Developed and Published By: Ratalaika Games Categories: Retro, Platformer Release Date: 09.22.23 Price: $5.99 *Game download code graciously provided for the purpose of review
While it was amazing to finally see Shubibinman in the west, now known as Shockman, the game itself was really sloppy and mediocre. It came off as an unfinished, overambitious game by amateur devs. Well, it’s sequel, now known as Shockman 2 is up and above an improvement. But where do I even begin with this?
The story, streamlined. The overworld map between stages, gone. I somewhat miss the option of where to go, when, but I’m eternally thankful you heal between stages now. So long hoping that the stage you finish heals you. That’s not to say that Shockman 2 isn’t difficult, but it feels like the devs knew what they were doing this time. The hitboxes would play by their own rules beforehand, with the repeating boss fights becoming dreadful exercises in inching around the screen ever so slightly to make sure you both don’t get hit by nothingness and actually hit the boss With a slippy slippy character who slides everywhere. You’re going to hit what you need to hit…most of the time, and you’re going to do it easier.
Oh, this isn’t a sidescrolling slasher anymore either. Instead it’s a side scrooling shooter. People compare it to Mega Man, but…not really? You shoot and can make a charge shot, but that’s really it? Oh, I guess the intro stage having you without powers briefly is a thing too? Predating both Mega Man VII and X. And hey, this game lets you once again play as the girl (Sonya/Kyapiko), and play with a friend. Stuff that Mega Man games *really* need to step up with. There’s the Dark Shockmen too…I guess that’s a parallel.
Every couple of stages, you’ll get to a shmup level. These…are alright. You’re not gonna heal during these, stages are really tight, and I swear I hit enemies when shots instead went right through them. There’s some great setpieces at least.
You know what to expect when it comes to Ratalaika’s re-releases. It’s the same here. Supremely indepth filter options, rewinds, galleries…a retranslation of Shubibinman 2? You’re given the option of playing the original translation known as Shockman, the Japanese game, and a new translation, which we know as Shockman 2. The gallery has manuals for both of the original releases too, which is always something I’ll parade.
Lets hope that Ratalaika commits to releasing the rest of the Shubibinman series outside of Japan, the games only get better. Unless you really want to see how the series evolves, skip the first Shockman and go directly to this. Trust me. It looks, it sounds, it plays. So much better.