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 (714 reviews)
Release Date: Feb 18, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"Infuriatingly difficult, but perfectly constructed. Ikaruga is the PC's best bullet-hell shooter."
Read the full review here.

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!

Features

  • 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

    Minimum:
    • 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
    • Hard Drive: 512 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c support
    Recommended:
    • 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
    • Hard Drive: 512 MB available space
    • Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c support
Helpful customer reviews
295 of 343 people (86%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2014
Buy Ikaruga if you think Dark Souls is too easy.
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73 of 87 people (84%) found this review helpful
7 people found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 6
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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13 of 13 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 12
Heralded by many as one of the best, if not THE best bullet-hell shooter out there, and with good reason. The unique gameplay mechanics, where you can change polarities and be immune to like-colored bullets and deal more damage to opposite-color enemies (and in turn, you can die from opposite-color bullets), help it stand out. Easy to understand, difficult to master; with hundreds of bullets on screen at once, it can be easy to mess up. Not to mention the challenging gameplay, as is fitting for a bullet-hell shooter. Oh, and it's by Treasure, the same people who brought us Gunstar Heroes and Radiant Silvergun, so you KNOW it's gotta be good. This is a game that shooter fans of any caliber should own (though personally, as legendary as this game is, Crimzon Clover will always be my go-to bullet-hell experience).
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38 of 58 people (66%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: January 4
I can't believe how much I suck at this game.
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: January 20
Argueably the best bullet hell shooter to hit the arcade.
Regardless, Ikaruga is a masterpiece of the genre and is a joy to be played.
The port originated from the Arcade and then to Dreamcast consoles, which then expanded to Gamecube.

Now it is here for PC users in all of it's glory, with updated HD graphics and achievements!
Play solo or local co-op on any of the three difficulties through five challenging levels!
Switch your ship's polarity at will to absorb that polarity's gun fire from the enemy and negate damage to your ship.
Correctly doing this will also power up your special homing missile gauge.

This is a very unforgiving and challenging bullet hell shooter, I highly recommend it.

10/10
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
One of the best vertical shooter that i ever played.
It hard to believe that it's finally on pc.

10/10 Verdict: a classic
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 1
I can't say that this is a bad game. It's a great Shmup. The polarity idea is awesome and executed concisely. The later stages get to the point where you need a lot of memorization of the levels. I wanted more of a casual experience, and didn't want to put in the amount of effort it would take to learn the levels. If you love Shmups and are in for a challenge then you will love this game. It's not for the faint of heart.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
Originally owning this game on the Xbox 360, I have to say I love this game and it runs smooth as butter here on Steam. I'm glad to see these old titles coming here. I hope one day we'll get more of Treasure's games because they make some really unique, tough as nails, insainly fun games!
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
8.0 hrs on record
Posted: May 2
This soundtrack, has the best orchestral composers I've ever heard in a video game in a long time.


This game, has the best gameplay and replay value I've seen in a long time...


Buy it.
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 8
Best shoot-em-up I've ever played. Approachable by casual gamers and obsessive hardcore perfectionist gamers alike. There is so much to be done correctly in this game, if you're so inclined.
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 12
This game is super nostalgic and hardcore as hell. OST and graphics are pretty boss, and speaking of bosses they're all super varied, taking full advantage of the unique polarity mechanic.

My frothing demand for this game increases.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2014
Excellent PC port! It supports a plethora of controls, multiple graphic options within the game, and performs extremely well.

The game itself is a very good game. While the story may be minimal, the presentation is great, and is hard as balls in normal shmup style. However, if you are going to achieve the highest score you can, you will also find a complex and deeply rewarding shooter that has aged extremely well.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.8 hrs on record
Posted: May 3
The most elegantly designed shoot 'em up ever created. The level design is deep if you're going for high scores. Co-op is excellent. It looks and sounds impressively good for being a 14 year old game. It even supports vertical screens. This is the third platform I own the game on and I would buy it on more.

And most importantly: space ships > flying girls.
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8 of 15 people (53%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 11
Like I told my last wife, I said "Honey, I never drive faster than I can see. Besides that, it's all in the reflexes."
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189 of 220 people (86%) 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 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4fzFvQzWtw

Go buy it!
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151 of 183 people (83%) found this review helpful
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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77 of 88 people (88%) found this review helpful
4.0 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! www.aglimpseintomymind.weebly.com/ikaruga
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98 of 121 people (81%) found this review helpful
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 18, 2014
So far this is a great port. Runs as smoothly as one would expect, is based on the absolute latest version of the game (NESiCAxLive arcade release), works well with xinput gamepad/arcade stick, and will run in whatever your desktop resolution is set to (looks great supersampled).

It's also an excellent game, of course. Don't use continues.
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230 of 331 people (69%) found this review helpful
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: February 18, 2014
The world's defining bullet hell shooter is on Steam, all of it in Full HD glory and 60fps! I had a look in the options menu, and there are lots of options in there to fine tune the game to your liking. It's no lazy port, that's one thing for sure. Playing through a bit of Chapter 1, there are no performance losses whatsoever.

Thank you Treasure, for bringing this gem of a game to PC for a new generation of gamers to enjoy! And have their lives ruined forever (in a really good way)!
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41 of 41 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 9, 2014
Probably one of the most ubiquitous shmups released since 2000. If you like oldschool games and ever owned a Dreamcast, Gamecube, or Xbox 360, than you've probably heard of this one.

Ikaruga's main twist is the polarity system, in which all bullets come in two colors, and your ship can switch between the two colors at will. You die from opposite colored bullets and power up from same colored bullets, as well as deal extra damage to enemies of the opposite color. It's very simple but is a really cool system that adds a lot of depth to the game.

The other thing of note about Ikaruga, is that it's a very methodical "puzzle shooter" type game. It's very static, and enemies and patterns are often arranged in such a way as to seem like a puzzle to "figure out" and deal with correctly. For this reason Ikaruga very much prioritizes pure execution over reflexes.

However, even if you're the type of person who prefers games that force reaction and improvisation over static paths and execution (as I count myself), you should still be able to enjoy Ikaruga because...well, it's a damn fun game. The level designs and enemies are varied and creative, the bosses are epic, the pacing is tight, the scoring is deep, and the presentation and music would be worth playing the game for alone.

Overall I'd say it's a must play for fans of shmups and 2d games in general. It might not be your favorite shmup ever depending on your tastes and preferences in gameplay design, but it's an excellent game that's well worth experiencing.
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