8: ETHER VAPOR Remaster
ETHER VAPOR aims to be a more cinematic experience, with the influence of Ikaruga being particularly evident. Stages alternate between horizontal and vertical affairs, while some even approach a 3rd person-style view whereby you have to deal with enemy missiles locking onto your ship. Notably, powerups are eschewed entirely, forcing players to rely on their weapons alone and understanding which situation calls for the ideal attack. Challenging, but never unfair.
Irukandji is a clever name, as it sounds perfect for a shmup and happens to be the name of the most venomous type of box jellyfish in the world; appropriate since the game features an oceanic theme. Players take control of a number of abstractly-shaped, glowing ships and proceed to clean up a deep-sea trench infested with neon crabs, jellyfish and other aquatic denizens. Although featuring a single level, the replay level is high due to unlockables, achievements and a place on the ever-tempting high-score boards. And it’s extremely pretty to boot.