Shoot! Dodge! and... Get Hit!? "Ikaruga" is a vertical shoot 'em up that features an unique polarity-switching gameplay. Switch the ship's polarity and "get hit and absorb" enemy bullets! Achieve High Score with the chain bonus!
User reviews:
Overwhelmingly Positive (1,001 reviews) - 96% of the 1,001 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 18, 2014

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About This Game

Shoot! Dodge! and... Get Hit!?

Ikaruga is a vertical shoot 'em up that features an unique polarity-switching gameplay.
Switch the ship's polarity and "get hit and absorb" enemy bullets!
Achieve High Score with the chain bonus!


  • The player ship, all enemies and bullets are black or white.
    Player's polarity can be switched at will.
  • Your ship can absorb enemy bullets of the same polarity.
    Filled energy goes to fire powerful homing lasers! (Release Power)
  • Defeat 3 enemies in a row of the same polarity and get the chain bonus!
    Building up high scores feels like a puzzle game?
  • Spectacular 3D graphics. Fast and smooth game play.
  • 2 Players game (Local) and
    Double Play Mode: You can play 2 Players game with one controller.
  • 5 levels. Tactical level design and boss battles.
  • 3 difficulty levels: EASY, NORMAL, HARD.
    Change your tactics depending on the difficulty.
  • 2 Game modes: ARCADE, PROTOTYPE (not hidden).
  • Replay data save is available.
    You can also download them from the Leaderboards.
  • Vertical screen mode support.
    You can also play the game like a side-scrolling shooter by rotating only the game screen.
  • Xbox360 controller, Keyboard and Mouse support.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo / Athron64 X2
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DirectX 9.0c support (256 MB VRAM)
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 512 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c support
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Processor: Intel or AMD multicore processor recently 5 years
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD in recently 5 years
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 512 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c support
Customer reviews
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Overwhelmingly Positive (1,001 reviews)
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633 reviews match the filters above ( Overwhelmingly Positive)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 15
Played it back then on the GameCube, but the truth of the matter is: you can't ever have enough copies of Ikaruga, so adding it to my Steam library some time was inevitable.

Ikaruga is the very definition of a "bullet hell" arcade shooter, with the twist of the player being able to reverse the polarity of the ship at any time to enable it to either absorb light or dark bullets in order to fill a power bar that allows to unleash a devastating attack on the rather well-fortified enemies.

Sounds like a walk in the park then? Nah, not at all. There may be even more crazy shmups than this (and all of them seem to come from asia ... I see a pattern here), but if you have nerves of steel, want to gain nerves of steel or just have masochistic tendencies in general (it has a 2 player mode, so a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved I guess), Ikaruga is a must have. Also, on a side note, the Level 1 music is so incredibly catchy that I still remembered it over all the years.

The PC port is smooth sailing, graphics are okay and aged well, music is good to superb, bullets are reasonably deadly, pacing is lightning fast. Not a game for everyone of course, but a classic when it comes to this genre.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 21
I will not die until I achieve something.
Even though the ideal is high, I never give in.
Therefore, I never die with regrets.
Ikaruga is an absolute gem. It's one of the best (and hardest) shoot'em up games i've ever played.
Ikaruga consists of 5 levels which some of them are insanely hard (I'm not joking) and if you want to upload you highscores to the leaderboards of save your replay, you have to beat the whole game with 3 lives and 0 continues. But if you want, you can enable continues from the options menu to make it easier.
In addition to the usual mechanics in shoot'em up games, this game features ((Polarity)) mechanic. Your ship has two forms/colors (blue and red) and by switching between them, you can avoid being hit by the projectiles that have the same color and absorb them to unleash a powerful attack (blue form/color absorbs blue projectiles and red form/color absorbs red projectiles).
By killing 3 enemies of the same color in a row, you get one ((Chain)) bonus that resets if you kill enemies without using the said pattern. Earning chains is very important if you want to get high scores and grades (and also achievements) at the end of each level; but it can also become very hard in final levels.

- Challenging Gameplay
- Amazing Soundtracks
- Co-Op Support
- Polarity Mechanic

- Nothing
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
432 of 496 people (87%) found this review helpful
318 people found this review funny
8.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2014
Buy Ikaruga if you think Dark Souls is too easy.
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221 of 245 people (90%) found this review helpful
111 people found this review funny
71.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 5, 2015
Ikaruga is a harsh mistress. She is a love you cannot conquer, she is a complex beauty who demands perfection. Your best will never truly please her, she will make you feel inadequate at every moment, and yet you cannot stop trying to win her heart. When you are with her, any mistake you make will sting a thousand times worse. And she will make you furious, she will make you cry, she will drive you crazy, but you cannot stop loving her, because there is nothing else in the world that can compare to what she is.

