You may have noticed that the other day I posted some info on an upcoming top-down shmup called SHINORUBI. Well, I’ve been playing the game for a few days now, and I have to say that I’m impressed. SHINORUBI is a lot of fun, colorful, the gameplay is tight, and it’s enjoyable. Which is why I can’t seem to put the game down.
Game Name: SHINORUBI Platform(s): PC Publisher(s): Last Boss 88
Developer(s): Last Boss 88
Release Date: January 20, 2022
What is SHINORUBI?
SHINORUBI is a top-down shmup that has been influenced by titles such as Radiant Silvergun, Ikugara, and R-Type, to name a few. You see a lot of those games in here, yet SHINORUBI holds its own that’s to its unique flavor. There’s a number of modes so you won’t get bored. Other than the main mode (story mode), there’s a boss rush mode, where you can fight the available bosses, one after another. There are also several arrange modes that change up how the classic mode is played; Shield, Cancel, Laser/ Shot, Journey, Pink Pig, and Super Rank. Several more modes will be added before the full game is released.
Like some of my other favorite shmups, SHINORUBI, does require you to do more than shoot your way to victory. While you’re blasting away, you’ll notice you have three different types of attack; auto fire – shoots all your weapons, laser, and bombs. Using auto-fire, your attacks are spread out to tag enemies, but it is weak. While the laser is a concentrated beam of destruction that makes quick work of enemies. However, while using the laser, it slows down your ship and makes it harder for you to escape attacks. And there’s the old staple, the bomb, which wipes out all enemies on the screen. It seems straightforward, right? Well, there’s more to this.
Your weapons also have an effect on how big your score gets. Lasers can be used to trigger what’s called “Frenzy Mode”, which turns all on-screen enemy shots into hot-pink colored stars that help ramp up your score. While bombs, despite being handy to get you out of a tight situation they ultimately harm your score. The game even goes as far as telling you not to use bombs to maximize your score.
While we’re on the topic of scoring, your score is affected in several ways. When you destroy enemies, you’ll get points while picking up the bright yellow stars that can be dropped by larger enemies. There are also medals, purple stars, and hot-pink crystals, all of which increase your score. If you can manage to not sneak a bomb, that also helps boost your score. There’s also a leaderboard that I imagine will show you how your score stacks up against those around the globe. At the time of this article, the leaderboard isn’t working.
The controls, which are essential for a game like this, are super responsive. There were times where I found myself sliding between the on-screen fire to see if I could. Other times, during an “Oh Shit” moment, I appreciated the responsive controls.
PC Stuff …. Talk about the performance
As I mentioned prior, SHINORUBI is, at least for now, only available on the PC. I’ve played the game on two different PCs, to see how performance is. One is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5900x, RTX 3080 Ti, 64GB of RAM, and Windows 10. On this PC, the game ran like a dream and I didn’t see an ounce of stutter, or dropped frame rates at 1080p, 1440p or 4K.
Then I moved over to the other PC that has an AMD Ryzen 1600, GTX 1080, 16GB of RAM, and Windows 11. Guess what? The performance was comparable to the higher-end PC. If I was handed a controller and wasn’t told which PC the game was running, wouldn’t be able to tell. The system requirements for SHINORUBI aren’t super demanding, which is nice. If you have a PC that was built within the past 4-5 years (with a discrete GPU), I’d wager that you’ll be fine running the game.
Update: I wanted to give a bit more context regarding the orientation of the screen and how it relates to the gameplay. Most shmups, or at least the ones I’ve played provided more screen real estate due to them being horizontal. SHINORUBI, on the other hand, was developed with it being vertical. As you can see in the screenshot above or my gameplay video, this gives the impression that there isn’t a lot of space on the screen. This is correct, and it did, which makes everything feel cramped. This is definitely apparent when facing off against a boss. So far, it doesn’t hurt the game, yet I can where this can pose a problem for some.
Everything about SHINORUBI has been, well, better than expected. The visuals are colorful and animated, and thankfully it’s not hard to make out an enemy’s fire against the background. The game does have a filter that replicates a CRT and bends the corners of the screen. I didn’t see a way to disable this, but I have reached out to the developers about that. Sound-wise, the sounds are great; explosions sound like explosions, while weapons fire your ship is oddly satisfying. I can’t forget about the wicked, rocking soundtrack that’s blaring with some enjoyable tunes.
For those wondering if you can play with either a Keyboard/Mouse combo, you definitely can. It’s not my cup of tea, but it works well. For shmups, I’ll keep using my joystick as it feels natural.
Check out some SHINORUBI gameplay, below. This is from the first stage, on normal mode and without dying once. I’m proud about the last bit, seeing how I’m 45 years young and I’m supposed to have lost the ability to play games at that age. Or, that’s what I’m told anyway.
Thoughts on SHINORUBI so far?
So far, the game feels extremely polished, and as much as I tried, I haven’t found anything that would otherwise sour me on the game. The controls are responsive, the visuals and sound are amazing, there are plenty of game modes to select. Surprisingly, there are several options that can be tweaked, including mapping controls. Sadly, there’s no option to enable a TATE mode, as it would be perfect for the game. All this SHINORUBI is just an Early Access game at this point.
SHINORUBI will be available on January 20, 2022, and is currently in development for PC (Steam)