2: Assault Android Cactus
One of the more recent entries on this list, Assault Android Cactus is a frantic twin-stick shooter of the most chaotic caliber. Players control one of nine possible gynoids, each with two distinct modes of fire. In lieu of lives, our heroines are equipped with batteries: as you play, your energy gradually drains and you’ll need to be quick in picking up energy powerups dropped by enemies in order to remain in the game. It’s a bombardment of the senses as well as bullets and it’s an absolute blast if you can rope in some of your friends. Add that to cute, likeable characters and challenging boss battles and you have yourself a shooter that’s as charming as it is playable.
1: Danmaku Unlimited 2
Okay, I’ll admit this one has a goofy name. It would be like calling an FPS “First-Person Shooter Unlimited”. But behind the unremarkable title is perhaps one of the most solid, addictive and non-pretentious examples of a shmup as an artform. It’s a perfect encapsulation of Japanese shooter sensibilities spread across five stages which are easy to beat but tough to master. The bullet formations are extremely insane and require precision dodging, while knowing when exactly to unleash your special attack can make the difference between a win or defeat. It’s the sort of game that reminds you why you fell in love with a genre in the first place and you should definitely give it a go if you have even the slightest interest in shmups.
Agree or disagree? Can you think of any we missed? Sound off in the comments below.