- She is perfection.

- You are not.

Other thoughts:
- achievements are not broken down to different game play modes (easy/normal/hard/prototype mode). Also, Dot Eater is not linked to any level, you can get it in any mode.
- extra "double play" game modes not found in the console version.
- almost every combination of screen rotations are supported, which is great. It looks incredible on a pivot monitor.
- the game select at the start does not show the player character anymore (it uses the high score screen background instead)
- no training mode options to restart a level (you will need this a lot), or to start mid-level (GCN version had this I believe).
- to unlock a level on any difficulty, you just have to credit feed the game on easy mode. This also gets you the achievements for beating a boss. On the Dreamcast, you could only use training on levels you managed to reach with 1 credit, on the specific difficulty you reached it with.
- you cannot define analog axes as buttons, so on a non-xbox pad you may not be able to configure a trigger for the laser release. But the game supports just about any non-xinput pad other than this, which is great.
- when using level select to play the Final stage, the Stone-Like sequence is omitted! Boo!
- Downloaded replays tend to desync more often than not, what is up with that?
- tip: some levels are easier to get S++ score on with prototype mode.
- where's Radiant Silvergun?
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199 of 230 people (87%) found this review helpful
25.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 18, 2014
After roughly 4000+ hours in this game over all the console versions. I still feel like nobody ever quite explained it as well as Greg Kasavin did, so here's his review. Notice this is the GameCube version he's reviewing, and all versions have very slight differences, but the XBLA version added the most "features" so to speak, and that's mainly what we got with this version. It fixed a lot of things the XBLA port got wrong from the arcade and DC/GC versions. My only nitpick is, they didn't include online co-op which the 360 version had, which hopefully they'll patch in at a later date. And there are people who have latency issues with the game at the moment so hopefully that's fixed fast. I also really hope Treasure VAC protects the game at some point as well. Another sad thing I guess is, the previously announced Trading Cards are now no longer happening, apparantly, the store page isn't even listing them anymore even though Treasure themselves confirmed them...

So, best review of the game ever -

Go buy it!
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280 of 348 people (80%) found this review helpful
354 people found this review funny
4.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 6, 2015
Beginners guide to Ikaruga:

Step 1 - Install the game.
Step 2 - Choose Normal difficulty, Chapter 1, press Start.
Step 3 - Witness your ship explode.
Step 4 - Cry.
Step 5 - Choose Easy difficulty, Chapter 1, press Start.
Step 6 - Behold the explosion again.
Step 7 - Cry some more, bow down and despair.
Step 8 - Uninstall, go and play this game for casuals you heard about called Dark Souls 2.

10 exploding ships out of 10
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152 of 185 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 18, 2014
As bullet hell shooters go, there isn't one as excellently realized as Ikaruga is. In this one, you are able to freely change the polarity of your ship between light and dark. Doing so allows you to absorb enemy attacks of the same color as you, and do additional damage to enemies of the opposite color. Destroying an enemy of the same color as you will produce suicide bullets (which you will either need to avoid or absorb). Absorbing shots charges a special attack, which once activated, sends a volley of polarized missiles across the screen.
This polarity mechanic takes a shooter that would have been excellent on its own, and makes it so much more.
If you're at all a fan of this particular genre of shooter, and haven't played Ikaruga, this is an excellent version of the game to play it for the first time. It lacks the online multiplayer which was found in the Xbox Live Arcade version, but is 5 bucks cheaper (and seeing how the XBL coop was a laggy mess, it isn't a huge deal for it to be missing here.)
What's added in this version is the ability to solo man two ships (if you think the game is a cakewalk as it is or something), local multiplayer support, as well as numerous screen rotation options.
It's a great version of what is quite possibly one of the best video games ever made! What're you waiting for?!
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80 of 91 people (88%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 24, 2014
My Opinion: As a long time hardcore gamer, Ikaruga manages to deliver to an experience that is unparalleled in it's execution, and is the purest embodiment of a just plain fun arcade game.

