Top-down “Bullet Hell” Shoot’Em Up games are a bit of a rarity these days, to put it mildly, and the ones you can still find tend to require inhuman levels of hand-eye coordination, like Ikaruga. Fortunately, players looking to explore this long-forgotten genre can do so with the recently released Super Galaxy Squadron.
Super Galaxy Squadron is a love letter to the old days of arcade gaming, where players would navigate ships through multitudes of enemy bullets, so numerous that they formed virtual corridors of death. Combined with their one hit deaths, this genre of old-school gaming was strictly for hardcore enthusiasts.
Squadron, on the other hand, seeks to be more inclusive while maintaining a degree of difficulty that hardcore gamers can get onboard. The game uses a percentage-based health system, so your ship actually has a degree of structural integrity to it, a more reasonable difficulty curve, and the ability to save your game so don’t have to beat the whole thing in one sitting.
There are also a multitude of ships to choose from–14 of them to be precise, along with six stages with their own set of enemies and bosses. In addition to the standard mode, an Endless Mode can also be selected for those who literally want to play for forever.
Squadron is the work of one curiously named Nick Clinkscales, a freelance pixel artist and developer. His studio, Psyche Studios, was also responsible for FTL Remastered.
The game is currently on sale on Steam at a 15% discount for $7.99 until January 30. Proceeds will go directly to Child’s Play, an American charity founded by Penny Arcade masterminds Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins that helps children living under dire circumstances.