Danmaku Unlimited 3 review (iOS / Universal)

August 10, 2017

10 word description: Bullet hell sequel. New modes. Unlockable firing methods. Beginner-friendly.

10 word review: Beautiful, intense, and tough as you want it to be.

You will like this if you enjoy: Bullet hell shooters. Seeing a screen full of gorgeous geometric shapes moving very, very fast.

The good news: A truly beautiful experience, both visually and the way it sounds. The controls are as intuitive and unobtrusive as possible, with no on-screen buttons, and minimal swipe controls that are virtually impossible to get wrong. Even the menus are crisp, clear and as gorgeous as the rest of the game.

The bad news: The game is hardly original, but then how could anyone genuinely expect a totally original gaming experience from the third game in a series within a genre that is as niche as bullet hell shooters? 

Arcadelife verdict: While it doesn’t really attempt anything groundbreaking, there’s a deeply compelling purity to the style, intensity and gameplay of DU3. The minor tweaks and improvements to what has gone before in this series are well-considered and definitely improve the overall experience. For bullet-hell fans, particularly fans of the genre on mobile devices, DU3 is an easy recommendation, with the very minor caveat that it isn’t going to blow your mind with its originality… only with its stunning beauty.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9.5/10
Visuals – 9.5/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 8/10
Fun – 8/10
Final rating – 9/10


Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.4
iTunes link
Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPhone 6 (iOS 10.3.2)
iPad Pro (iOS 10.3.2)
This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

Preview – Danmaku Unlimited 3 (iOS)

July 22, 2017

There are a couple of things worth mentioning before I start: First, there’s no personal opinion (of DU3) or any kind of review material in this article because I have been asked not to publish a review until the game’s iOS release date – 10 August 2017. Second, the images in this preview are taken from my own iPhone 6 and iPad Pro, and they have been compressed to .jpg format to save space on my WordPress account, so any lack of quality in the images is because of the compression, not the game’s visuals.

One thing I can get away with saying, is that I played the hell out of Danmaku Unlimited 2, loved every second, and I was still playing it on a fairly regular basis until a promo code for DU3 turned up.

Here’s some info from the press release: “Inspired by legendary classics like Ikaruga, Dodonpachi and Touhou, Danmaku Unlimited 3 is a lovingly crafted medley of the best aspects of Japanese Bullet Hell games, but with an innovative twist that makes it an accessible package perfectly suited as a gateway into the world of Bullet Hell. Initially available on PC/Steam, the game is now returning to its roots (Danmaku 1 and 2 were originally mobile titles) in a no-compromise premium port for iOS and Android.

This is the feature list from the press release:

• Console grade Bullet Hell experience fully realized for mobile.
• Medley of the best aspects of classic Japanese Bullet Hell shooters in a modern HD package with its own innovative twist.
• Premium experience: Perfect 1 to 1 port of the PC Version with no Ads or iAP of any kind.
• Pixel perfect touch movement with innovative virtual button free controls.
• Epic campaign across 2 unique game modes each with their own mechanics and scoring.
• Tons of weapon customization and extra unlocks.
• Brand new SPIRIT/GRAZE system gives beginners an exciting and stylish experience while rewarding skillful high risk plays that genre veterans are capable of.
• Chase high-scores with Gamecenter/Google Play leaderboards/achievements integration.
• Rocking soundtrack by the talented indie circle Blankfield from Tokyo.

Here are a couple of closing comments from the game’s creator: “The game will launch universally on iOS and Android on August 10th with an introductory price of 4.99USD (It will rise to closer to the PC version after). High quality images can also be found on the game’s DU3 website.)”

I’ll be posting a review here on Arcadelife on (or very soon after) 10 August 2017.

Don’t forget to support a struggling, unknown, unloved (and hopelessly melodramatic) author by at least having a look at my other website.


Danmaku Unlimited 3 – coming to iOS

June 30, 2017

I’m not even going out on a limb here, because this is guaranteed – Danmaku Unlimited 3 is going to completely rule on iOS. August is looking great so far – Boyka: Undisputed on the 1st, DU3 on the 10th. I might even review DU3, even though all my free time these days is devoted to writing and spectacularly failing to market my novels.


Titan Quest review (iOS / Universal)

May 19, 2016

titan quest img_0778

It’s here, at last – Titan Quest for iOS. Ten years after it was released on PC, here is one of the many action RPGs that followed in Diablo’s huge, fiery footsteps, but this one managed to convince many players that it was actually a better game. I have been playing it on iPhone 6 and iPad Air, and it has done a fair bit more than just bring back a few fond memories of an old PC game.

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For the purposes of this review, and keeping it fairly short, I’ve decided not to go into detail about the game content, classes, loot, skill trees, in fact pretty much everything that has been exhaustively covered all over the internet since 2006. I’ll focus on how the game plays on mobile devices (large and small), and what sort of a job DotEmu have done with transferring a fairly complex mouse & keyboard control system to a touch-screen interface.

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Before you ask, all the images in this review were taken by me on while I was playing Titan Quest on either an iPhone 6 or iPad Air. Click on any of them to view the full size image.

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First of all, the touch screen interface for the main game is extremely good. It is abundantly clear that a huge amount of thought, consideration, and play-testing has gone into this. Looking at the end result, I would bet that DotEmu tried various types of control interface before arriving at the final version. It is just very, very good. Personally, I would have provided an option to use relative touch on the left side of the screen instead of the d-pad, but that’s just because I always want a relative touch option.

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Moving your character around is easy, responsive, and never really feels any more awkward than it did with the mouse on PC. If anything, this kind of direct movement control will feel more natural for many players. Assigning skills to the hotkey buttons is straightforward and allows you to put skills wherever you want, within the limitations of the button positions. I haven’t had any problem triggering attacks or spells, so I’m completely happy with how they have set this up.

