If you’re looking for a shoot ’em up/bullet hell-type game in a clean, professional package, Danmaku Unlimited 3 may be the answer to that search. A challenging yet oddly accommodating game, it provides the player with a set of ever increasingly difficult levels and tasks you with mastering your own ship’s movement to eliminate enemies and progress forward. There are a few unlockable weapon choices that provide a slightly different feeling for each playthrough, but for the most part this is a classic, arcade style game that relies more on repetition and practice than any built in mechanics to ease gameplay. Fortunately, Danmaku Unlimited 3 is a phenomenal game, making this repetition welcomed rather than burdensome.
Much like similar games, you control a small ship, Valkyria, at the bottom of the screen, and enemies pour in from the top. These enemies will unload a barrage of bullets that you must dodge, while you simultaneously fire your own lasers to destroy them. Attacking is almost entirely automatic, as the game provides you with a wide enough attack pattern to hit anything in your line of fire, allowing you to focus on the much more important task of dodging those pesky bullets. You have access to a basic shot and a laser attack that deals more damage at the cost of slowing you down. Both of these attacks have a few variants for you to select from before the game begins, and you’ll also have bombs as a last resort attack.
But wait, there’s a catch, and this is where the game finds its niche: Only the “core” of Valkyria is vulnerable to attacks, and if you’re able to graze the side of this circular core with the bullets, you’ll build up your Graze-High Meter. Once the meter is full, you’ll be able to collect Spirit, which will in-turn fill up THAT meter, and once that’s filled up, you’ll enter Spirit Mode. This is basically your super-powered state, which allows you to devastate enemies. In simpler terms, coming very close to death is a positive in this game, which really adds a lot to the split-second decision making moments of gameplay.
There are two modes in Danmaku Unlimited 3: Spirit Mode and Graze Mode. Spirit mode keeps things more casual, as you are punished less for getting hit, don’t need to worry about your Graze-High meter, and Spirit comes naturally from enemies. Spirit mode also features the easier difficulties. Graze Mode has all of the features mentioned in the previous paragraph, and only offers two difficulty levels: Hard and True. It’s definitely the more intense of the two modes, providing a substantial challenge to the player.
This diversity in gameplay choices works to this game’s favour, essentially creating a game that is welcoming to beginners of the genre, while still providing a substantial challenge for bullet hell masters. A beautiful presentation and one of the best soundtracks currently on the Switch only add to this game’s positive attributes. While obviously a difficult genre to jump into, this title stands above most other games of its kind and absolutely deserves attention. If you have any interest in this type of game, Danmaku Unlimited 3 is an excellent choice.
Final Score: 5/5