By Alec Meer on April 16th, 2013 at 11:00 am.
Ask me anything about shmups, go on. Er, no, I don’t really know what doujin means. Um, no idea who Kenta Cho is. No, I don’t own a copy of Ikaruga or Radiant Silvergun. (Is the silvergun the ship or its gun?). I’ve never played a Llamasoft game. I can’t last more than about two seconds in a proper bullet hell game. Other than that, ask me anything. Actually, you’d better not: my awesome knowledge would only make you feel inferior, perhaps even sub-human. Why don’t you go and play Mok Force instead, a lovely-lookin’, procedurally-generated, Unity-powered shmup that’s quite accessible despite doing the whole ‘screen covered in death-rays’ thing?
IndieGames, from where I found this noisy but elegant Japanese indie gem, uses all manner of genre-specific terms to describe it, but I don’t need to lower myself to explaining what they all mean. The important thing is that I could have used infinitely more informed descriptors if I so wished, but I choose not to. I definitely know everything about shmups. Definitely. I just don’t want to seem to browbeat you with my vast knowledge. For the same reason, I’m not sharing any screenshots of my high scores. They’re definitely really, really high. Definitely. But it’d only make you feel bad if you saw them.
All you need to know is that cursor keys and Z control the action, you get an extra life upon scoring 300,000, the difficulty jumps if you survive 50 waves but resets if you lose all your lives (even though the game will continue) and the randomly-generated backdrops and enemies make it both look gorgeous and feel free from the tedium of repetition.
Did you know that shoot ‘em ups are so called because they contain both shooting and in some cases the ability to move up? Also the ‘em’ relates to the fact that shmups are very popular in the emulation scene. So shoot ‘em up actually means Fire At Lots Of Spaceships Emulator Up There Please. That is the official definition, but not a lot of people know that.