Arcade aficionados and score-chasing 1cc'ers rejoice; Hangeki
is the counter-attack of leaderboard-driven, score-breaking, retro action you've been waiting for.
Those of us old enough to remember the warm glow and the busy sounds of a bustling arcade remember a time when games were more of a social and competitive interaction where we wouldn't just play to simply say we finished but to perfect it and surpass the scores of those who came before you. Games like Galaga
, or Toaplan's Batsugun
were never a matter of simply "beating the game", these old classics were all about the points, maximizing your runs and learning every little detail about the game to get that perfect playthrough. Hangeki
captures this arcade spirit all too well with it's bite-sized levels full of adrenaline and replayability as it pushes you to come back to each stage to try and try again with new weapons and gained skills or techniques.
On the surface Hangeki
shows a similar concept and style to the row-reducing gameplay of Space Invaders
with enemy variation akin to Galaga
and it's many spinoffs. The similarities stop here, however, as the combat itself takes a much more modern bullet-hell approach to the chaos involved in dodging and timing your Hangeki
'counter-attack' which acts as a finishing bomb and is how you will advance each wave. Fans of the more recent Galaga Legions DX
will instantly fall in love with the combination of old-school enemy formations with the frenetic satisfaction of modern visuals and pacing. Unfortunately that game never saw a PC release, but I'm happy to say Hangeki
fills the void just fine.
The game is as flashy as it is punishing requiring full engagement of your audio/visual sensories and can almost be a bit overwhelming with how much is going on, but that's exactly how us shmup enthusiasts like it. Your eyes will be busy and a lot of your practicing will be focused on where you train your center of vision. You'll learn to strike a balance between watching enemy ship patterns at the top to anticipate which bullet-types are incoming and keeping track your powerup meter in order to time and aim your special weapons perfectly. One misplaced shot and you'll be back to dodging and waiting for your next weapon or Hangeki
to powerup, costing you valuable time and points.
Victory in Hangeki
is also handled in a very unique manner when it comes to the classic shmup formula, as you aren't simply trying to shoot down each enemy to score. Your score, instead of being based on a mundane points-by-kill basis, is reflected by the quickness and diligence in which each wave is dealt with and how fast you're able to trigger your Hangeki
through sustained chains and repeated successful shots. This creates a much more competitive and skill-based atmosphere on the very important, addictive and well designed leaderboards. If you love leaderboards you'll love Hangeki
boasts an impressive arsenal of unique weaponry counting in at 51 pieces of unlockable equipment, and they all pack a serious punch in their own right. These range anywhere from a piercing cannon that's capable of incapacitating an entire vertical row, seconds long shielding for that sudden moment of invincibility in the roughest of times, and huge rolling waves of flame that can take out large lines of enemies. These are only some of the beginning weapons, and as you play you'll continue to unlock better, more insane weaponry that will push you to revisit past levels and reattempt your score with new-found strategies.
This is a game crafted with a serious devotion to the arcade culture, and a detailed love for the shmup genre. It's a classic shooter with modern flair that I can wholeheartedly recommend to anyone from the most old-school of arcade veterans to the most hardcore and modern of Cave or Touhou
-styled bullet-hell fanatics.