Vertically scrolling shooters are often associated with the term “bullet hell”, and Shikhondo: Soul Eater is no exception. It’s not always a bullet hell game though, as this is pretty much restricted to the boss fights. So there is some leeway and room to breath during play time. Does Shikhondo deliver the goods, or will it devour its own souls and slink back into the shadows?
Shikhondo as mentioned, is a bullet hell game. I’m not a massive fan of these games as they require a high level of dexterity which I don’t possess and find quite frustrating. That’s not to say that I think they’re bad, quite the opposite. I have watched people play these types of games in the past and win levels flawlessly, which to be frank boggles the mind how anyone could. But it’s all about memorising the patterns of attack and working around them, which on paper sounds easy enough, but the execution is still something to perfect. As for Shikhondo, it eases you into the genre by giving you hell so to speak, during the boss fights.
There’s a selection of difficulties to choose from, and naturally the harder the difficulty selected, the tougher the time you’re going to have. Makes sense really. Then there’s the boss rush mode, which puts you against all five of the boss fights in succession, which is quite fun truth be told. Other than just because, there’s reasons to play this mode. One is achievements or trophies should you care enough, and then there’s the leaderboards to post your best efforts and brag among your friends should you be skilled enough.
The graphics are beautiful, there’s no arguments from me here, with stunning soft colours and scenery making up the background and both selectable characters; The Girl and Grim Reaper are in the Anime style. Watching them gracefully fly through the levels is different as you’d associate that particular action with a space ship for the genre. But given that Anime isn’t one for taking itself seriously, it makes sense it would be a pair of young maidens in a roundabout sort of way. The soundtrack is also worthy of note, as it sits in the background during regular play, and really upping the ante during boss fights.
A downside to Shikhondo is the amount of content, clocking in with just five levels which to play, makes it a very short affair. Yes there’s replay value in terms of increasing difficulty settings, Boss Rush mode, but once you’ve played through once, you’ve seen everything. Of course, if you chase achievements or trophies, then there will be plenty of replay value there, as many require you to complete the game on Easy and Normal without using a single continue. The problem here, is that regular gameplay won’t be an issue, but them pesky boss fights will certainly test you manoeuvring reflexes to the absolute limit.
Shikhondo is a fantastic little Indie game that’s definitely worthy of a look for bullet hell fans as well as fans of shoot em ups in general. Bagging all of them achievements or trophies will be a challenge for sure. It may not appeal to many, but with some absolutely stunning graphics, and a great soundtrack, it would be a shame if it ended up flying under the radar and getting lost in the wilderness. The price may raise an eyebrow for the lack of content, but given how much attention to detail there is for what’s there, it’s certainly worth considering even if it’s purchased in the sales.
Developer: Deer Farm
Release Date: 28th August 2018
File Size: 556MB
Xbox One copy provided for review purpose.
Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One