‘Tis the season to be jolly. Especially if you happen to have a megaton of exciting shmup news to drop. And we do. So let’s get to it!
Twin Bee – Last month we told you to keep your eyes peeled for Twin Bee dropping on the eShop as part of the Arcade Archives line and on the 5th it did precisely that. Another classic cute-em-up to add to last month’s Fantasy Zone, this one can be yours for $7.99 now.
Gemini Arms – A transforming robot themed space shooter, Gemini Arms alternates between classic side-scrolling and twin-stick action. The game was announced on the 5th and hit the Japanese eShop on the 19th. No word on a release in other regions as yet, although the developer has said they’d be interested in the idea.
Space Invaders: Invincible Collection – Taito has added another title to the line-up for their upcoming Space Invaders: Invincible Collection, this time in the form of the four-player Space Invaders Gigamax 4SE.
Good-Feel – You may have already heard of developer Good Feel. They’ve worked very closely with Nintendo over the last decade, releasing, among other things, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Wario Land: Shake It! and, most recently, Yoshi’s Crafted World. So, why are we talking about them in a feature dedicated to shmups? Well, in a recent Nintendo Life interview they announced they’re planning to follow up their first self-published title – the well-received Monkey Barrels – with “a pure 2D shooter” and that “a director who is fully committed to the genre” is at the helm. Given the studio’s pedigree, this could be something very exciting indeed and with development having supposedly started before development on Monkey Barrels, we’ll hopefully be seeing precisely what this is very soon.
Toaplan – In arguably the biggest news of the month, M2 have announced they intend to begin work on porting most, if not all, of Toaplan’s library (whether negotiations were concluded with Mr Hori of M2 declaring “all your game are belong to us” has not yet been confirmed). While this legendary developer did put out games in a variety of genres, it’s for their shmups that they’re probably best remembered. Very few further details were provided but, hopefully, this means we can look forward to classics such as Truxton I & II, Vimana, Fire Shark and, of course, Batsugun hitting our favourite hybrid in the months and years to come.
Sisters Royale – Alpha Systems of Castle of Shikigami fame’s vert has been available in Japan for over a year, but it’s finally, finally being localized and will hit western eShops on Jan 30th in collaboration with Chorus Worldwide.
Jamestown+ – Final Form Games’ vertizontal Jamestown busted in the saloon doors and swaggered up to the eShop bar on the 12th. Following the – so far historically unverified – adventures of Sir Walter Raleigh through the British and Spanish colonies on Mars and its moons, this one is jam-packed with content and, while at first it may seem a tad pricey at $17.99, it offers more than enough action to keep even the most hardened sharpshooter happy for a very long time indeed.
Jets’N’Guns – Announced on the 15th and released the very next day, Jets’N’Guns from developer Rakeingrass is a 43 stage hori that previously released on Steam. Eschewing the arcade format for something more lengthy, this one may be of interest to any euroshmup enthusiasts out there.
Saint Dragon and XX Mission – Hamster’s Arcade Archives line really is the gift that just keeps on giving. Next up in their seemingly endless mission to release everything ever are another couple of shmups in the form of hori Saint Dragon, in which, you won’t be overly surprised to hear, you control a dragon, and the more traditional style vert XX Mission. As usual, no release dates were given at the initial announcement but the turnaround on these is usually pretty quick so look out for them coming soon.
ESP Ra. De. – Boom! Boooom! Cave is here! On Switch! Do you need to know more? What? Oh. Well, okay. ESP Ra. De., one of Cave’s earlier efforts, blasted onto the Japanese eShop on the 19th courtesy of M2. This esp themed vert has never received a home console release before and, for the collectors among you out there, a positively delicious looking physical edition is available to import from a variety of retailers. Hopefully this will not be an isolated release and will mark the beginning of as many Cave ports as M2 – or anyone else – can find to throw at us, but, for now, this ought to offer some serious meat for aficionados of this most storied of danamaku developers to sink their teeth into.
Game Tengoku – On the same day as ESP Ra. De. was stealing all the headlines, City Connection decided to drop, with no prior announcement whatsoever, classic vert Game Tengoku (or Game Paradise in the west) onto the Japanese eShop. We’ve known this one was coming for a while and a physical release, being handled by Dispatch Games, should be close to shipping, but this was still something of a surprise.
New Cotton – A Cotton Reboot is coming to Switch this summer and we were all already very excited, but at a recent Umihara Kawase BaZooKa! event (yeah, your guess is as good as mine) a brand new entry in the series was announced with an aim of releasing the game some time in 2021.
Shmup Collection – A collection of three Astro Port shmups has been announced by Pixel Heart, and will be available as a physical edition from their website. The three shmups in question are horis Satazius Next and Armed 7 DX with Wolflame offering something for vert lovers. Whether these will also be available as standalone eShop releases or not, we don’t yet know, but this is a nice little get to end the year with.
Dark Gravity – Supposedly taking inspiration from Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun and Zero Gunner – rather exalted company, although hard to know what that means exactly given how different some of those games are – Dark Gravity is a new shmup being developed by Polish studio Korgorus. On Steam they’re aiming for a late 2020 release with a Switch version slated to come later.
Well, that is it – not just for December, but for the whole of 2019. It’s been a spectacular year for shmup fans, with the Switch really seeming to be driving a reinvigoration of the genre, and with several quality titles already lined up for 2020, it looks like the good times are going to keep on rolling.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this little feature and found the information useful and we look forward to bringing you more in the way of shmup news and announcements throughout 2020. Happy New Year!