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Danmaku Unlimited 2 - Bullet Hell Shmup (iOS)

Written by funkyellowmonkey (GP) on . Posted in Video Games

{tab=Review (iPad 2)}

Shooters, horizontal shooters, space shooters, STG's, shoot'em ups (aka shmups) or call 'em whatever you like, Danmaku Unlimited 2 from one-man-band Doragon Entertainment by Sunny Tam, brings bullet-hell heaven to your iDevice in style. There are two types of shmups for me out there, your standard casual affair and your hardcore-type for the more advanced shmup gamers out there. DU2 lies inbetween the two.

Straight off the bat, the presentation and menu screens are slick - you know you're going to be in for something special. There are are number modes to choose from: Arcade mode (Burst & Classic), Bonus mode (Boss and Freeplay). So without further ado, straight into Arcade classic mode. The play mechanics in classic mode is that by 'grazing' enemy bullets you gain points which goes towards filling up a 'Trance' meter. For multipliers, you'd need to collect gems dropped from down enemies, this is the cool part though, the amount of gems dropped depends on how far or close you are, the more risk you take by getting in closer and successfully killing enemies, the more gems you'll be rewarded and in turn, higher scores. Once the Trance meter is activated, enemies destroyed will turn into gold stars and add further to the scoring process.

In Burst mode, the play mechanics is similar to classic but you can attain much higher scores, that's the significant difference, for the more advanced players who want a more challenging game after classic, this is where Burst comes in.

Boss mode is available once the game is completed, as the title suggests, you get to fight only the end-level-bosses. Freeplay is more like a practice mode, you can select any stage you want and play it till your hearts content. Both of these modes are useful for learning enemy patterns and attaining high scores.

Graphically, the game cannot be faulted, with many enemies onscreen and bullets all over the place simultaneously, it's a wonder there's not a hint of slowdown, framerate drop or any performance issues that plague even the more well known shmups out there. The level designs are challenging as well as the trippy patterns of varied enemy fire coming at you from all over the place.

The balance of gamplay is spot-on too, with a good balance of bullets onscreen and enough space and time for the player to make their moves. As for the feel of the game, the control you have over your ship feels solid and just right, you'd be dodging and weaving from area of the screen to the next with ease (as long as you keep a keen eye on the situation!). With the inclusion of manual or automatic for unleashing of the Trance meter, auto is handy for new and casual gamers, whereas manual is for the more advanced players out there.

There's also a shop in the game, you see you gain experience points in each game you play, those points/credits can be used for upgrading your ship for better equipments and such. Once you have enough points for the upgrades you so desire, off you pop down to your local newsagents to buy some treats (so to speak :). You can change and upgrade your shot-types, mix them up and have them all out maxed for super big kills and points, so the more you play, the more you points you'll be rewarded with more upgrades you can have. I'm glad to mention that the title does not require or contain any in-app-purchases (IAP's), I see this as a positive move as it encourages fair play as no one can just 'buy' their way onto the leaderboards.

The audio in DU2 is awesome, sound effects such as explosions are perfectly sampled to the cool electronic music composition which fits the game's genre to a tee, electric beats and riffs belt out as you go all out for that high-score run for the umpteenth time.

Overall, this game is a premier quality shmup for fans of the genre (even if you're not a shooting fan, you may still revel how colorful and insane the game can be, hence there is also demo (lite) version available before you decide to part with your hard earned coffers). Remember also, that this game was created by one person that is Sunny Tam, a hell of an impressive feat might I add. It has plenty of replay value, with a range of modes to choose from as well as an upgrade system along with leaderboards AND achievements. For your shmups fix, Danmaku Unlimited 2 will have you bullet-shooting and weaving for a long time to come!...


+ Slick and colorful graphics
+ Great sound effects and music by Blankfield
+ Solid controls
+ Lots of replay value
+ Leaderboards & achievements
+ No IAP's
+ Cool upgrade system
+ Compatible with iCade arcade controller

- Levels get progressively hard but upgrading and practice pays off



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