
Replay function also glitched for me...
Framerate slowdown (nostalgic of the older bullet-hell games, but come on)
A little short, no unlockables or secondary characters, only high score running
While the music wasn't *as* good as Vampire's soundtrack, Jade Penetrate is a worthy bullet-hell shooter for any shmup fan's collection. I'd recommend it to old and new fans of the genre any day of the week. Although it's a little short and there aren't any unlockable modes or characters if you're looking for a high score run, bullet-hell, fast and fun action game you've come to the right place. This game does what it sets out to do very, very well. If it had better controller support, leaderboards, and a few more unlockable options Jade Penetrate would be spectacular. B+