The legendary bullet-hell shooter Ikaruga will release for PC on Steam this upcoming Tuesday.
Last year, fans of the amazingly difficult Ikaruga would finally see a PC port of the infamous bullet-hell shooter, courtesy of Steam Greenlight. According to developer Treasure’s official Twitter page, Ikaruga will release in NA next Tuesday (2/18), and in Japan on 2/19; the PC version will only be available through Steam. While several PC “shmups” feature strong native keyboard support, Ikaruga will also feature support for the Xbox 360 controller; local co-op will be available, along with a new “Double Play” mode, where two players will play using one controller.
Ikaruga debuted in Japanese arcades 13 years ago, and has since been ported to the Sega Dreamcast, Nintendo GameCube, and XBLA. Ikaruga falls under a sub-genre of side-scrolling shooters that is often referred to as the “bullet-hell” genre: Where most shoot-em-ups (“shmups”) feature a single ship against an army of enemies with clearly defined firing patterns- where enemies often fire a few rounds, only in a straight line- bullet-hell shooters feature enemies with overwhelming, screen-filling attacks that borderline on sensory-overload; one such example of this would be Sine Mora from Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture.
Ikaruga added a unique element to this style of gameplay, in that it features a polarity-switching system, where the player can switch their ship between “White” and “Black” modes, capable of firing and absorbing attacks of the same color; when the player absorbs enough fire, he/she can unleash a barrage of homing-missiles.