Now, I proud myself on being a pretty decent gamer. I'm the type of guy who bumps up the difficulty on a game I've never played before because it wont be fun otherwise, who tries for 100% completion on the harder difficulty and the most backbreaking tasks. If there's on thing that you have to know, is that this game is hard. I'm sorry, I'm understating it. It is difficult. Unyielding. Strenuous. It is harder than trying to teach your mother how to use a computer (or mine at least). When I first started this game, I was placed balls deep in the most hectic and brvtal experience of my whole gaming career, even more so than Dark Souls. There are five levels in this game, and in the four years that I've owned this game, I have never beat level three. On easy.

I don't mean to deter you by talking about how difficult this is. If you don't like difficult games, then this is definitely not the game for you. But the thing is, I enjoy twitching my thumbs and smashing my keyboard while I play this. It's not difficult in the sense that it's cheating, but that the game mechanics are so cleverly put that you need to gain an ultimate mastery of it. In the screenshots you see of the game, it may seem like all hell is breaking loose and you'll have no idea what's going on, but in reality you do. This is an easy to learn hard to master game, and game that is on the top of my wishlist now that it's been ported to PC.

So how does the game work? You pilot a ship, and the whole game is built around it's ability to change 'polarities'. It can be either negative or positive, red and blue correspondingly. When you're negative, you fire negative bullets, and so forth. The enemies also work like this, with the grunts being locked in one polarity and the bosses being able to switch. Now at practically all times, the screen is full of red and blue bullets, lasers, missiles, anything. There's no way you can avoid them all, and that's where polarities come in. When you are in a negative polarity, you're immune to negative fire, and vice versa. This idea, this game mechanic opens up for one of the most creative gaming experiences I've ever played.

Want to continue reading for a more in depth review? Head over to my website to continue and to find much other stuff! {LINK REMOVED}
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318 of 448 people (71%) found this review helpful
206 people found this review funny
5.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 1
Hello steam sale detectives
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Recently Posted
6.2 hrs
Posted: September 19
Classic, hard as hell schmup. Seriously if you want to see something impressive (and strangely robotic) look up a perfect run of this game on the hardest difficulty.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
0.4 hrs
Posted: September 16
It would probably be a cool game if it actually bothered to run.

Thus far, Ikaruga is the only game on my steam games list that adamantly refuses to launch.

It first crashes because it launched in fullscreen. Then, if you try to launch it in windowed, it crashes again. And after that, it crashes because you have the sound on. Then it gives you a "can't create d3d device" error and crashes for good again.

So far, I've been idling on an error message for five minutes so I could leave a review of the game.
I've been searching for ways to make this game run, but even a full hour later, I still can't get past the error messages. Not cool.

I'll re-review the game once (if) I can get it to run, but until then, no fun for me.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Lion Almighty
15.9 hrs
Posted: August 28
Shoot to kill?
Shoot 'em up?
You gotta be smarter than that.
Playing both sides, for instance, is a very useful strategy. The same goes to striking only when it's necessary, paying somebody back in his own coin, and learning from leaderboard replays.

Spoiler: The pre-boss fight of chapter 04 is a pain in the A55, but that of chapter 05 is pretty damn easy. And, if you do it the right way, boss 03 can be easier to beat than boss 01.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
5.5 hrs
Posted: August 27
Very hard and very beautiful arcade classic. Ikaruga is a weird form of art and a definitive bullet hell and shoot em' up. Again its extremely hard and not the least bit welcoming to newer players yet still had the reputation to come to Steam many years later and that speaks for itself.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
1.0 hrs
Posted: August 20
Way 2 EZ
Helpful? Yes No Funny
11.1 hrs
Posted: August 16
"The stronger will you have, the more you face various trials. Although you can choose to escape, 'Trial' has the message for you to conquer yourself."

- Opening quote of Chapter 2: Trial

A simple 'dual polarity' gameplay mechanic executed perfectly. Extraordinarily challenging stages and bosses, superb music, and high replay value, this game is definitely a Treasure (pun intended).

You will die a lot at first. Some people might rage quit, but those who never give up and keep challenging themselves will find moments of catharsis and highly rewarding experience...

... therefore, you never die with regrets.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Varindal Steelblood
1.4 hrs
Posted: August 8
I slogged through Dark Souls, I've done not bad a Devil Daggers. Ikaruga is a game for those blessed with lightning reflexes and the patience of a man building a house of cards on a trampoline.
Buy it, git gud, ???, Profit
Helpful? Yes No Funny