“Even though the ideal is high, I never give in”

Initially released in arcades, Ikaruga has made its way over to a multitude of platforms. From the Dreamcast, GameCube, Windows, PS4, Xbox 360/Xbox One, and now the Switch. Seriously, it feels like this game will eventually be ported to just about every gaming platform in existence. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, as this game is easily regarded as a must play. 

Game Name: Ikaruga
Platform(s): Switch, also on PS4, Xbox 360/One, GameCube, Dreamcast, & PC
Publisher(s): Nicalis
Developer(s): Treasure
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Price: $14.99 (Nintendo eShop)

While the game is still classified as a bullet hell SHMUP, the game is perhaps harder than any previous game in the genre. The reason being that the game introduces a polarity system that forces you to pay attention. Your enemies will be color-based in either white or black, as are the projectiles they shoot at you. As long as you’re using the same color as the enemy, you can absorb their incoming damage and store it for a special homing attack. While you can damage your enemy using a different color, they take considerably more damage if you match up their color.

For an added challenge, you can even play the game without alternating your color. Suicidal, very much so, but the option is there. Though, unless you’re a SHMUP master. I wouldn’t recommend it.

Switch Review

There’s also a unique chain/combo system in-place. While it originally seems like shooting down multiple enemies of the same color is how you multiply your score, it actually goes much deeper. Shooting down any three enemies of the same color is what triggers the chains. With this, you can get really fancy. So instead of mowing down nothing but white enemies and switching to black, which will break your chain. You can do white, white, white, black, black, black, white, white, white and so forth. It’s just another layer of complexity that you’ll need to master. You see, Ikargua is a short game and like many SHMUPs, the game isn’t based on progression alone. Scoring is a big deal and one look at the leaderboards will make that painfully obvious.

It also goes without saying, that the tight controls that are a must-have for this game are here. Joy-Cons work, but I recommend using the Pro Controller. You’ll also able to remap the controls if the original setting isn’t to your liking.

Easy to pick up, extremely hard to master has long been the mantra of Ikaruga. While it may seem easy to accomplish the dance between flipping between polarities is easy, it’s anything but. Sure, it starts off easy, but that’s just to fool you. It welcomes you, it beckons you in. And just when you’re getting into the groove, it switches up the game and starts progressively getting harder. Its as if the game is training you, molding you to get better as you play. The first time you play you may last 10-minutes. But the following ensuring times will result in longer sessions. Until you’re at the end, with your hands sweating and your eyes twitching.

The beauty of the Switch version is that you’re able to able to play the game in widescreen mode and in its original form, TATE. TATE, which means being able to play the game in a vertical mode is widely accepted by purists as the only way to play the game. Normally this meant taking a TV/monitor and turning it on its side to play. With the Switch, this monumental task is easier than its ever been.

In the end, if you’ve played Ikaruga on any other previous platform, then you’ve played what is available on the Switch. However, that’s also the beauty of it all. The game is a timeless classic that is worth picking up again and again. The main question is should you pick it up. WIth the obvious answer being, HELL YES. Casual gamers will welcome the challenge, while SHMUP masters will feel right at home. Plus now you can play it on the go!

Now, give us Radiant Silvergun on the Switch. Pretty please!

Review Disclosure Statement: Ikaruga was purchased by us for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.

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Ikaruga Switch Review

Game title: Ikaruga

Summary

In the end, if you’ve played Ikaruga on any other previous platform, then you’ve played what is available on the Switch. However, that’s also the beauty of it all. Ikaruga is a timeless classic and a game that is worth picking up again and again. The main question is should you pick it up. With the obvious answer being, HELL YES. Casual gamers will welcome the challenge, while SHMUP masters will feel right at home. Plus, now you can take it on the go!

Pros

  • TATE mode is flipping amazing
  • Everything that made Ikaruga so good before has been retained

Cons

  • It may be too hard for newcomers
  • Seriously, this might be a tad too hard
  • No physical version of the game
Overall
5

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. He's 40+ now, that old guy that he is.