In most shmups, bullets are to be avoided. In Ikaruga, they’re delicious treats to be collected and in Psyvariar Delta – making its PC debut today – they’re best kept just within reach. Psyvariar Delta is the latest iteration of an arcade shooter from 2000, containing both previous iterations of the game, plus a new mix backed up with an information overload HUD. All versions of the game have the same core twist, though: Flying close to bullets to ‘buzz’ them makes you stronger and racks up the points, giving score-chasing a thrilling risk/reward balance. See the trailer below.
It’s a testament to just how tightly designed a game Psyvariar was that after nearly two decades, Success (this edition by City Connection) are still updating the game with new options, modes and levels. Every stage is part memorisation, part precision challenge as you try and weave your tiny spaceship’s single-pixel hitbox as close as possible to as many bullets as you can without actually hitting them. It makes even the easiest and most sedate parts a challenge if you want them to be, as you’re going to be deliberately hunting out stray bullets and milking them for points.
This version also lets you mix and match soundtracks, ships and level variants to keep things fresh as you hunt scores. There’s online leaderboards, local co-op, a replay system and achievements as you’d expect, but nothing too wildly fancy. I’ve enjoyed earlier versions of this game, and it’s really a timeless formula. Probably the biggest change here is the new HUD, which you probably won’t be looking at during play, but is great for streamers and watching replays. It lets you help identify exactly what a player is doing right (or wrong) if you want to challenge them on the leaderboards.
Psyvariar Delta is out now on Steam for £19.03/€19.99/$23.99.