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Friday, June 3, 2011

Worth the Strania on My Wallet

I did it again - my reckless abandonment of the X-Box 360 ever since I stopped subscribing to X-Box LIVE Gold almost cost me another awesome shoot-'em-up. Strania: The Stella Machina was actually released at the end of March of this year and I didn't even know about it until today while I was rummaging through the list of Arcade releases on the LIVE marketplace. Developed by G.rev, Strania is a vertical shmup where you can equip your flying robot with 3 weapons at a time while using two of them simultaneously. As you destroy enemy ships, your shield meter increases and when it is full, you can choose to become invincible for a short period of time and killing enemies while this mode is active will earn you score multipliers.

All the Strania without the hernia.

When I was playing the demo, the game had that incredible adrenaline rush to it where the scenarios were constantly changing while the level designs were varied and packed-full of unique enemy patterns. I should have known by the way the game started - with waves of circular enemies flying towards you in a tunnel environment - because when I researched the game further, I found out that the galaxy's gift to Earth Mr. Hiroshi Iuchi from Treasure was actually involved in this project! No wonder the game is so good and the weapon system seems suspiciously Radiant Silvergun like the sword-swiping and how clearing the enemy waves is heavily dependant on the weapon you choose to equip. I got the game immediately after of course and I also went ahead and unlocked the game's "expansion" called Side VOWER that includes completely new stages and enemies. If Microsoft can keep getting us more Japanese shmups like this, I may reconsider going back to LIVE Gold just to reward them for providing an attractive platform for the genre developers... Maybe.

The first stage boss is ridiculously huge!

FIRST IMPRESSION: 5 out of 5

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