Is ?kashicverse the hardest game ever made?

Sshh?! You hear that? That’s the sound of my fingers crying. That’s the sound of self esteem ebbing away. That’s the sound of ?kashicverse – Malicous Wake proving, once and for all, that the reflexes of my youth are well and truly gone. Is it the hardest game ever made? Probably not – but it’s having a pretty fun time trying to be.


We’re in bullet hell territory again – and glutton for punishment that I am – here I go trying my best to recapture my glory days. ?kashicverse from doujin circle Endless-Shirafu is insanely tough with the kind of bullet intensity and pattern mix up you’d expect from a shmup firmly targetted at those with a zen-like ability to inch their pixel-perfect way though intricate meshes of danger.


Malicious Wake however, goes that one step further – and layers in a secondary control system for you to get to grips with, and one that can not be ignored if you want to survive.



There are more gauges on this thing than the bridge of the starship enterprise, and there, in the left hand column is, effectively, a moves list like you’d find for a Street Fighter character.


In conjunction with your standard forward firing cannon, you’re able to hit a button that allows you to input certain directional commands. Activate this and you can, in effect, chose from a number of special moves – or Methods. These give you a range of offensive techniques that you can call on to assist you – each with different properties, powers and, crucially consume different amounts of gauge power.



While this is initially horribly bewildering – feeling like just one more thing to worry about when staying alive is hard enough as it is – these additional powers, with a little help from muscle memory, soon become second nature – and open up a pleasant level of choice in how you go about your bullet hell business.


Confident enough to get up close and melee attack with multiple, level one gauge attacks? Prefer to play it cautious by using a bullet slowing shield while you concentrate fire – or are you ballsy enough to just dodge and weave and then opt for less frequent but more powerful bombs or fire?



Some of you won’t survive long enough to really come to terms with that kind of decision making – but that said – when a game looks this remarkable (and ?kashicverse is nothing if intensely beautiful in a neo-techno-trip kind of way) you’ll be able to admire it either way.


As it happens ?kashicverse is the beneficiary of a pretty generous demo, so there’s really no excuse not to discover it for yourself.


You can find the demo of ?kashicverse – Malicious Wake at the game’s main website right here.



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