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There are a few minor issues with the control interface, but nothing anywhere near game-breaking. In NPC conversations, I found I had to move away and click the ‘talk’ icon again in order to get the follow-up part of a conversation or trigger a quest completion after the initial ‘well done’ chat. Once you’re aware of it, it isn’t an issue but it isn’t ideal. In fights where loot is dropping all over the place (which is a lot of the time) I sometimes found that my character was going into ‘collect loot’ mode instead of ‘hit things with a big sword’ mode. Again, once you’re aware of it, you can take steps to avoid it, but it will still occasionally occur and it can be slightly irritating if you don’t realise it’s happening during a tough scrap.

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Inventory management on the iPad screen is fine. I encountered various issues on the smaller iPhone 6 screen, particularly when trying to select and move single-block items (e.g. rings, amulets, potions and power-up components). Text also appears very small on the iPhone screen, with the game having a rather more fiddly overall feel than on the iPad, where it absolutely shines as a remarkable touch-screen achievement.

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In addition to the wonderful job of creating a clear, attractive, and very responsive new control interface for the game, there is also a clever feature for spell/skill use which replaces the original point-and-key-click with a drag-to-target mechanism. Whenever you tap and hold a spell icon, the action slows down into a kind of bullet-time mode while you drag your fireball spell or whatever to its target. Once you release, the action speeds back up to normal again, with an appropriate sound cue, and the spell hurtles to its destination. Very slick, very useful, and – most of the time – it works absolutely perfectly.

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Briefly, for anyone who hasn’t played Titan Quest (or Grim Dawn on PC/Steam, which is TQ’s darker, faster, and more thematically modern offspring) you run around slaughtering hordes of enemies, level up, collect loot, and repeat for dozens of enjoyable, carnage-strewn hours. At level 2 you select your first mastery (one of eight different classes), each with its own set of skills that can be unlocked and assembled into your own unique skill/spell choice as you progress. At level 8 (it’s 10 in Grim Dawn but you get there a little quicker in that game) you have the option to choose a second mastery (class) from the remaining seven classes, but it is entirely up to you whether you do that or stick with your single original class. Most players will opt to fill out there skills with some different ones from a second class, but that’s the sheer beauty of this game – it is entirely up to you.

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To summarise, Titan Quest is a classic PC action RPG that has been ported to iOS devices with an excellent touch-screen interface, with all the original game features and content included, and no in-app-purchases at all. It’s slightly disappointing that the Immortal Throne expansion isn’t included because it addressed several gameplay issues with Titan Quest and enhanced the overall experience. Despite that minor gripe, this is still a great game and it is certainly a brilliant touch screen port.

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The shopkeeper wants you to buy this game. I think you should.

Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9.5/10
Visuals – 9/10
Controls – 9/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 8.5/10
Final rating – 9/10

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0.0
iTunes link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPhone 6
iPad Air

This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

I also write novels. Find out more: jwtapper.co.uk


Titan Quest iOS – Dev Diary 2

May 13, 2016

This has just been added on YouTube.

I played the hell out of Titan Quest on PC. The touch interface looks absolutely brilliant – great job, DotEmu. Now I just can’t wait to play this all over again on iPad, ten years after it was first released.


Aliens vs. Pinball review (iOS / Universal)

April 27, 2016

aliens vs pinball 1

The first two Alien movies are easily in my top 10 favourites of all time, probably top 5 if I ever bothered to give the list any serious thought. AVP and the other sequels, well, not so much. The three tables in Aliens vs. Pinball are very good. The Aliens table is my favourite, and it also seems to be the most forgiving after a few games on each.

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It’s worth playing these tables while wearing headphones because a lot of effort has been put into the audio. The ambient sound effects are extremely atmospheric, and there are plenty of samples from the movies (and the game on the Alien Isolation table). A few of the Aliens samples did make me smile, because they were not the same ones that have been worn out through years of overuse, although the predictability of Hudson’s ‘Game Over’ line almost made it feel like a lazy inclusion. Note – almost, because it is a true classic, right up there with ‘I’ll be back’ in my opinion, and I would have been shocked if it had been left out.

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The AVP table is arguably more fun than the film. I can’t rate the Isolation table against the original game because I haven’t played Alien Isolation. I know I should have, but I’ve had to really cut down on gaming (and posting on Arcadelife, which you probably noticed) as I am using the majority of my free time for writing novels.

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Overall, Aliens vs. Pinball is a great addition to the already substantial mountain of Alien games, movies and other media. I didn’t hesitate in paying for the full unlock (less than five quid) and I am having a good time with all three tables.

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Arcadelife rating

Presentation – 9.5/10
Visuals – 9/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9/10
Final rating – 9/10

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 1.0
iTunes link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
iPhone 6
4th gen iPad

This review was typed on a Das Keyboard Model S mechanical keyboard – check them out, they’re really rather groovy.

I also write novels. Find out more: jwtapper.co.uk


Crimzon Clover – On sale, must buy!

November 25, 2015


Steam link: http://store.steampowered.com/app/285440/

Crimzon Clover is a highly rated, critically acclaimed bullet hell shooter. It looks great and it plays even better than it looks. It’s currently on sale for £1.74 on the Steam store. I suggest that you go and buy it right now.




Steam Store blurb…
Prepare yourself for an insatiable rain of bullets, bombs, and beams in Crimzon Clover. From Japanese indie developer Yotsubane, this retro top-down shooter is a wild ride you won’t want to miss out on.
User reviews: Overwhelmingly Positive (584 reviews)
Release Date: 6 Jun, 2014