When it comes to shoot em up games, or shmups, I tend to take an interest without much care of the quality of the game. I have in the past had this bite me hard, and I have been pleasantly surprised with some. With Solar Shifter EX, it started out as pleasantly surprised and quickly turned into a repetitive monotony of boredom, death, and annoyance.
The best part of the game is the graphics. The background is beautiful rendered, and seems to fit the mission with very little repetitiveness in it. Your ship, The Phase Shifter, is very well designed and truly looks like a ship that you’d want to kick ass in. Enemy ships are widely varied and very well designed, as is most of the weapon fire. I did notice some slow downs with the screen filled up, which was kinda shocking but I have experienced this with other bullet hell games, so it didn’t really bother me.
The game play is relentlessly simple, the screen moves you throughout the level with no need for you to move in classic shoot em up fashion; as you get to navigate through out the screen using the left analog stick, using the right analog stick lets you ‘shift’ to four predefined spots which come in handy throughout the game. You have two options for firing your weapon, you can use the A button, or the right trigger.
This is where I have my biggest complaints. The game play is overly simple, and I finished many sections without even firing my weapon a single time, as once you learn the games patterns; it is easy to avoid any enemy fire. I really hate to just make a list of the stuff I didn’t like about the game, there is just so little about it I liked, and that was the graphics. The story was uninteresting, unoriginal, and very poorly communicated through loading screen text. Loading screens that took an average of about 10-15 seconds each and at times randomly popped up.
Throughout the game you are randomly thrown into the cockpit of an alien ship, which takes so long to be explained it teeters on pointless. With the difficulty not necessarily very high, this is compounded by the pattern style game play with death having little to no meaning, other than having to watch another age-long loading screen.
I am an avid lover of this type of game, having beat the classic Ikaruga many times, and I really wanted to like this game; I just can’t. I honestly cannot recommend this game to anyone except die-hard fans of shoot em ups who are in dire need of a new game to waste their time. I felt like throughout the game that I was merely playing it to beat it, not to enjoy it.