Steam is steadily becoming the go to place for an assortment of shmups and recently Mages with 5pb. really nailed it with this release of Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst. Does it have all the ingredients for an amazing shmup experience?
Bullet Soul was a bullet hell shooter previously exclusive to the Xbox 360 platform. Four months ago, we got our hands on it on Steam, but now following in on its footsteps from the Xbox version, here comes Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst. This is a refined version with added Burst Mode and some needed rebalancing in places.
Now let’s talk about the modes because this game has a lot to offer. There is the Normal mode which is good in and of itself, but it doesn’t have that much that would distinguish itself from the genre’s tropes. It follows the same setup we’ve seen in almost any shmup. Acquire power-ups to increase your damage output and pick up the ever-important bombs, lest you will be penalized by losing your power and lives.
Then there is the Burst Mode, my preferred mode to play. It gives that breath of fresh air that is needed in a modern shmup like this. It changes the formula drastically, but for the better. You start your levels fully powered and blast through the enemies like warm knife through butter. The game rewards you with lots and lots of coins which you have to collect for bigger and bigger scores in evergrowing chains.
Letting coins escape will decrease your chain. So, when in a pinch all you have to do is release the Burst Mode, as indicated on the left, and you can continue to chain coins for more Burst. All is well and good, but when you try to salvage every little coin from the screen, this is where the true challenge lies as you are a pretty easy target amidst the chaos.
Both Burst and Normal mode have an additional Buncho mode where you can practice and perfect your score on any specific stage. Caravan Mode is an interesting take on the gameplay that makes you race against the clock to see how much destruction you can bring forth in a limited amount of time. Additionally, Normal and Caravan modes have been redesigned and rebalanced with new enemies and attack patterns from the original version.
There are four characters and all provide enough variety to experiment with. There’s Yun, a girl with a fairly standard spread shot, Sadahl, a king with a great close range shot and Zenichi that is somewhere in between these two. Not to forget Loop, a young girl who has both great spread and a powerful close quarter one too.
Loop is a lot of fun to play with. I must admit she never failed to put a smile on my face. She constantly toys with the player with her witty remarks like “You suck desu!” when you lose a life or her “Come get some desu”. She was a bonus character in the original title that is now available across all modes.
The graphics can be said to be the pinnacle of the genre, and although the game employs 3D models they are done very subtly. Overall Bullet Soul Infinite Burst looks very polished and stylish and played in Burst mode it displays this in all its glory. We have seen vertical scaling as well as screen rotation in more and more shmups lately, and Bullet Soul: Infinite Burst is no exception. If you have to squint to see the action in the narrow vertical view, the game always allows you to rotate your whole screen giving you the ability to play as it was intended. The soundtrack is great and with both original and arrange modes to choose from there is even enough variety here for quite a while.
Is Bullet Soul Infinite Burst worth it over the vanilla version of the game that was released back in April? I say yes especially for the affordable asking price and given that Burst Mode is really fun to play with and considering the additional overhaul of Normal and Caravan modes. Newcomers to the series are also welcome to grab their copy as this is basically the definitive version of the game.