Have you played Super Bullet Break yet?

Super Bullet Break came out last week, and those who have been playing it so far seem to have been enjoying themselves! If you’re not yet among the Super Bullet Breakers, perhaps you want to know a little more about the game before jumping in. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today!

Super Bullet Break is a new roguelike deckbuilder from developer BeXide and publisher PQube. It casts you in the role of a group of enthusiastic gamer girls who are attempting to rescue their favourite online games from corruption — as well as unravel the mystery of how all this happened in the first place. In order to do this, you’ll need to help the girls fight their way through the damaged game data, defeating enemies and recruiting new “Bullets” to your cause along the way.

Super Bullet Break

Each of Super Bullet Break’s “games” unfolds as a series of encounters that can take one of several forms. Battles see you face off against a group of enemies until you defeat them all — or they defeat you. Events allow you various opportunities to acquire bonus items, new Bullets and other benefits. Shop spaces allow you to spend money you’ve earned on a run on special items and new Bullets. And coffee break spaces allow you to heal up or randomise the card border (or “Cartridge”) on one of your Bullets in the hope of getting a better passive benefit.

The battles unfold in a turn-based form, with each of your Bullets having a “cost” to play from your hand. The cost represents how many units of time will be consumed on a time meter in the corner of the screen when you play that Bullet — and until said gauge reaches the next enemy in the list, you can play as many Bullets from your hand as you are able to.

Like most roguelike deckbuilders, there are a lot of different possible effects you can play from the Bullets in your deck (or “Magazine”, as the game refers to it). Some are simply for dealing damage to one or more enemies, while others allow you to accumulate Shield and Armour points. These absorb enemy damage — though unused Shield energy is lost when your next turn rolls around — and are absolutely essential to survival.

Super Bullet Break

Thankfully, the game’s system means that you can always see what each enemy is planning to do next, and when their turn will come up on the time meter. In this way, you can prepare accordingly for whatever unpleasantness awaits — be it simply attempting to mitigate as much incoming damage as possible, or making yourself ready for more unusual inconveniences, such as your hand being covered with coloured ink so that you can’t see which Bullet is which.

Make no mistake, Super Bullet Break is tough. This is not a game in which you are expected to romp through all of the available stages immediately, and it will likely take you quite some time to even be able to clear the first of the three maps in the first stage. Like many other roguelike deckbuilders, though, the game gradually eases up on the difficulty as you make repeated attempts, primarily through adding more and more Bullets to the available pool that you draw from when you win battles and progress.

The Bullets all represent characters from the various games the girls are attempting to recover, and each game has its own core mechanics, meaning that building a Magazine full of girls from the same game makes for great synergies.

Super Bullet Break

For example, the girls from the “Seasons of Love” game all have a mechanic called “Heartsplosion”, which increases a meter when you play one of them. When this meter reaches 100, all enemies are delayed and the cost of Seasons of Love Bullets is temporarily reduced; managing your hand so that this triggers when you have a hand full of Seasons of Love Bullets is a very helpful strategy.

Elsewhere, the Bullets from The Aquarhythm Deep feature a rhythm game combo meter that builds up in a similar fashion to Heartsplosion — simply by playing appropriate Bullets. Every 10 counts on the combo meter, you’ll unleash a powerful attack on a random enemy — and this can make a real difference in situations where you’re dealing with multiple foes at the same time, especially in boss encounters.

There’s a ton of tactical depth to Super Bullet Break, and while some may baulk at the inability to completely construct your deck from scratch — each of the game’s main stages gives you a starter deck, then allows you to draw additional Bullets at various opportunities as you win battles, open treasure chests and buy them from shops — it’s clear that the game hasn’t been designed with “preparing your deck” in mind.

Super Bullet Break

Instead, it’s a game that is all about making the best use of the resources that become available to you on any given run, making each time you play the game — even after you’ve cleared the stages once — feel markedly different and interesting according to the combination of Bullets you manage to secure for your Magazine. And with a large number of Bullets to unlock as you continue to play the game — regardless of if you succeed or fail — there’s plenty of variety and longevity here.

So if you’re after a stiff challenge with a lovely, cheerful, colourful atmosphere and a touch of mild fanservice along the way — fans of armpits and feet will find themselves particularly well catered to, I have to say — then Super Bullet Break will keep you entertained for quite some time. So what are you waiting for? Lock and load!

Super Bullet Break is available now for PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. Physical versions are coming in early September for PS4 and Switch.

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Pete Davison
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