Crisis Wing is the latest schmup to get the Eastasiasoft console port treatment. They have a tendency to pick short, sweet indie vertical shooters that I enjoy for a few minutes and then often forget about after half an hour. Crisis Wing is possibly my favourite to date for a variety of reasons – one of which being that its entirely playable as a vertical or a horizontal shooter. You choose from the menu and off you go!
The first thing about Crisis Wing is the way how enemies fly in in waves. They have an elegance in their patterns that mean you have to constantly move to make the most of your bullets. You barely look at your shooting, its about the dance of avoiding bullets back and clearing the wave seems to happen in the process. I love that style of shooter and so I felt instantly at home. The game is playable in co-op too and you can choose to share lives, have individual sets or turn on infinite continues (worthwhile).
The second reason I enjoyed Crisis Wing was its points system. You score for hitting things but clearing waves drops a combo points bonus that you must collect. Each time you collect consecutive bonuses, they double in points from 100 to 200 to 400 – all the way up to 10,000 points. It adds an extra layer of challenge and its where the big scores are found. This mechanic is key to doing anything worthwhile in time attack mode where you have a bespoke arena of blocks to smash up alongside the enemies. Enemies themselves aren’t reskinned – they do have individual patterns. I liked that they came from behind as well as the sides and in front of you – keeping you on your toes. It’s good fun and some of the enemies trigger different abilities depending on their state of damage too – not just the bosses.
Bosses and mini bosses are varied in graphical style and their attack patterns. I found myself saving stylish green skull bombs to spam on them to make them easier. This is because whilst there are three powerups that change your bullet spread – there’s no other powerups. It feels like an odd omission and often makes dying just before a boss quite tricky as you’ll have just your basic guns to hand. It’s my only real niggle with the game, alongside its lack of background art as the game runs in a letterbox mode. You can rotate the letterbox mode on its side but its not stretched out like a full Tate mode and so its a bit limited. The soundtrack is a good mix of 90’s arcade chiptune and chiprock that I enjoyed too as you pump bullets across seven stages in the main mode or boss after boss in boss rush too.
Crisis Wing packs a lot in for the price. Whilst it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it just plays really well! I appreciated just how fluid and comfy it felt and that is what kept me coming back for more time after time. A good call for a budget schmup!
Review copy provided by publisher.
One of the best schmup ports Eastasiasoft has done to date. Cheap, very cheerful and plays excellently.
Vertical and Horizontal versions of the game.
Has a flow to the enemy placement that feels challenging and well crafted.
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