The first step to becoming a true hipster is to lay claim to something obscure and bizarre long before it’s cool. Unfortunately, I’ve already called dibs on Cambria Sword - a recent Japanese shmup about prehistoric arthropods dragged into an intergalactic war - so you’ll have to find your own... but it’s worth a recommendation anyway.
Heavily inspired by Genesis/Megadrive game Bio Hazard Battle, CS is a slower-paced, more technical shmup, with a focus on long, involved boss fights and careful use of a vast, complex arsenal. While visually retro, the soundtrack is live garage prog-metal befitting the high-concept stoner sci-fi setting.
Cambria Sword is also enormous by genre standards. While your average arcade shmup is 20-30 minutes long, a complete playthrough of this clocks in at 3+ hours. A gruelling, marathon feat made possible for mere mortal bullet-dodgers via the option to begin repeat playthroughs from later in the game.
There’s a lengthy demo so you can sample the seafood before buying the platter, or buy the full game (¥1620/£11.30/$14.75) via DLSite English, a reputable English-language storefront for Japanese indies. The game itself is translated, and comes bundled with the full soundtrack plus (untranslated) strategy and making-of guides.
RPS was out of office. We asked our friends to write short posts like the one above on subjects of their choosing. This was one of them but the CMS failed to push it live when scheduled. Read them all here.