A new shoot em up jumps into hyperspace on Nintendo Switch and Steam.
It seems that it blows fresh wind for the old Sega MegaDrive . As birthday girl who is (of a respectable figure) stars in these compilation months , there are mini consoles on the horizon and the media remembers how great it was thirty years ago. It happens much more hidden, but it exists, another constant celebration in time that does not cease in its endeavor: the enhanced exaltation of its games. MegaDrive had at the time a defining weapon of its capabilities in the speed of its processor, which made possible dizzying games that we would never see in its great rival. Among them, the titles that best used the acceleration that made Sonic possible, is a fantastic shoot em up: Thunder Force IV. A new installment of nostalgia for the old Sega machine has just arrived from the independent scene, which now gives birth to an almost direct heir in this Devil Engine.
Shoot em up on the run
Neither was the only one nor does it have to be the most definitive (Lords of Thunder or Thunder Force IV could well aspire to the throne of accelerated shoot em ups) but that Thunder Force IV was one of the titles that best used Mega’s visual capabilities Drive. His devilish speed of game, his tremendously distinctive weapons or the genius of allowing us to alternate different speeds of displacement of the ship made him one of the greats of the genre in that system. Other ideas less present but equally characteristic, such as its system of progression and the possibility of choosing between the first levels, turned it into a round console video game in 1992. Devil Engine clearly comes to continue things as they could have been shortly after, of not having changed anything in the world, adding a light coat of paint to the scoring system and reveling in his idea of difficulty.
ProtoCulture Games has not even pretended to hide its inspirations in this new shoot em up. Everything looks and moves as a 16 bit video game could do in a panoramic format, with obvious visual references here and there, including a sensational tribute to Last Resort on the second level. This Devil Engine takes very little time to be felt at the controls as a new episode of the Thunder Force series for an idealized Mega Drive , but then we began to realize that everything is even more complicated than we remembered. If we play at the level that boasts of being very difficult (and it’s the only one in, along with the very easy one), truces last a short time. Already the second scenario comes to us to pose patterns type bullet hell with an agglomeration of shots on screen: very complicated to dodge, especially at the speed at which everything moves. In any case, we think that Devil Engine demands much more to our reflexes than to the memorization of levels, the password of the horizontal shoot em up, in line with what happened also in the old Thunder Force.
You have to see the tutorial
Once both modes are finished, this Devil Engine makes it clear to us that it presents two totally different experiences according to its two main difficulty settings. Let everyone be clear that the word “easy” does not exist in this game, which already poses a more than important challenge to finish the six levels in the supposedly affordable way. But he knows how to motivate us: to end it like that implies a certain dishonor, and whoever approaches a shoot em up already knows that fun is not in simplicity. Anyone thinking to take it seriously will do very well this time to watch the tutorial carefully, as the keys are not as visible as they may seem. We are not facing an innovative game, but before one that draws oil from what it does well, which does not teach at all until we reach a certain level of play. The tutorial explains a classic system of combos and punctuation that will allow us to get bombs and extra lives (thus extending each new attempt) while indicating a key that we found very curious: that of forcing us to reduce enthusiasm with the pop , the only somewhat novel mechanics of the game. It is a kind of dashthat allows to absorb bullets, but at the same time drain our combo meter, which is essential to reach the end by pure accumulation of bombs and lives. It is very well achieved, once we know how to play in conditions, the balance that is proposed in terms of calculating well the consequences of using this gesture and its possibilities, which ultimately end up throwing a satisfactory balance.
With Devil Engine, its developers have had to come up with compromise solutions that have not always solved as well as it would be desirable. The main problem is the time it takes to master it to the necessary level , and we think that this will be a stumbling block even for many fans of the genre. Devil Engine requires too much patience and infinite retries to the player to unlock credits and other material, but does so without offering anything essentially new or a level design so perfect that anyone wants to repeat it a thousand times. It is true that their phases are very competent, and also it is that they take much advantage of the general speed of the game with notable moments (like that kind of rhythm game in the third level). Even so, the grace of the whole set remains in the high speed of play, the need for constant anticipation and frenetism from the start. Also in the joy of changing guns for no apparent reason, once we know thoroughly the behavior of the three main weapons. Everyone will have to assess whether they are attractive enough to take on the task.
Devil Engine is a much more than competent shoot em up that successfully recovers a trend, that of shoot em up at high speed . Based on unlockables, it becomes a more than worthy title in terms of content thanks to additional ships, credits or unhealthy levels of difficulty, as well as challenging modes and some really spectacular visual filters that we will obtain with the pure game time (special mention to the one that turns the graphics into a reflection of the two-color world of ZeroRanger). We are without a doubt a funny shoot em up, technically solvent in its evocation of a very concrete past, which has also been endowed with a very powerful soundtrack. Its biggest drawback, in our opinion, is that the high levels are directed exclusively to the most accomplished specialists of the genre, although this time this is not enough to stop recommending it to the less dedicated: its easy mode is not easy for Nothing, but it is complete, and certainly very enjoyable. What comes next … it is better to leave it to each one according to his ability and his reflexes.