I love shoot 'em ups. I played the hell out of the genre as a kid on my Commodore 64 and Amiga 1200, hell, even my NES. And now, as an adult, I have rediscovered my love for shooting countless enemies once again. Step forward Qubyte Interactive and their newest release Vasara Collection.
For those of you familiar with the Samurai Warriros series, here in Vasara you will find some familiar names among the main bad guys that you must defeat on your road to a glorious victory. Now we all know that samurai Warriors and it's more popular older brother Dynasty Warriors are hack and slash titles, but in Vasara, they are piloting ships and giant mechs in a mild bullet hell. Still with me? It makes no sense whatsoever, and it doesnt really have to either. Because it's fun. A lot of fun.
There are a few options to choose from before you can get started. Do you play the campaign of Vasara 1 or 2 first? Or throw yourself head first into Timeless Mode? Spoilt for choice. So Vasara 1 first, is from Japanese developer Visco and until now, only Japanese gamers have had the pleasure of tackling the game. It is hard, no doubt about that, but not so hard that you will throw your controller at the cat in frustration. Just tough enough that you will say to yourself "just one more go" which inevitably turns into another hour of your day suddenly taken up. In my opinion, I found this to be tougher than Vasara 2. Maybe it's just me. Your thoughts?
Vasara 2 on the other hand, is a modern take on the game, and it's all rather pretty to look at and reminds me of Skyforce. Another top quality vertical scrolling shooter that you probably are aware of. Theres not much different here when you have already taken graphical quality into account. Kill or be killed, it's that simple.
The concept remains the same throughout both games though, and that's shoot anything that moves or doesnt. Ships will fly in, shoot at you then leave. Static placements will also fire a barrage of bullets in your general direction, and any that are gold coloured will drop a blue P that are totally worth collecting. More firepower naturally.
The setting is a retro futuristic Japan set in the year 1600 where everything is out to kill you in giant robotic ships. Only in Japan would an idea like this crop up. Not a pop, I love how "out there" Japanese game developers are. Unique and quirky for sure. Redesigned graphics, a katana at hand and Bullets of your own to take down the forces of the main bad guy Tokugawa. So there is a hack and slash element available to you, but this comes in the form of special attacks that cant be used with reckless abandon.
Next up is Timeless Mode. Pick your fighter and set forth to see how many waves (levels) you can wade through with no continues allowed. You get three lives with which to get as far as you can and that's your lot. I spent a large portion of my time with Vasara playing this mode as it is a lot of fun.
Vasara Collection has not seen these shores since its release 19 years ago in its native homeland of Japan. We have had to wait a long time to experience it, and boy was it worth it. Vasara is an example of how you nail this genre. There is 3 games in one package for an incredibly low price with plenty of hours available for you. Its ot a quick completion, but it's not that hard if you're good and follow the guides here. If you enjoy shoot 'em ups then you would be well advised to go and make that purchase. Not only will you have spent money well, but you'll also be supporting the developer.
Release Date: 14th August