XBox Live Indie Games sees the release of another shoot'em up, this one titled Vorpal. Way back when there was a 360 title called Wartech: Senko No Rondo which featured a shmup style but with arena combat in a 2D setting, and it was a good idea. Personally I hated it. Vorpal takes the boss battles and simplifies it into a vertical arena where you directly face the enemy boss, but like many other shmups, you can fly unimpeded around the entire screen to get away from the waves of bullets that will come flying at you. Your ship doesn't turn around in circles, you can only shoot towards the boss, so the movement is more of a defensive maneuver.
You'll be fighting through tiers of bosses, each having some story line connecting the characters having to do with corporations. I'm not the intelligence officer, I'm the Grunt, so all I need to know is how to defeat my enemy, not what they are doing wrong. Napoleon would have loved me. The default weapon is HELL type, and it evolves through power ups, and you also have a special power up, BREAK time, which initially sucks in enemy fire and shoots back a mass of bullets at your opponent. This weapon isn't upgradeable, but it can be charged for longer use. Your ship's health starts at 6 blocks tracked on the left of the screen.
PowerUps will fill your health or upgrade your weapons if you destroy their containers (in this case, floating spikes) which will appear next to the opponent. Be careful though, you could end up catching a bullet or two going after the power ups. However, you could use strategy with this one, by using your shield health as another defensive maneuver during sequences where there is a hailstorm of bullets flying at you, and sometimes returning back from off-screen. A unique thing about this game is the boss tracker. On the bottom of the screen there is a rectangle that will move with the boss, allowing you to hold down the fire button while watching your ship's position in the onslaught of bullets. How many times have I died or lost health when being hit by bullets while trying to track the boss? Countless times. This addition is a welcome evolution of the genre. Nice !
Graphically, the game is simple yet awesome. Red, white, black, and various gradients, hues, etc, of said colors make for a pleasing palette. The ship designs are cool looking Japanese Manga-style, as are the characters who control them. Not in that overly-cute way that Deathsmiles presents, but a sharp, sleek symmetrical look to everything. Especially the waves of bullets. At $1, Vorpal is yet another no-brainer title, and kudos to the guys at RedWolf for giving me some more ammunition and another reason to appreciate the wonderful thing called Bullet Heaven!
Vorpal 2 in Summer 2013?
Apparently Vorpal 2 is coming Summer 2013. Seeing as how it's now August and Summer ends September 21, the wait may finally be over!
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